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Staff Picks

Alanna McIntyre

Product Specialist

Most Vinho Verde are simple, light and crisp with a hint of spritz however, I was pleased by this “more serious” expression of the wine.

Vinho Verde is produced in the Douro Valley, in the lush verdant landscape of Northern Portugal, just below the Spanish Portuguese border.

Casa Novas owns 25 hectares in a slightly warmed sub-zone of Vinho Verde, so their wines tend to show a bit more ripeness of fruit and weight on the palate. Though the estate is not certified organic, their core values are to use minimal inputs in the vineyard and winemaking process to allow for the grapes and land to express themselves fully. The purity of their process shines through in this lovely Vinho Verde.

This blend of indigenous Avesso and Loureiro exhibits orange blossom, white peach and pear, tangy key lime pie and just the right amount of pink grapefruit pith bitterness on the finish. Enjoy this as an aperitif, with sushi, cold salads….

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Cody Osmond

Retail Staff

Meow! 

This Garnacha Blanca goes through skin-contact maceration, though  the final product is actually a blend (10% is Macabeo, or Viura), the juice of the latter which is kept fresh and added later to preserve its fresh quality and brightness.

In the glass, it pours a lovely pale, peachy colour not unlike a rosé from Provence, perhaps.  The nose offers ripe cantaloupe, papaya, and pithy citrus that continue onto the palate.  Of further interest here is the texture of the wine; mouthwatering acid meets mouth-filling body and a pleasant, almost oily viscosity with minimal tannin.

Best enjoyed on a summer evening with fish tacos, ceviche, or sushi.

Additionally, this wine is organic, low-sulphur, and vegan-friendly.

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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

Jean Marie Rimbert Is located in a small  AOC, Saint Chinian Villages Berlou in the Languedoc. Arriving 25 years ago he fell in love with the schist-laden soils and the characteristics which the soils gave to the wines. His main goal is to preserve the environment and create wines that are more pleasurable, lower in alcohol, and easy to drink.

Although the focus is on the traditional grapes to the area, he does purchase grapes from neighbours who farm in accordance with the HVE (Haute Valeur Environnementale, ie. sustainable).

From that process comes the For Me Formidable Merlot. Floral notes of plums and strawberry on the nose carry over well on the palate. Medium to light bodied, balanced acidity, soft tannins, and a lingering peppery finish. Truly one of the more refreshing wines I have had in quite some time. Will benefit from being served slightly chilled. A great red wine pairing for any dish that traditionally would call for a white wine.

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Kathryn Harding

Sommelier and Retail Manager

“Don’t be deceived by appearance for beauty is found within”.

The frosted bottle made me doubt the quality of this rosé, but I was pleasantly wrong. I am happily tasting my way through our rose selection this year and I can say that the Lafage is definitely leading the way.

Aromatics of strawberries and white flowers jump from the pale glass. The palate is dry yet fruity, the finish is bright without being too tart. It is not the most complex rosé I have had this year but it is the most enjoyable.  It shows a great balance between fruit, weight and acidity. One note of caution: it goes down quickly, Enjoy!

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Keegan Patey

Retail Staff

Are you looking for a refreshing chilled glass of wine, but you’re bored of drinking whites?  Check out Domaine Mathieu & Camille Lapierre’s ‘Raisins Gaulois’.

Marcel and his son Camille are wine producers based in the village of Morgon, in Beaujolais. They specialize in wines made from Gamay grapes, in a natural style; No added sulfur and low intervention.

Bursting with fresh raspberries and strawberries, this light-medium bodied wine is an easy choice for the warm summer months. It carries a slight earthy funk and goes down extra smooth. The only downside is that it may disappear right before your eyes!

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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

Cachaça (ka-sha-sah) dates as far back as the 16th century when Portugal moved its sugar production from the island of Madeira to Brazil. Made from sugarcane, the stalks are pressed, and the juices are fermented with wild yeast, producing a sugarcane wine (9%-11% abv). The wine is distilled in a copper pot still and rests for 12 months in stainless steel; producing a spirit that has notes of tropical fruits, grass, and citrus, making it perfect for Brazil’s national cocktail – the Caipirinha.

Novo Fogo operates a zero waste, carbon-negative distillery (they also have a reforestation project called The Un-Endangered Forest in which they are planting several threatened native tree species) in the town of Morretes, growing certified organic sugarcane, and processing everything minimally, in small batches (130L each).

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Sandy Gribbin

“When the winegrower is the author…”

If you’ve read any of my recommendations before you might know that I appreciate when a non-English speaking winemaker has the confidence to not rely on appealing to an English-speaking audience. My pet theory is that the fewer English words on the bottle the better the wine must be! Bodegas Aessir challenges this assertion while at the same time exemplifying this disregard spectacularly! Look at that label – no frills spent on the marketing department there! But there is some no fuss use of English stating directly what the deal is with what is to be found inside the bottle. This is a natural wine and, as they say on their website, that means, “the winegrower is the author.”

This natural beauty is a great example of the pleasure of wines where the grapes are allowed to come to the fore. This is a spritely rather than ponderous Syrah. Bright, clean juiciness shines through well-balanced, it lingers for just a while on the tongue.

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Erica Penton

Re-entering society? Take a deep breath and take this with you!

The Etna Rosso from Tornatore is a blend of Nerello Cappuccio and Nerello Mascalese and feels like a Mediterranean cross between a Pinot Noir and a Nebbiolo.

The vineyards are located at an altitude of 1,000 meters above sea level on the north side of the very famous and very active volcano, Mt. Etna. The volcanic ash adds minerality to the light tannins and kick of classic Italian acidity. The wine is ruby/brick in colour with notes of cherry, strawberry with a hint of pepper and thyme.

The Etna Rosso would be a great option to bring to any gathering, especially if you don’t know what’s on the menu. This versatile wine pairs well with many foods, from tuna steaks with capers to grilled eggplant to pasta dishes. Serve with a light chill if you wish!

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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

Established in 1999 after over two decades of consulting and becoming the “Queen of the Torrontes grape”, Susana Balbo settled in Lujan de Cuya, Mendoza to put her expertise to practice. The venture was incredibly fruitful, as she was awarded numerous titles, including being listed as one of the “10 most influential women in the wine world” by Drink Business Magazine in 2018.

This Crios Torrontes is the perfect expression of the grape and how Susana has harnessed its qualities and expression throughout many years of working with it. It is bright, fresh, medium bodied and very aromatic. With strong white flower, orange blossom and lychee on the nose, the palette holds up with apricot, lively acidity and a strong mineral finish. What doesn’t this wine pair with? Other than overpowering umami flavours, this wine would be in perfect company with almost any summer dish. Green salads and Asian dishes have been my favourite pairings but strong cheeses, even goat cheese and smoked seafood would bring out excellent qualities in this wine as well. Enjoy!

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Stefan Nielsen

Retail Associate

The Bobal Blanc de Noirs from Bodegas Aessir is truly something special.  “Wait….What’s Bobal? What’s a Blanc de Noirs?” I hear you asking.

A Blanc de Noirs is a white wine made from red grapes, in this case, the Bobal variety. The winemaker limits the amount of contact the juice and red skins will have in order to preserve a white colour and brighter flavours. Sounds strange, right? It is, but this rather uncommon practice yields some delicious results.

The wine tastes like a summery fruit salad – cantaloupe, honeydew, table grapes, pineapple and just about any other fresh fruit you can think of. The flavours intermingle in such a charming and delicious way that will please wine-geeks and weekend warriors alike. There is energy and personality for days in this surprising, dark horse of a summer sipper.

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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

Dunham Brewery was founded in Quebec in 2011 with the goal of taking modern North American spins on classic European brewery traditions. 

I had remembered having this beer in the past and enjoying it. However recently when I sat down to revisit it I was blown away. It was so much more than I remember.

It pours a beautifully hazy lemon yellow colour, with a luscious pillowy head. Lots of funky Brett and citrus zest on the nose. Big juicy fresh tropical hoppiness, lively yeast and nice and funky from the Brettanomyces.

I’d pair it with some lighter BBQ food such as chicken or corn. The bottle is large enough that you could share with a friend at your barbecue, but it’s so good that you won’t really want to.

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Genny Dow

Round out your summer rosé roster with our newest selection from Niagara winery, Rosewood! 

52% Cabernet Franc and 48% Gamay, Flora offers a ripe and juicy palate, filled with fresh red berry notes. Five months ageing on lees lends the wine a lovely texture and pleasantly smooth finish. The wine is a deep, extracted ruby hue and has the structure to stand up to some of your slightly heavier BBQ fare (think chicken and grilled veggies) while still keeping it refreshing. If you like Beaujolais but you want to try something new and fresh, give this one a go!

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Jesse Galati

You have to try this… Seriously, there is a reason that mead was possibly the first thing humans fermented.

Mead has been around for thousands of years, and can vary dramatically from still, sweet, opaque mead fermented for a couple days to fizzy, clear, aromatic, completely dry mead after a couple weeks to months of fermentation. Many things can be added such as herbs, fruit, and other flavours.

Mountain Meadworks Feral Scotia Mead needs just three ingredients: honey, water, and natural yeast strains from Tatamagouche.

Fermented long enough will create a wonderfully refreshing crisp drink. Slightly effervescent, completely dry, balanced acidity and on a wonderful wild honey finish.

This is a great replacement for dry crisp white wines and will pair well with a variety of vegetarian and light seafood dishes.

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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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