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Video: A taste of Canada

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    >> this.

    >>> with the "today" gang having all the fun over in vancouver , we thought we would bring a little excitement over our way.

    >> as we do.

    >> because it's thirst-day.

    >> never too early to get into the spirit of things or should i say the spirits? leslie sbracco -- you're just mean -- i'm reading the prompter. leslie , we're so glad you're here.

    >> just show us, for goodness sake. good to see you, darling.

    >> good to see you.

    >> these are olympic shrimp. they're on steroid.

    >> they could take on lindsey vonn , couldn't they, those things?

    >> i know. unbelievable.

    >> we have canadian wines and spirits for you today. they make wine in canada from bc all the way over to ontario. i'll kick off with some white wine by wayne gretsky , the great one.

    >> the great one.

    >> he has a vineyard, i guess.

    >> he has a vineyard, number 99.

    >> is it in the napa valley or sonoma?

    >> no, this is niagara peninsula .

    >> in canada .

    >> all these wines are from canada . vancouver is known for its seafood, shellfish.

    >> there's a bit of a sweetness to it, which would counteract the spiceiness of seafood. and a portion of the proceeds go to wayne gretsky 's hockey foundation.

    >> another reason to drink.

    >> canada , vodka. can we separate? no.

    >> i didn't know that.

    >> can you grab a little bit --

    >> i can't do that.

    >> we have to shoot some things today, so --

    >> this is actually vodka, made from 12,000-year-old icebergs.

    >> oh, then you've got to have it.

    >> they take the icebergs from newfoundland.

    >> i mean, it would be rude.

    >> who drinks straight vodka?

    >> we drink straight vodka.

    >> i don't.

    >> it's made from icebergs for goodness sakes.

    >> don't do it. we have a shoot after this.

    >> you're going ice skating . do it. quarters. anybody got a quarter? go!

    >> psych.

    >> you did it.

    >> psych.

    >> oh, my god. do not do this at home. i'm a professional. all right. so now we move to red wines . i know you love red wines .

    >> i do.

    >> this is from the okanaugen about an hour outside of vancouver . sorry, the vodka is still going down.

    >> leslie is a woman who likes her work. yes.

    >> and this is mission hill winery, very famous winery in canada , one of the best wines in all of canada , about $60 a bottle, beautiful red wine .

    >> this is a --

    >> blend of -- very smooth and s supple.

    >> we all have a little age.

    >> that was mean. that's actually -- that's really good.

    >> isn't that beautiful? i paired it with a salad with strip steak and bleu cheese and canadian bacon .

    >> is canadian bacon really from canada ?

    >> it can be but it's really about the cut, from the loin of the pork. the pork loin . these are sometimes a challenge to find.

    >> we've already moved on.

    >> that's why you bring them to us, leslie .

    >> this one is from dan akroyd .

    >> all these celebs have their own wines. i didn't know that.

    >> he's a canadian. do you have your own wine?

    >> a jet. a girl can dream.

    >> that's like a dessert wine .

    >> it's sweet but it actually goes great with spicy food , too.

    >> 30 seconds, leslie .

    >> all right. absolutely gorgeous, jackson triggs, $25 a bottle. and this is a little canadian whisky .

    >> oh, no.

    >> yeah, ladies. come on. drink it up. here you go.

    >> who drinks these kinds of drinks with ice in them, just solid liquor and ice?

    >> leslie sbracco.

    >> we have website links and links that sell these wines.

    >> back to the wine.

    >>> coming up, we'll go downstairs

By
TODAY contributor
updated 2/18/2010 12:48:34 PM ET 2010-02-18T17:48:34

Watching the Winter Games may be a spectator sport, but there's no reason you can't enjoy the action while savoring the Great White North's top libations. From elegant whites to rich reds, wine guru Leslie Sbrocco breaks down the nation's top exports.

2007 Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery “No. 99” Unoaked Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula, Canada; $15
The Great One himself has a winery in eastern Canada's Niagara Peninsula, a region that's known for whites, reds and a striking ice wine made from hearty red Shiraz grapes. This light and refreshing white is crisp and clean. Sip alongside fresh seafood, chicken or pork dishes. A portion of wine sales also goes to support Gretzky’s hockey foundation for children. www.gretzky.com/wine/

2006 Mission Hill Family Estate “SLC” Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Okanagan Valley, Canada; $25
Mostly Sauvignon Blanc with a dash of aromatic Semillon, this luscious Bordeaux-style blend is vibrant and loaded with juicy fruit flavors. Pour with oysters, scallops in lemon sauce, or salad with vinaigrette and shaved Parmesan cheese. http://www.missionhillwinery.com/

Iceberg Canadian Vodka; $25
Made from the water of 12,000-year-old icebergs harvested off the coast of Newfoundland, this pure spirit is as classy as vodka gets. Try it straight up from a chilled shot glass with caviar or mix up a VVT — Vancouver Vodka Tonic. Add your favorite tonic and a slice of lime in honor of the Games.

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2005 Mission Hill Family Estate “Oculus,” Okanagan Valley, Canada; $60
A lush, complex blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot. This stylish red stands at the top of Canada’s wine podium. It’s a world-class wine to celebrate not only the Olympics, but any gold medal moment. http://www.missionhillwinery.com/

2007 Dan Aykroyd “Discovery Series” Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County, California; $20
Hailing from California, this wine is inspired by Canadian-born comedian Dan Aykroyd. A fruit-driven, full-bodied red that pairs with everything from pizza to burgers, you’ll soak in Dan’s north-of-the-border spirit with each sip. www.danaykroydwines.com/

2007 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine, Niagara Peninsula, Canada; $95
Rare and regal, this delicately sweet yet savory wine is made with red Cabernet Franc grapes frozen on the vine, then pressed gently to make wine. Treat yourself to a bottle paired with fiery hot fare or a glass by a toasty fire. www.inniskillin.com/en/

2006 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine, Niagara Peninsula, Canada; $60
A sumptuously sweet sipper made with the hybrid grape variety Vidal, which can thrive in Canada’s cold climate. It's ideal as a dessert by itself, or paired with rich cheeses and dried fruits. www.inniskillin.com/en/

2007 Jackson-Triggs “Proprietor’s Reserve” Vidal Icewine, Niagara Peninsula; $25
Jackson-Triggs is a well-known producer with wineries in both the Niagara Peninsula and Okanagan Valley. Their affordable bottling is an ideal way to sample the joys of ice wine. www.jacksontriggswinery.com/en

Forty Creek Canadian Whisky; $24
One of Canada’s top distillers, Forty Creek is a light, superbly smooth whiskey distilled from rye. Make a simple hot toddy with a shot of whiskey and teaspoon of honey. Top with hot water, cloves and a lemon wedge, then curl up and watch the Winter Games. http://www.fortycreekwhisky.com/

Though Canadian wines are often difficult to find in the United States, you can get information at the individual winery Web sites, and order many of them at select top retailers such as http://www.sherry-lehmann.com/ and http://www.ackerstore.com/. Another Web site with information on ordering many of these wines and spirits is http://www.wine-searcher.com/.

Leslie Sbrocco is a wine consultant, television host, and author of two books on wine. She recently launched www.BeAThirstyGirl.com, an online community devoted to women who love wine, food, travel, libations and life. Sbrocco is an enthusiastic educator who will be appearing at the New York Wine Expo on Feb. 26 and 27. For ticket information go to www.wine-expos.com.

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