Monday, 21 August 2017

Special Occasion Wines

Some wines are just made for special occasions.

I love to share my picks for the best and brightest wines on a budget, but occasionally, you want something special.

Taking a step up from entry-level wines can be a great way to add a little extra to your day/ evening/ meal and the best places to buy these wines is at the wineries. These special wines are the more refined examples of what a good winery can do; these wines are usually produced with the best grapes, the most care and generally put out the best product.

Southbrook sells many different wines in local outlets, but it keeps its best close to home. If you want their premium wines you need to go to their winery in Niagara, Ont. Their highest-quality wines are crafted and aged with care and in much smaller batches. These wines are made to bring out the absolute best in the grape.

I will say that these are not everyday wines, but in this instance, you definitely get what you pay for and they can be a delightful way to treat yourself.

The two examples I recently tried were Southbrook's Small Lot 'Natural' Orange wine (2016) and their Triomphe Gamay Noir (2016).

Southbrook's Small Lot 'Natural' Orange wine 2016 - Organic and biodynamic

The Orange ($29.95) is completely different from a conventional white wine. My first sip was a little surprising and I had to take a moment before taking a second sip. In truth, I had to try and get around my expectations of what a conventional white wine should taste like. After that, I gave it another taste and was able to really experience the flavours. The wine had a tang that was very akin to a cider or a sour beer. I actually found it a little hard to find the grape in this wine, probably because orange wine goes through a completely different fermentation process compared to what we are used to drinking. This wine drinks very tart with clementine and kumquat flavours and subtle floral notes and is very refreshing served cold. I think my preference would be to serve this wine with food; salmon and very flavourful seafood or something with a bit of a sour bite to enhance the flavours.

Triomphe 2016 Gamay Noir - Organic

The Gamay ($21.95), on the other hand, was exactly what I expect from a mid- to high range Gamay: fruity, light, fresh, a little chocolatey and a little smoky on the end. I have found through my wine adventures that sometimes when you buy the less expensive bottles, you lose some of the complexity and character that makes a wine go from good to great. This wine is a fantastic example of that theory; it is delicate yet extremely flavourful and is laced with character and nuance. Both times I have drunk this wine I have found something that I previously missed. One warning, though - the Gamay goes down very easy. This wine can be enjoyed with or without food is worth every penny.

It is always great to stay inside your budget and live thrifty, but remember, life is to be enjoyed as well.

Don't be afraid to treat yourself occasionally.

Go ahead; open the good bottle.


*** These wines were sent to my by Southbrook Vineyards for review. The thoughts expressed in this article are 100% my own and reflect my true opinions of the products ***


  1. I am not a fan of wine but do like to try some now and again. Great post. The Gamay does sound really good though!

    1. Gamay is a really good non-wine drinker's wine. It's fairly fruity, not bogged down with oak and generally drinks very easy. Cooler climate gamays are a good way to go if you're looking to start into reds. Have it on the patio with a hamburger or something like that.

  2. I don't think I've ever heard of Orange wine, sounds interesting!

    Terri /

    1. Honestly Terri, I hadn't either until this post. I knew there were other ways to make wine than the big industrial methods, but had never explored them. This is kind of how they used to make wine.

      I know they make some orange wines in Spain and Italy, but I don't know how readily available they are.

  3. Oooh that Orange wine seems very unusual. I'd love to try that.

    Faye Jessica |

    1. Unusual is definitely a word for it! I really like it, but I find I can't drink it as a wine, per se. When I think of it as a wine, I have a harder time enjoying it because I have a set idea of what wine is in my head. It's hard to break that thought pattern. Once you step away from your expectations of what wine SHOULD be, it's a really cool thing.

      As I was saying above, I believe Spain and Italy both do Orange wines if you're looking, but they are a specialty.

  4. These sound interesting. I haven't tried Southbrook before.
    Britt |

    1. I love their wines, AND I love what they stand for. They are organic and biodynamic. They're also helping other farms in the area make the transition to full organic.

      If you like rose, try their seriously cool... but the Triomphe is glorious.