“Hot August nights and three refreshing companions.”

Issue #5   August, 2019

In August of 1972, the popular and prolific singer songwriter Neil Diamond performed 10 sold-out concerts at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. These performances were recorded and became a hugely-selling live double-album named Hot August Night.

With that sip of music history in mind and this being August, I thought it fitting to bring out three refreshing wines perfect for a hot August night.

Welcome back to the cellar. Pull up your chair to the weathered old oak table here in the tasting room and let’s get to know three new friends; this month’s red, white and as always, my monthly under the radar wine.

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Meiomi Pinot Noir
California, USA
750 mL bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  130138
$21.95

In life, it’s good to have a thick skin but in the life of grapes having a thin skin can be quite an attribute. As is the case with Pinot Noir; considered one of the most delicate and finicky but potentially rewarding grape varieties there is. Pinot Noir is thin-skinned and sensitive. But when grown right, and handled with care, it produces wines that are subtle, complex and full of juicy flavour.  And Pinot Noir produces wine that most reminds us of the earth (or in wine vernacular, the terroir) that it comes from.

The earth that beautifully produces this month’s red lies in the coastal region of California. Meiomi Pinot Noir is a fine example of a California Pinot. It’s has fuller body than what you would experience in a Pinot Noir from France, where it is known as Burgundy.

This Meiomi is deep ruby while slightly transparent. It has aromas of earthiness, ash, fresh leather and berries. It tastes of black cherries with a touch of cloviness. This is an elegant wine that doesn’t need to ask for attention, it just seems to quietly attract it. Pinot Noir simply stands alone. If it was a Neil Diamond song, it would be Solitary Man.

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Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier
Chile
750 mL bottle | LCBO#:  64287
$11.50

One of the joys of summer is taking out the bike and riding away a morning. But one of the joys of a summer evening is taking a bicycle out of the fridge. No, I haven’t hit my head on a beam in the cellar. I’m talking about this month’s white wine. Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier. The bicycle on the label makes it easy to spot. And the taste of this crisp and dry refresher makes it easy to drink.

It’s crystal clear and shimmering soft yellow in the glass. It wafts aromas of woodiness, citrus and honey. And tastes of kiwi, honeysuckle and gooseberry.

And if it was a Neil Diamond song, it would definitely be Sweet Caroline.

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Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé
Ontario, Canada
750 mL bottle | VINTAGES#:  172643
$17.95

In the past months, under the radar we’ve travelled to some distant locations; Portugal, Italy, and Bulgaria to name a few. This month we’re going no further than our very own backyard; Niagara. Now before you say, ‘seriously? Niagara?’, remember this part of the newsletter is about getting out of our comfort zones. But actually, you may soon discover Tawes Sketches of Niagara Rosé is a summer wine you can get quite comfortable with.

To the eye, it’s soft pink with a slight tangerine tint. But the taste buds get the treat of a light, peachy flavour with subtle refreshing effervescence and a caramel undertone.

The Tawes winery is one of many across the other pond (Lake Ontario) producing very fine wines that deliver quality way above the negative perceptions many wine lovers still harbour about the region. And like this one, not all of them carry a high price tag.

This tasty wine is called Sketches of Niagara, but it’s a wonderful sketch of a torch-lit warm August evening with the music of cicadas and every sip bringing with it a soft cool breeze that washes over you. If it was a Neil Diamond song, for sure it would be Cracklin’ Rosie.

That cool breeze brings us to the end of this month’s issue. But not to the end of summer. We still have some hot August nights ahead. Many thanks to Neil Diamond for all the great songs.

See you in September when we get together once again in the cellar. Until then, keep your glass of wine close and your friends even closer. 

Jim

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