2018 Restricted Quantities Program
Every year, our major supplier, RJS Craft Winemaking, announces the 4 wine kits that will be available in our annual Restricted Quantities limited release program. If you are not familiar with this program, it is essentially a pre-order program. RJS announces their choice of ultra-premium 8-week kits, we order them, and they produce only as many kits as get pre-ordered, so the number of kits is restricted to only those pre-ordered. The deadline for ordering this year is October 20th for the kits to be released one-per-month in December (a lovely Australian Shiraz Viognier blend), in January (Chilean Carménère), in February (Spanish Tempranillo) and finishing in March (German Riesling). Over the next few months, we will be learning about each of these wines.
We are going to start with the December Restricted Quantities wine, Shiraz Viognier, an interesting blend that originated in the northern Côte du Rhône region of France (especially in the Côte Rôtie region). Traditionally, Viognier (pronounced vee-oh–NYAY) is the white grape variety, and Syrah (or Shiraz) is the red grape variety grown in this region, and due to the perfect sun exposure and dry climate (the terroir), these Syrah grapes ripen fully, with very high sugar content and finishing the growing season with very thick skins. This combination, when fermented, creates a very harsh, full-bodied red wine that is almost too strong to drink. To help “tame” the wine, vintners in the Region blend in a small amount of white wine, in this case, Viognier (5-10%), with the Syrah (90-95%) to both lower the alcohol content and to soften the tannins. The Viognier grape adds a pleasant fruit salad aroma (guava, papaya, banana and pear) with honey and floral scents and low acidity. Because of the small amount used in the finished blend, the action of the Viognier is very subtle. These finished wines tend to have a perfumed violet aroma with concentrated fruit flavours, are full-bodied, with a long finish and smooth tannins. They also are spicy with peppery notes, and are usually finished in toasted smoky oak barrels with dense black currant, plum and black raspberry characteristics. Although our juice for this release comes from Australia, the blend is the same. Australian vineyards have been growing the same Syrah clone as planted in the Hermitage and Côte Rôtie districts of the northern Côte du Rhône Region.
This wine pairs well with bison burgers, lamb kebabs, meat pie, sharp cheddar, and pretty well any red meat or pork grilled to perfection on the BBQ. (Hot dogs and pizza also work!)
In past years we have made three versions of this blend and have won three medals in three different years; a gold, a silver and a bronze medal in the world’s largest amateur winemaking competition, sponsored annually by WineMaker Magazine™. If you would like more information or would like to order any of the Restricted Quantities wine kits, please call the store (519 471-5250) to place your order before October 20, 2017.