08/20/2015 12:56 EDT | Updated 08/20/2016 05:59 EDT

These Wines Are Your Answer for the Dog Days of Summer

There's nothing like a cold, thirst quenching Riesling with racy acidity by the pool. A Sparkling wine is never wrong in a perfectly chilled flute for Sunday brunch or afternoon tea and a slightly chilled rich Chardonnay is the perfect heat busting nightcap.

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The expression, dog days, refers to the hot, sultry days of summer, originally in areas around the Mediterranean Sea, and as the expression fit, to other areas, especially in North America. Thank you Wikipedia. Ontario is in the midst of it's second major heat wave of Summer 2015 with most of the Province under Environment Canada heat warnings. In fact, much of North America has experienced above normal temperatures accompanied by devastating drought and wild fires. Daytime temperatures in Ottawa, for example, have reached 33C (91.4F) with a with a humidex of 39C (102.2F) and I officially declare we are in the...

This heatwave is great news for the vineyards in Niagara, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Share given the wet and cool Spring of 2015. In fact, some vineyards in PEC experienced frost damage in early June when night time temperatures plummeted into the minus'. I'm happy to report that this past week I have seen countless photos on Twitter of beautiful Ontario grapes going through veraison -- the onset of ripening. Only time and careful craftsmanship of skilled winemakers will tell us what the vintage of 2015 holds for wine lovers.

If you are like me you tend to "lighten up" in the summer months and go "hot and heavy" in the winter months - I love being Canadian. There's nothing like a cold, thirst quenching Riesling with racy acidity by the pool. A Sparkling wine is never wrong in a perfectly chilled flute for Sunday brunch or afternoon tea and a slightly chilled rich Chardonnay is the perfect heat busting nightcap. Oh! and I love looking at the world through Rose filled glasses. VINTAGES has a wide assortment of white and Rose wines hitting the shelves this Saturday, August 22 to quench your thirst during these dog days of Summer 2015. Pour yourself a glass and give the dog a bone!

Here's a few I recently reviewed:


1. Featherstone Four Feathers 2014Niagara

This light-bodied white blend of primarily Riesling with Chardonnay, Guwerztraminer and hint of Sauvignon Blanc will play nicely with any Asian inspired dish you care to pair it with. Refreshing acidity with a little sweetness on the finish with additional aromas and flavours of tropical fruit, Niagara tree fruit, apricot, floral and minerality. Great price performer!

2. Vineland Sauvignon Blanc 2013Niagara

Very reminiscent of great Sauvignon Blanc from NZ. This light-bodied white wine is pale lemon-green in colour with intense grass, gooseberry and fresh herbs nose. Mouthwatering acidity does a terrific job to open up the taste buds for food...or more wine! Flavours include canned peas, fresh grass, citrus, white blossoms, and stony minerality. A very nice Ontario Savvy B. Can't beat the price. Buy a case. Perfect salad wine.

3. Benjamin Bridge NOVA 7 2013Nova Scotia

This light salmon coloured spritz never disappoints me. At just 7% abv it's a guilt free indulgence. Intense aromas of pink grapefruit, lychee, grapefruit pith, and honeysuckle. The palate is sweet with racy acidity showing characteristics of grapefruit and lemon, green apple and sweet spices. Serve well chilled and sip or pair with your favourite Thai takeout.

4. Charles Baker Stratus Riesling 2012Niagara

A light-boded white wine that is pure Niagara in the bottle. Mouthwatering acidity, Niagara tree fruit and stone fruits, stony minerality, Niagara Spring blossoms , honey, and the typical petrol we associate with the Riesling varietal. A long oxidized apple finish. This Riesling makes me wonder "why don't I drink more Ontario Riesling?" Enjoy on it's own or with just about anything you choose. Serve well chilled.

5. Gray Monk Pinot Blanc 2013Okanagan

In a blind tasting you might mistake this for Chardonnay. This Okanagan Pinot Blanc is medium lemon colour with aromas and flavours of citrus, tree fruit, floral, toast, vanilla, oak. Medium-bodied with medium balanced acidity. Perfect for grilled shrimp on the BBQ or white meats such as pork and veal; planked salmon. Serve slightly chilled. Fun fact: Gray Monk is located 3 minutes and 19 seconds North the 50th Latitude.

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6. Limestone Hill Unwooded Chardonnay 2014South Africa

This medium-bodied unoaked Chardonnay is medium lemon in colour and a nice option for those quaffers that don't always like oak influences in their wine. This Chardonnay was aged "sur lie" with naturally occurring yeasts. Aromas and flavours of citrus, apple floral, yeast, and butter. A good buttery fruit driven finish. Lobster with butter, pan seared scallops, creamy pastas.

7. Oyster Bay Pinot Grigio 2014 New Zealand

This light-bodied Pinot Grigio from Hawkes Bay NZ would be a crowd pleasing aperitif at your next summer BBQ. Very nice tropical notes in this dry wine as well as floral, apple, peach, honey and melon. Medium+ cleansing acidity with a slight effervescence detected. Long tropical finish.Excellent price/quality ratio. This is a buy a case wine. Serve well chilled.

8. Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses 2014 France

The first time I ever bought this wine it was for the bottle. It's just so darn pretty! Now I can tell you that the pretty coral juice inside the bottle is delicious. A delicate blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah with attractive aromas and flavours of rose water, strawberry, citrus with some lively acidity. A good medium weight Rose. Pair with favourite pasta in a cream tomato sauce; seafood chowder; pork. Hits that magic price point of less than $20. Serve chilled.

And many more... visit your local LCBO Vintages section nearest you. A knowledgeable Product Consultant is ready to help you.

Until next time lighten up and... wine * food * run


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