The countdown is on, people. Less than a month until departure! And you know what that means? Packing up all our belongings? Putting finishing touches on our house’s finally ending renos? Making sure our finances, insurance, and bills are in order? Yes, all of those things. But most importantly, it’s time to drink all our wine!
My collection of wine is not huge, in part because when your house is under construction for four years, there just aren’t that many safe places you can keep it, but also because wine is just something I have a hard time not drinking. I know, shocking. I just don’t have the discipline to cellar wines, though I am trying. Over time I am discovering the benefits and joys of aging wines, and leaving the country for a year is the perfect excuse to see how all those wines we have managed to hang onto are doing.
This particular bottle has been aging in our “cellar”—i.e. a corner of a secluded cupboard where we stash age-worthy wines—since the Great Wine Shower of 2013. I reviewed the 2012 vintage of this wine a few months ago here and noted that I could have left it another few years. Well, I’m pleased to announce that the 2010 vintage is ready for drinking! Its aromas are what I like to call “dark berry deliciousness”, with black cherry and bumbleberry jam as the main in-your-face, get-your-salivary-glands-going aromas, followed by plum, cocoa, baking spice and fig. The wine is a gorgeous ruby red bordering on garnet. The tannins are now non-existent on the palate but remain at the bottom of the bottle in the form of sediment.
Let’s take a minute to talk about tannins. Tannins are an important component of red wines. They are a group of compounds derived from the skins, pips, stalks of the grapes as well as from the oak barrels the wines are aged in. Tannins cause astringency and sometimes bitterness in wines. You know when you drink a full-bodied red, and it gives a drying sensation at the sides of your mouth? Well, that’s the tannin. This is a pretty important part of red wines, since it contributes to the structure and grip of the wine, often balancing out sweetness or fruitiness. Tannins also play a key role in aging wines. As a wine ages, its tannins bind to and precipitate proteins, forming a sediment that sinks to the bottom of the bottle [science nerds can get the full story here: www.wineanorak.com/tannins.htm]. The thickness of a grape’s skin is often the key to its tannin potential, so wines made with thin-skinned grapes like pinot noir, gamay and garnacha tend to have lower tannins, and therefore, less aging potential. Wines that are most often aged include cabernet sauvignon, nebbiolo, tempranillo and even riesling!
Back to wining
Let’s get back to the Beringer. I bet if we had opened it in 2013 when we received it, the tannins would have left the insides of my cheeks feeling like sandpaper. But in the past four years, the tannins have fallen away and helped transform the wine into the beautifully smooth yet full wine it is today. Heartily recommended! Try pairing with fancy homemade burgers.
The White: KIN Chardonnay 2015
You may recall that I did a spotlight on the Ottawa Valley’s very own KIN Vineyards last year. During our visit, we picked up a bottle of the 2015 Chardonnay, with instructions from winemaker Brian Hamilton to let it sit for a while, since it had just been bottled. Well, we couldn’t wait any longer and recently opened it. Despite being aged for 10 months in lightly-toasted barrels, the oak on this wine was incredibly prominent—deliciously so. This is a fairly full-bodied wine which fills the palate with flavours of toasted brioche, caramel, green apple and almond. It is decadent! Pair with buttery foods like pasta and/or lobster to bring out more of the tropical fruit notes like banana and pineapple.
Tip: This Saturday, July 8 is KIN Vineyards’ Tasting Room Grand Opening, from 11-6. With free samples, it’s the perfect opportunity to try this chard! If you’re in the Ottawa area, you should definitely check it out!
I started writing this post two weeks ago with the intention of making it my Happy Canada150 / Happy 4th of July post, hence the red and white wines, and Canadian and American wines. Perfect, right? Too bad I totally missed the boat and got caught up in other things. Life definitely seems to be getting in the way of my wining these days, but all for a very good cause.
Wishing you all a belated happy Canada Day and 4th of July! Happy wining!