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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