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

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In June’s delivery: A complex cabernet franc, a beautiful riesling and a strawberry-lifted rosé from Niagara’s ultra-small-batch boutique wine label Fogolar Wines. Orders must be placed by June 28.

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2018 Picone Vineyard Cabernet Franc

Why we’re into this wine: It’s a delicate, nuanced expression of cabernet franc that will reward cellaring. The grapes and must were fermented warm in stainless steel for 28 days before pressing. The wine was then aged in used French oak for 24 months to provide a mellow, rounded character as opposed to being aged in new barrels which would punch up the oak spice notes. Leaving off the capsules was a conscious decision made by the winemaker, and seemingly on trend with many wineries who are now doing this, in an effort to reduce plastic waste in the environment.

What it tastes like: Notes of fig, cassis, black currant, earth, cedar, graphite and black pepper combine gracefully in an alluring tasting experience. Tannins are noticeable, but relax quickly yielding a soft, supple mouthfeel. Excellent structure and balance.

How to drink it: Decant and pair with pancetta-wrapped dates stuffed with manchego cheese, roasted broccoli rabe with melted gouda and grilled meats.

 

2019 Hughes Vineyard Riesling

Why we’re into this wine: It’s a single-vineyard expression that conveys its terroir beautifully. Dynamically perfumed and succulent with a dash of honey, it will delight any lover of the varietal. Winemaker Marc Pistor arrested the fermentation to preserve much of the residual sugar and to maximize aromatic and flavour intensity. All the key elements that support balance, structure and quality are checked off, resulting in an interesting, layered wine.

What it tastes like: A tantalizing bouquet of white flowers, yellow apple and peach leads to citrus and tropical fruit notes on the palate. The acid is well balanced and the mouthfeel is light yet unctuous with a hint of sweetness on the finish.

How to drink it: This wine is addictive, so consider yourself forewarned. It’s light-bodied with a lower (9.1) alcohol percentage, so it can be overwhelmed by strong spices and will benefit from curated food pairing. Chill it and while away some leisure time while sipping, or pair it with a cheese board and jammy preserves, pork tenderloin with grilled peaches, or stir-fried veggies with Szechuan black bean sauce.

 

2019 Picone Vineyard Cabernet Franc Rosé

Why we’re into this wine: It redefines the term “small batch” at only 40 cases made—luckily, this fantastic saignée was reserved for Wine Club members. Made with cabernet franc grapes from the esteemed Picone Vineyard, which crests the Niagara Escarpment, minimal intervention was applied throughout the winemaking process to allow the natural character of the vineyard and vintage to carry through. Eighty per cent of the juice was fermented in stainless steel and twenty per cent in neutral French oak. The wine then spent six months in barrel before bottling.

What it tastes like: This is a gorgeous, dry rosé that wins the “Most Well-Rounded Player” award. Red cherry, rhubarb, raspberry, orange and lemon citrus swirl with a light vanilla finish. It’s medium-bodied and well balanced with bright acidity.

How to drink it: This versatile wine will happily accompany most fare — try it with tangy salads, herbed and barbecued polenta rounds and cedar plank salmon. Notice some tiny crystals at the bottom of the bottle? Also called “wine diamonds,” these tartrates are harmless by-products and often a sign that the wine hasn’t been roughly handled along its journey. Feel free to ignore them, strain them or consume them.