Food & Wine | Diamond Estates Winter Wishlist

For those of you who have followed my partnership with Diamond Estates, you know how much I have come to love them and bringing their wines to your laptop and smart phone screens. With the launch of, Diamond Estates has joined on board for yet another year of seasonal posts to feature, review and critique their latest & greatest. This season I bring you my Winter Wishlist with wines for those cold nights, sunshine filled afternoons and beautiful snow glistening days.

Not all wine is created equal, and not all occasions call for the same type of wine. I offer you some quick tips and tricks in hopes that the next time you head to the LCBO or are in search of something unique to wow your taste buds that you take my advise.

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Winter White

When I think of white wine, I often am reminded of hot summer days sipping on a patio. But no longer does white wine have to remain in the daydreamed moments of a summer breeze. But what white to chose? Many would stick to the standard go-to’s of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. What most don’t realize is that a well balanced blend can in fact be just what the doctor ordered when a decision is difficult to make. Choosing something balanced with sweet and dry grapes will always be your best bet when it comes to blends as it will please a wider audience.

The 2011 Hat Trick White is a blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer & Chardonnay. Also known as dry, sweet and buttery in its flavours. A relatively young Ontario wine, on the tongue it will offer flavours of peach which is balanced with a strong acidity. Think light and refreshing as your inspiration for this bottle when choosing it as a pairing. For dishes such as creamy cheeses by the fire, it will offer contrasting flavours. Oppositely, try it with spicy take out, and this will bring out the sweet hints of fruit in the wine. For a safe choice and an easy drinking white, this is a great option.

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Bold & Beautiful Blends

Red wine is king in the winter time. Be it because of its bold flavours or the way they can warm you from the inside out, I can’t help but smile when I think about all the amazing choices. In Canada, dependent upon the regions, we are actually some of the best producers on a global scale for Pinot Noir and Merlot. But the forefront of the Canadian wine sales are driven by blends. Yes, in part to the financial factor, but also because a proper blend can help to create a peaceful harmony of flavours.

NHL Alumni Wines helps to create a sister to the aforementioned White with its 2011 Hat Trick Red. A harmony of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc & Shiraz. Also known as bold, dry and smoky. When it comes to red wine, I am normally a purist and do not even fathom buying a blend. However, Ontario has got a few tricks up its sleeve to keep me intrigued. On the nose, this wine smells of black cherries and leather and matches with flavours of layered oakiness and fruit. After one sip, I knew to pair it with a Sunday Roast and red meat dishes. A match made in heaven!

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Seductive Shiraz

This varietal is one that most people either love or hate, and justifiably so. It can be the most romantic and sensual red wines you will ever try, or the most aggressive and harsh glass of red wine. The trick is know what label to trust and which to steer clear from. Although quite common in hot weather climates, I would argue that a Canadian representation of Shiraz offers an elegant and subdued version of this powerhouse varietal in the wine world.

EastDell Estates 2011 Black Label Shiraz is just one sexy bottle to look at. And for those of you wine fans like me, anything that says black label gets me excited and inspired. Even I tread lightly when it comes to a bottle of Shiraz, as most of you do, because I have been proverbially burnt too many times. I was surprised at how delicate this wine tasted after a alcoholic scent. With flavours such as plum, cigar smoke and black pepper, this bottle of red is not for the light of heart, so be weary if this is your first time. For those of you in search of a sophisticated bold bottle of wine to romance the one you love and woo them off their feet, this is the Ontario wine for you. Who doesn’t love a good bottle of red and someone to enjoy it with on a cold winter’s night? Sounds pretty perfect to me.

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Just Desserts

Icewine always reminds me of the winter and falling snow flakes. There is something quite magical in those elegant slim bottles and the intense flavours (and alcoholic content!) within. Albeit an acquired taste, icewine can be the perfect after dinner drink to sip and snuggle together or a great companion to an afternoon snack. Depending on the flavours you are looking for, Ontario has some of the best icewine in the world. The climate offers some of the best conditions and has put Ontario and Canadian Icewine on the map year and year again. The world knows all about them, but do you?

Seasons 2010 Vidal Icewine is a beautiful choice for those of you taking your first sip ever, and those experienced icewine drinkers alike. Rich fruit flavours of apricot and honey coat the tongue right away upon your first sip and linger into this tangible amber warmth that you can’t help by smile at. Icewine is meant to be sipped slowly and lingered upon due to its sweetness and complex flavours. I like to enjoy it instead of dessert some nights or as a pairing to pate on a salty cracker. I suggest you head to pick some up before it disappears as it usually does due to such high demand and small production.

I hope that you have the chance to check out all four of the bottles listed on my Winter Wishlist and make sure to always check the Diamond Estates website for new releases. Or better yet, stay tuned in 2014 for my seasonal posts and recommendations to keep you in the loop for the latest and greatest from Diamond Estates with #DoTheDaniel.

Photos: Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Ltd.

Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive.


Daniel Desforges