Erin’s Summer Picks

Marqués de Cáceres, Verdejo, Rueda, Spain, 2019

If you are looking for an affordable wine without sacrificing quality, Rueda consistently delivers Spain’s most reliable white wines to the international market. A decidedly warm inland climate, the vineyards of this wine region are planted at high elevation to deliver concentrated wines with marked freshness. The Verdejo grape is a perfect alternative to a dry Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio with lively aromatics of lemon peel and white peach balanced by an underlying mineral complexity. This wine’s versatility makes a perfect choice for a wide range of food, or enjoy it on its own as an aperitif.

Malivoire, Farmstead Gamay, Niagara Peninsula VQA, Niagara 2019

With the purchase of their first parcel of land in the Niagara region in 1995, Malivoire continues to be recognized as a long-standing pillar of excellence in Canadian winemaking. Vegan friendly and Certified Sustainable, The Farmstead Gamay is a 20% whole-cluster (stems and seeds included) ferment which works to impart a silky tannin structure to compliment the generous fruit character of this wine. One-third of the vintage spends 7 months maturing in neutral oak to underscore the ripe cherry and plum flavours with a well-integrated and delicate vanilla spice. Serve this light-bodied red lightly chilled with light snacks, charcuterie, cheese, rotisserie chicken, or grilled salmon.

Freixenet Italian Rose

Spanish sparkling wine giant, Freixenet expands their reach into Italy for this Charmat method Glera/Pinot Noir blend. Subtle sweetness (14.5g/l residual sugar) balances this fresh and lively wine to deliver an expression that is both fun and versatile. Enjoy this wine on its own or add a splash to spritz up any citrus-based cocktails. Perfect pairing for canapés, seasonal fruit salads and light appetizers.

Strawberry Hibiscus Cup
(makes one cocktail)

Combine in cocktail shaker:

  • 2oz vodka
  • 1oz St Germain
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz hibiscus simple syrup*
  • Fresh strawberries (muddle into mixture)

Add ice and shake ingredients. Pour over ice into tall Collins glass.

Top with:
Freixenet Italian Rosé

Garnish with:
Fresh strawberry and piece of lemon zest

*Hisbiscus simple syrup

  • combine ½ cup water, ½ cup white sugar, 1 bag of hibiscus tea
  • heat gently until sugar dissolves and let steep 30 minutes
  • chill and it is now ready to use
  • store in fridge up to 2 weeks
  • OR stir in a splash of vodka to syrup and store up to 2 months

After Hours Series Raspberry Sour Beer, PEI Brewing Company

This kettle-soured wheat beer is conditioned and finished with real raspberries to deliver an unapologetically pure expression of elevated freshness that is true to the expectations of the fruited-sour category. For lovers of crisp, dry, high-acid wines this is the gateway beer to help them crossover into the craft-beer segment if they haven’t already. With light alcohol (5%abv) and no discernable bitterness (10 IBU), the prevailing tartness of a sour beer will soften and enrich its fruit counterpart when paired with citrus-driven dishes. Pair with oysters and mignonette, ceviche, salads, lemon chicken or bring it to a backyard barbeque with a bag of salt and vinegar chips.

Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Solera Rum, Guatemala

Put away the bar mix because premium rum is bringing all the straight-up sophisticated sipping to the luxury spirits category. Ana Lorena Vásquez, the Master Blender at Zacapa (she is actually responsible for all facets of the production from distilling to bottling), uses a series of bourbon, sherry and wine casks in a unique method of maturation that continuously blends aged reserve rum with younger rum to achieve a level of complexity that makes it hard to pick out even just one prominent note. To mitigate the tropical Guatemalan climate, this rum is aged at high elevation (2300m) where cooler temperatures slow the rate of maturation to deliver an expression of unmatched smoothness. Unequivocally, the rum category is leading the spirits segment in the top five beverage trends of 2020-2021 and it is expected to continue to dominate in the future months. It won’t be long before we’ll be reminiscing about the double-digit price point of this champion.