With the official start of The Great Canadian Wine Challenge set for Sunday September 1st, Calvin and I decided we needed to have a small, “soft” launch of the challenge. We called it the “soft” launch because we will likely add a more formal launch at the end of September when we have final numbers of participants who have signed onto the challenge.
Ontario wine friends in the Niagara region and in Ajax also held kick-off parties on Sunday and Monday respectively (more about those later).
With little notice, we were happy to host 8 Canadian wine lovers and a few children for some nibbles, sparkling and still wines from 5 different provinces on Sunday. Calvin provided a feast of his fantastic charcuterie and we paired it with some veggies, cheese and nibbles. Janet Dorozynski (who kind of triggered this whole project with her June 28th Canadian Wine Day) popped in to support the launch as well, which was much appreciated.
Here’s a quick recap of what we opened:
2012 Lighthall 2012 Progression Sparkling Vidal (ON) is a really fun, summer refresher.
L’Acadie Vineyards 2009 Sparkling Rose (NS) – no one was injured in my first attempt at sabrage, although my pride was somewhat wounded!
Hinterland 2009 (Sparkling) Rose (ON) – We had a lot of fun with Calvin and Andrew swinging large swords (and trimming my trees in the process) and not being able to saber this bottle. I went back to my trusty butcher knife and finally had sabering success!
Jost Vineyards 2004 Muscat (NS) – Janet found this one and figured it was worth a try -unfortunately it was past it’s prime.
Township 7 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (BC) – this was a lovely wine to pair with the fantastic charcuterie tray that Calvin Hanselmann provided (all his own meats!).
Oh yes – you need to see what Calvin creates!
Auk Island Blueberry Raspberry Wine – these fun wines from Newfoundland all had silly names like Funky Puffin, Jelly Bean Row, Moose Joose and this Crooked Cod. Thanks to Megan Young for providing our 4th province of the day!
L’Orpailleur 2011 Red (QC) – this spicy wine has some burnt candy notes on the nose when first opened that reminded people of burnt marshmallows. When I came back to this late at night it was wonderful and spicy.
There’s also lots of pictures of his smoked cheddar, ribs, and peaches in the stream below!
Not to be outdone, Rick Bates hosted an event at his house in Ajax on Sunday and the group he collected tasted 10 wines from 4 provinces!
You’ll find all of the September 1st action across Canada in the Twitter feed captured here:
How are you all doing with your challenges?