Why are there so many orphaned wines at the LCBO? Big business wants winners to keep the cash flowing and hence at the LCBO California is king. Imagine if the various great immigration groups to Canada were unleashed in the Ontario wine world with retailers permitted to buy and sell these oddball wines from, Bulgaria, India, Turkey, Israel, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, New York State etc.? The consumer would have choice and our wine world would be richer.
Our first oddball is from Corsica. Its purplish in colour. On the nose full of herbs and spice with sweet red cherries, ripe raspberries, loganberries and blackberries. On the palate moderate tannins. It is smooth with the fruit strangely hitting the back palate in a big way. Nice red fruit and delightfully grippy. Well made and enjoyable. I think all red wine drinkers would happily pat this Corsican on the head and say, “We love you. Where have you been hiding?”
Come to think of it this is a plush and lush wine. It is gentle and I think you might want to have this with Christmas dinner if there is cranberry sauce involved. It is a great sipping wine and would suit roasted lamb beautifully.
Drink by end of 2020.
(Enclos des Anges 2015, A.O.P. Corse Calvi, $33.95, 14.4%, 750 mL, LCBO # 570424, Square Media Group Rating 92/100).
From the Republic of Moldova, we have a blend of Rara Neagra (51%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (49%). Red plum colour. On the nose rather vibrant red cherry, blueberry, smoked meat, cedar and mint. A bit raspy on the palate but smooths out nicely. Tannins are mild. Flavours of cherry, blueberry pie, mocha, coffee and a bit of smoke.
A simple and perhaps “rustic” wine. Good for sipping and with saucy tomatoe dishes like a black-eyed pea soup with corn, celery and carrots with a glass of this wine thrown in with a bay leaf. Or for meatheads with a smoked meat sandwich or an Osso Bucco.
(DOR, Rara Neagra and Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Etulia PDO Micro-Zone Trajan Valley Southern Moldova, $15.95, Bostavan, Moldova,750 m, LCBO # 582197, Square Media Group Rating 89/100).
Our last wine is a Graševina from Croatia. It is medium gold in colour. On the nose lots of tropical notes such as mango, pineapple and guava. There are also apple, pear and banana notes. This is a mid weight wine. On the palate a tad creamy and smooth with pineapple, apple pie with twists of lemon and lime.
This wine is in its own category and Graševina is rather difficult to pigeonhole as similar to any other wine. I think roast pork or chicken would be a good food match. It is also great simply for sipping. Its tad of creaminess suits it to soft cheeses such as brie.
(Iločki Podrumi Graševina 2017, The Croatian Danube, Iločki Podrumi, $14.95, 750 mL, 12%, LCBO # 517474, Square Media Group Rating 91/100.)
Photo of Mars courtesy of NASA.