Here’s what’s inside the July Toronto Life Wine Club box

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In July’s delivery: A rich chardonnay, a refreshing sparkling brut and a unique petit verdot, all touched by the appassimento process, from The Foreign Affair Winery. Orders must be placed by July 21.

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2019 Sparkling Rosé

Why we’re into this wine: It’s an aromatic, fruity bubbly with a little extra oomph thanks to the appassimento style that winemaker René Van Ede has perfected. Appassimento is an Italian winemaking style that entails drying grapes on straw mats to concentrate the flavours and sugars. In this effervescent mix of riesling and pinot noir (28%), it’s a portion of the riesling grapes that saw 81 days of drying before being fermented in stainless steel using the Charmat method. 

What it tastes like: Charmat-method sparkling wines retain their fresh fruit character because the wine doesn’t age on its lees — this is why ripe strawberry, rhubarb, watermelon and lemon abound on the palate. It’s a dry wine with bold flavour, refreshing acid and a lovely finish.

How to drink it: Chill well and enjoy. It’s a match with almost any food from salty appetizers and creamy cheeses to spicy cuisine and fried delights.

2019 Chardonnay

Why we’re into this wine: One of the most unique chardonnays to come out of Niagara, this wine dances onto the palate with dramatic flavour. Twenty percent of the grapes saw a month of drying time before undergoing fermentation; the wine then spent nine months in French oak. It’s a generous, full-bodied chardonnay with excellent structure and balance that was crafted for pure decadence. 

What it tastes like: Beautiful tropical fruit notes—grilled pineapple, papaya, freshly squeezed lime—sashay into deeper, more spiced flavours of bananas flambé, lemon custard and caramel popcorn. The mouthfeel is lush and creamy with an exquisite finish. 

How to drink it: It’s almost a shame this wine is so food friendly as it’s an enchanting sipper. If pairing with food, steamed mussels in white wine sauce and lime-grilled scallops are a wonderful match, or opt to lean into the creaminess of the wine with gourmet mac and cheese.

2016 Petit Verdot

Why we’re into this wine: The grapes that were included in the appassimento process saw no less than 100 days of drying time, contributing to an intensely flavoured and complex petit verdot. A dash of cabernet franc (14 per cent) mellows the wine and offers structure and balance. Eighteen months in French and American oak barrels has rounded the flavours seductively into a rich, savoury wine with character.  

What it tastes like: Whether you enjoy the spice of anise, the crispness of fennel or simply black licorice, that sweet-savoury flavour is palpable here. Earth, green herbs and plummy black fruit offer an ample palate that leads to a peppery finish. 

How to drink it: Decant to loosen the tannins. Serve with roasted red meats like lamb and prime rib, root veggies, and fire-baked pesto pizza. 

Join Foreign Affair’s winemaker René Van Ede and sommelier Ed Hadden on Wednesday, Aug. 4 at 5 p.m. for a virtual tasting of these outstanding wines hosted by Toronto Life. Sign up here.