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Staff Picks

Alanna McIntyre

Product Specialist

Warmer weather and longer days call for easy drinking wines to sip on a sunny patio or pack for a picnic.  I recently had the Mimi rose from Petite Riviere and was pleased by its crunchy red fruit, dry crisp palate and easy drinkability. 

Made from the red grape Dechaunac, a French-American hybrid developed by legendary French hybridizer Albert Seibel (1844-1935).  This is a force carbonated wine, which is totally acceptable and as a result makes this a very affordable and fun fizzy rose.  Refreshing, juicy, easy drinking, “miam miam” as they say in French. No need to overthink this one.

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Cody Osmond

Retail Staff

This Pinot Noir from Central Otago is such a fun blend of styles: it’s elegant and aromatic, fresh and juicy, modern and timeless all at once!

The nose is gorgeous:  soft, jammy cherry & strawberry, hints of cinnamon and vanilla coming from some partial time in French oak.  When you finally take a sip, you’re surprised by freshness and bright acidity that the nose does not reveal.  What a treat!

The classic food pairing would be duck, but this wine has the versatility to shine with anything from pork roast to tuna steaks to mushroom risotto to salmon.

This wine will comfortably age for another couple years or so but it’s in such a sweet spot now, why wait?  Enjoy!

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Jason MacLeod

Assistant Retail Manager

Coto de Gomariz is located on the steep terraced slopes of the Avia river in the Ribeiro DO of Galicia Spain and is recognized as one of the best producers coming from the region. 

This biodynamic winery farms around 30 hectares of mainly indigenous grapes, souson being one of them.  I think that Souson could be compared to a fresh Cabernet Franc – full of bright, berry flavours while finishing on a pleasing mineral note. 

At first the wine could appear quite rustic on the nose but after giving a few minutes of aeration, those fruit notes should dominate.  Eating something light for dinner?  Try putting a little chill on this to enhance the wine’s natural acidity.

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photo of staff member Jason MacPhee

Jason MacPhee

Wine Category Manager

Hacienda El Ternero has origins in Rioja which date back nearly a century.  Located in Rioja Alta, the vineyards are at an average altitude of 650 m, the vines are planted in clay and pebble rich soils  protected by the Obarenes mountain range, and are all estate owned.

Torno or Turnstile is 100% Tempranillo Crianza. A Spanish wine labeled Crianza means the wine has aged minimum one year in oak and one year in the bottle before its release date.  Aromatic notes of plum, cherry, and vanilla follow through to the palate where they are met with a surprisingly fresh round palate and balanced acidity.   

Perfect to pair with any high fat meats or the classic lamb pairing. A lighter style of crianza makes it great on the patio enjoying the first spring evenings of warm weather, before rose season hits.

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Kathryn Harding

Sommelier and Retail Manager

In Northern Italy’s Piedmont region the varietal, Nebbiolo is king. It is known for delicate floral and red fruit characteristics complimented by a punch of firm tannins on the palate. The Michele Chiarlo Il Principe Nebbiolo is more approachable than the long living wines made in the DOC regions of Barolo & Barbaresco.

There are aromas of rose, red cherry, leather and a touch of spice. The palate was dense and had darker fruit notes then I expected, the tannins were firm yet not overpowering. Normally I wouldn’t enjoy Nebbiolo without the right dish to combat the tannins but this wine is enjoyable on its own or when paired with the right dish.

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Keegan Patey

Retail Staff

Spring is finally here y’all…and I know just like myself, you are most likely on the hunt for something fresh and crispy!  Well, I found the perfect little number to crush those spring cravings:  Weingut Am Stein Guts Riesling!

Weingut Am Stein is a proud biodynamic and sustainable producer and definitely knows how to fully encompass the terroir’s capabilities in every bottle.  At a height between 210 and 250m above sea level, and earth rich in shell-bearing limestone, Weingut Am-Stein uses these perfect conditions to produce wonderfully crisp and fresh white wines, such as the Guts Riesling.

Exploding with minerality, citrus and stone fruit, the Guts is just asking to be opened on a warm spring day.  You’ll be met with delightful freshness and complexity. A definite go to for the warmer months!

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photo of staff member Lucas Mader

Lucas Mader

Beer Category Manager

This incredibly crisp white wine from the Basque country in Northern Spain is the perfect companion to all shellfish, pintxos, and charcuterie!  

Pronounced cha-ko-lee, this is an indigenous wine to the cool coastal region. Crisp acidity, saline minerality, and lower abv makes Txakoli great for warm weather patio drinking.

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Martha Kelly

Retail Staff

This has been a favourite Pinot Noir of mine for quite some time, as it consistently delivers on both quality and value. 

In the glass, clear, very reflective and bright. Aromas of ‘almost-in-the-oven’ Cherry Pie that include dominant red fruit and bread/pastry dough. Notes of leather, newer oak, and a pleasant amount of smokiness. The palate delivers what the nose has promised; generous bright red fruit and wonderful baking spice aromas to round everything out. Fine, integrated tannins make this suitable on its own or ready to pair with anything from a cheese plate to a traditional turkey dinner!

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Ryan Almeida

Retail Staff

Galicia’s 2019 growing season can be described pretty simply: low yields, high quality. Located in northern Spain, Galicia has a reputation for high averages of rainfall – especially along its coastlines, making it tricky when it comes to growing high quality fruit, let alone harvesting it.  It has been said that some of the best wine is made in the toughest conditions and winemaker Xose Luis Sebo’s Gomariz X is no exception.

Sourced from single vineyard “As Penelas” and made up of 95% Albarino and 5% Treixadura, this is a fabulous expression of what Galicia is capable of producing; firm salinity, highly concentrated citrus fruit, and bursting notes of peach, apricot, and nectarine.  Pair this with a variety of shellfish, white fish, or whatever is freshest!

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Sandy Gribbin

Gamay is the signature grape of Beaujolais, one whose reputation in the wine world has gone up and down and, as Decanter magazine points out, “carries with it an innate inferiority complex next to the red burgundy grape Pinot Noir.” Having an inferiority complex attached to it alone seems to make Gamay a thoroughly Canadian option to make great wines. Ontario has long been making a case that it shines in their wines and Malivoire’s 2019 Farmstead Gamay is a fine example of a friendly bottle to bring out for these in-between days, when it might be chilly but still sunny enough to justify the BBQ.

It was a tumultuous year in the vineyards of Niagara in the year 2019. Wet and cold to start, warm and damp into the summer, an early cold snap almost ruined the harvest. Malivoire’s award-winning winemaker Shiraz Morrier took this as a challenge and came up with this unassuming bright, juicy vintage with an earthy finish. Cherry and raspberry notes, it is light and breezy with hints of peppery spiciness. Great value!

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Erica Penton

Don’t be deterred if you prefer a more modern or irreverent label (the eagle represents Emperor Frederick II, who built the Castel Del Monte.)  This wine is like a great leather chair, complete with upholstery tacks – settle in and be rewarded!

From Puglia, Il Falcone is a blend that contains 70% Nero di Troia (a grape indigenous to the area, also called Uva di Troia) and 30% Montepulciano.  The wine is aged for 14 months in 50% French oak barriques and 50% French oak, followed by 12 months maturation in bottle before release.
Smooth and elegant, this complex wine presents another flavour with each sip.  Notes of leather, tobacco, cloves, violets, plums, and even eucalyptus.

A serious wine that deserves a serious steak, or alternately, some great aged cheese (and maybe some kind of brooding Scandi crime drama.)

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Payton Wood

Lightfoot Ancienne Chardonnay

You don’t have to travel far to find one of the most beautiful Chardonnay’s you’ll ever taste! Cool air and an abundance of Fundy saltwater breezes add to the complexity of this lively Chardonnay. Aged for 18 months on french oak, look for subtle notes of vanilla, lemon sorbet and peach blossom. This wine is fresh, balanced, with a creamy mouthfeel as a result of wild fermentation. Try it with lobster to top off a true Nova Scotian feast! (Fun fact: look at the hawk on the label, holding a traditional Acadian farming tool and a Nova Scotia mayflower to honour their roots).

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Tess Durham

Rolly Gassmann has been a family-owned producer since 1611. Tucked comfortably in the heart of Alsace, France, their vineyards extend to almost meet the border of Germany.

On the nose, honeysuckle and white flower show the beginning of a delicate palate while honeydew, apricot and pear follow strongly when tasting. There is a bright green-apple like acidity that allows the wine to end with a medium finish featuring cracked pepper notes. The sweetness is not over-powering but gives the wine a definitive oily component that would pair beautifully with most spring seasoned foods.

This wine is beaming with fresh-growth flavours and a dynamic palate that is perfect for the warming season. Grill up some seafood, have a spring salad or pour this wine with a light dessert, you won’t be disappointed!

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Stefan Nielsen

Retail Associate

Sourwood Cider is here with the answer to the age-old question, “do I want to drink Cider or Wine tonight?”

Well, why not both? Enter “Hybrid” from Sourwood. This is an absolutely enigmatic co-ferment of locally grown Golden Delicious apples and Marquette grapes.

The apples come from an abandoned orchard where farmers would graze their sheep while the Marquette continues to show why it’s become one of the Rockstar red grapes of Nova Scotia. The juice was never fined or filtered and the whole process from picking to bottling was carried out with zero sulfur added.

Think grape soda mixed with a hefty dose of barnyard. It’s not sour, finishes quite dry and has a bit of tannic grip. It is insanely refreshing, intriguingly funky, and at 10% abv it is downright gluggable. You’ve got to try this to believe it!

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Matt Nettle

A Fleur de Pampre is a lovely natural wine from the southern Rhone valley appellation of Visan.  The region is best known for producing grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre grape varieties.  This particular cuvee includes Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan; all grown with biodynamic and organic farming methods.

Perfectly balanced, this wine is full of punchy ripe fruit flavours and supple rounded tannins.  The winemakers strive to make wines that are natural, straightforward, cheerful and balanced.  Pick two of these up (you’ll want two, trust me) relax and enjoy the expressive notes this wine has to offer.

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Matt Hodgson

Produced by a father and son team in the southern Rhône Valley.  Domaine la Florane’s sulphite free, biodymanic 50/50 Grenache & Syrah blend is a must have.  They aim to deliver wines that best resemble themselves and strive for: “Natural, straightforward, cheerful and balanced”.

A balanced nose of red fruit and baking spice.  On the palate it doesn’t hold back- bright and fresh with lively red and black berries.  As the weather starts to get nicer out this would be a great pairing with a BBQ dinner, the only problem being I find is that the bottle is usually gone before I’m actually finished cooking dinner.

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Genny Dow

If, like me, you’re starting to ready yourself for warmer weather, grab this Strollin’ Down Baldwin St. 6 pack from North Brewing. Grisettes are an old world beer style brewed for miners in the regions bordering France and Belgium, and were made to be light, crisp and low in alcohol.  

Coming in at just 3% ABV, North Brewing put a spin on the style by adding Wai-iti and Wakatu hops from New Zealand, which adds a unique set of subtly tropical aromatics to this ultra refreshing beer.  These are great to sip on during those first few patio friendly evenings!

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Jesse Galati

People are getting turned on to new age wines and Orange wine is becoming a huge hit. Radikon is such a great example of the style, both as an orange (skin contact) wine but also as a natural wine.

The spontaneous fermentation and unregulated temperature control in their cellar gives it wild characteristics and totally different flavours than what you would expect of such a colourful, vibrant wine. The personality of this is all big:  lots of tannin, lots of acidity, and LOTS of flavour from both the fruit and the barrel as it was aged to perfection. 

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Leslie Lee

Carmen Carmenere hails from the Apalta Valley, one of Chile’s finest terroirs. Once mistaken for Merlot this little grape originated in Southwest Bordeaux but finds its best expression in Chile.

The Carmenere grape has an intense, dark purple colour in the glass.  The nose has lots of ripe berries (blackberry, cherry and plum) with a touch of tobacco and pepper.  The palate has lots of smooth velvety tannins, lower acidity and a wonderful finish after aging 14 months in French oak.

Try this lesser known, medium bodied wine with any grilled meats or savoury pastas dishes!

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Stephanie Duchon

As a huge fan of sparkling wine and an equally big fan of breakfast, prosecco is a staple. The Vino Dei Poeti makes for a great Sunday morning bubbly or addition to your morning OJ. Being a prosecco, it has a little more fruit on the palate than a traditional method champagne, and a much smaller impact on your wallet.

This prosecco is a brut style, so you won’t be overwhelmed by sweetness if you drink it on its own. It’s a refreshing drink with a hit of green apple and lime. Its that hint of lime that makes this go so well with that OJ for your mimosas.

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