By The Glass
You may be wondering why a wine writer would ask you this, but are you a fan of Saturday Night Live, Ghost Busters or the BluesBrothers movies?
Well, thanks in part to this excellent entertainment (really, if you haven't watched the movies you really should) and DanAykroyd.
We have the Dan Aykroyd series of wines which are also proudly certified by Ontario's Vintner's Quality Alliance (VQA). So, not only is he the man behind Patrn Tequila and Crystal Head Vodka, but he has now expanded to wine.
Having tasted Bordeaux wines, Aykroyd was inspired to produce modestly-priced wine that reflects the terroir of Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario. Twenty Bees Winery is where all his dreams of sumptuous wines are produced. Not only does heown this winery in the Niagara region, but also owns another two - De Sousa Wine Cellars, which specializes in Portuguese-style wines, and EastDell Estates Winery, famous for its country setting and combining the best of nature with wine.
Aykroyd has traveled around the world andsampled what the world has to offer, and he believes Ontario produces some of the best there is. Two of the wines I am featuring today are from the Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series - one white and one red.
Apples, apples and more apples is the best way to describe the third wine - our new Premier Apple Ice Wine Cider. This is a proud product of Canada and to date has won more than 33 awards worldwide. Once you take that first sip your mouth is overcome by cold, crisp apples. Wine Enthusiast awarded 90 points to Apple IceCider in May 2010.
Now, you can be the judge!
Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series Cabernet Merlot 2007 (+99267), Ontario, $13.99
Aykroyd was first introduced toFrench Bordeaux wines by fellowmusician Steve "the Colonel" Cropper. You could say he was hooked instantly. Aykroyd then traveled around the world, seeing and tasting what international wineries have to offer, expanding his knowledge and living his dream. Aykroyd built a team that included not only some of the world's best wine makers but some of his close friends. And the modestly priced wine that reflects the terroir of Ontario was born.
The grapes were sourced from only the best vineyards from the Niagara-on-the-Lake region. Ontario produces VQA wines - with the same standards that we hold VQA wines here in B.C. - ensuring customers have the best quality wines. Other wineries you may be familiar with from the same region are Jackson Triggs and Inniskillin.
The wineryresponsible for the production of the Dan Aykroyd series ofCabernet Merlot and Chardonnay is the Twenty Bees Winery. Twenty Bees only produces VQA quality wines.
This Cabernet Merlot is a medium- to full-bodied red that I recommend decanting to enjoy the aromas and flavours to the fullest.Ripe aromas of rich dark fruits and a touch of spicy oak give you that warm, tingly feeling all the way to the finish. Pair this up with lasagne or pizza, or serve it with chocolate or other dessert. $13.99
Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series Chardonnay 2009 (+501320) Ontario, $13.99
If you check out the label on all of Aykroyd's wines you will find them to be very old Hollywood style. An old fashioned microphone is front and centre of the label in a metallic silver and goldfinish just like the real thing. This medium bodied Chardonnay has what it takes to pair nicely with any chicken and shish kebobs. Aromas of apple and lime fill your glass while flavours of peaches satisfy your palate with its crisp slightly acidic finish. $13.99
NeigePremiere Apple Ice Cider (+114512) Quebec, $29.99
This delicious treat is grown and produced from start to finish at La Face Cache de la Pomme Winery. When translated from the French, the name of the winery means "hidden side of apple," while neige means snow, so the two together really say it all for this Apple Ice wine.
Owner Franois Pouliot was born in 1964 in Montreal and started out his life as a film producer. He won many awards for his work and was once recognized as the youngest producer ever. However, Franois felt there was something missing from his life. Here was another man with a dream to produce something that would reflect the terroir of his home province, this time Quebec.
Fifteen years ago, he bought an apple orchard in Hemmingford, located about 45 minutes from Montreal. This is where his dreamstarted and is still going strong today.
Franois is the first to produce ice cider and he is very proud of his accomplishment, as he should be after all his hard work. His inspiration was really ice wine.
He wondered how he could utilize the apples in the same way. Well, it works by picking the ripe apples in the late fall and storing them at a cool temperature until December when the fruit is pressed. Then juice is left out in the cold January weather until just the right time to bring it in to produce this stellarice cider.
This is a blend of 80 per centMcIntosh apples and 20 per cent Spartan apples. There are absolutely no artificialflavours added, so only the true crisp appleflavours abound.
Aromas and flavours of apples just keep on coming all the way to the crisp, smooth finish. Try it on its own, or with any sharp cheeses, and you won't regret it. If you want to get adventurous, try mixing an equal part of ice cider with vodka for a nice, wintery martini. It is $29.99 for a 375ml bottle.
Kim Cabral is a product consultant at the B.C. Signature Liquor Store, Pine Centre. The bracketed numbers are the product codes for the B.C. liquor stores.