There’s never been a better time to celebrate with local bubbles! With rumours flying of a global shortage of champagne, why not explore the effervescent excellence we have here in Ontario? Ontario’s cool climate and limestone rich soils produce some of the world’s best sparkling wines – our VQA sparkling is perfect anytime and pairs with everything, including New Year’s Eve.
According the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario – the masterminds behind the Wine Country Ontario brand and experts on all things VQA in Ontario – there are two methods of sparkling being done in Ontario right now. The first is what is called ‘Traditional Method’ and the second is the ‘Charmat Method’.
The Traditional Method of crafting sparkling wine creates a wine with delicate bubbles, bright acidity, and often bread-like or fine brioche aromas. This method involves a secondary fermentation that takes place in the bottle, where sugar and yeast are added to the still wine to create CO2, which produces fine bubbles. Most Traditional Method Sparkling Wine in Ontario (like Champagne) is made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – Classic Style.
The Charmat Method of crafting Sparkling wine, also known as Cuvee Close, produces wines that are fresh, vibrant and fruit forward. In this method, the secondary fermentation takes place in large steel tanks, where sugar and yeast are added to the still wine. The CO2 that is produced from this reaction is released into the tank, creating the bubbles before the wine is bottled. Most VQA Charmat Method sparkling is made using Riesling, but it is also commonly made in a Rosé style.
Which ever your pleasure, there’s an Ontario winery creating a magical bottle perfect for your next pour. Not sure where to start? Check out the Wine County Ontario website for a list of wineries that ship right to your door, or look from one of these three bottles we’ll sipping this season.
2013 STARDUST BRUT CUVEE
VQA PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY
Rosehall Run, 1243 Greer Road, Wellington, ON rosehallrun.com
We’ve been holding onto this one for a while – since it was released – and think end 2021 is the perfect reason to pop it. The 2013 Stardust, of which only 150 cases were produced, promises notes of spiced baked apple, vanilla and brioche-like toastiness we’re craving during the holidays. It also showcases that signature minerality Prince Edward County wines are known for. Get it direct from the winery delivered now.
2020 Bunch’a Trouble Sparkling Rose
VQA EMERGING REGIONS (SOUTHERN GEORGIAN BAY)
The Roost at Red Wing, 415763 10th Line, The Blue Mountains, ON roostwinery.ca
Made in the Charmat Method from Pinot Noir, a classic sparkling wine grape, this lovely sparkler is the perfect pairing for lingering brunches and long evenings spent with friends. A tall order for a bottle of bubbles, but we stand by it! It’s got aromas of strawberries, citrus and a hint of peach that harken back to summer sun. Plus, it was a winner at the International Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships!
2019 Josephine Sparkling
VQA LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE
Paglione Estate Winery, 724 County Road 50 E, Harrow, ON paglioneestatewinery.com
Produced in the Charmat method, this extra dry, light golden sparkling is modeled after the prosecco style, fresh and crisp with refined notes of mango, peach, and honey with a subtle, balanced finish. Paglione is a newer Essex County winery recommended to us by our friends at TWEPI. We’ve become big fans and this sparkling is an excellent reason showcase of why!