Sandbanks Estate Winery Baco Noir & Dunes

2009 Sandbanks Baco Noir, $15.05, LCBO#110049 & 2008 Dunes, $13.05, LCBO#110031.

This weekend I went into the LCBO with one thing on my mind and one thing only- to pick up some great wine. Although I continue to have fun trying out new $10 wines, the gems seem few and far between lately. Rather than purchase yet another bottle of affordable disappointment, I thought it was time to splurge on some summer favourites.

For this Wine Wednesday I am sharing my two best Ontario wines- which coincidentally come from the same winery and are 100% Ontario grown. When it comes to home grown wines, I really only feel right buying VQA. There’s just something so silly to me about labels that say “cellared in Ontario,” as if you won’t notice the conspicuous absense of the VQA seal.  If you didn’t grow the grape here, where it got cellared does not mean much to me. Hence my beef with most of the wine WalMart and the Wine Rack carries. By these standards, retirees can start putting “cellared in Ontario” on the crappy home made wine they make in their basements. Maybe WalMart will start carrying that?

I discovered Sandbanks Estate Winery on a Prince Edward County wine tour in May 2009. Our tour had the good fortune to bump into the winery’s lovely winemaker, Catherine Langlois, and I can see how her sunny disposition leads to great wine.  In my opinion, her wine is the best that Prince Edward County has to offer, and I’ve sampled most of the region’s vineyards. I love that I get to buy local and get great wine, and I can only imagine how much better things will get as the vines mature.

Their Baco Noir is one of my go to red wines. It’s exactly what I want in a wine; bold and fruit-forward with a touch of oak. I guess it’s just my luck that baco noir is often grown in more difficult climates like Ontario because it is definitely my kind of grape. That said, I have tried some other Ontario baco noirs and they are nowhere near as good as this one. So I must give some credit to the winery for growing a lovely grape and making a fabulous bottle.

Their other great bottle is Dunes, which is a Vidal Riesling blend. Again, it is a fruity and fresh wine. Not too sweet, with some crisp citrus notes that make it very refreshing. This has been one of Kevin’s favourite whites ever since I introduced it to him last year.

We’re having a small dinner party this week, and I think the Dunes will be a good opener with olives and cheese, while the Baco should partner well with some juicy steaks off the BBQ.  Cheers to great summer sippers!

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