A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 802: The Foreign Affair, Stratus and a Bunch of Other Wines

The Foreign Affair wines

On Canada Day I had a zoom tasting with Rene Van Ede, the new winemaker for The Foreign Affair, a Niagara winery that specializes in appassimento and ripasso wines. Rene, who has made wines at Flat Rock Cellars, Tawse and Redstone, took over from Barclay Robinson in 2020.

The Foreign Affair Sussreserve Riesling 2020 ($19.95, winery only)
(20% unfermented Appassimento Riesling juice was back-blended into this wine.) Pale in colour; honeyed grapefruit nose; light-bodied off-dry, tangerine and honeyed flavours; well-balanced with fresh acidity and an engaging touch of bitterness on the finish for added interest. (89)

The Foreign Affair Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2020 ($21.95, winery only)
88% Cabernet Sauvignon; 12% Sauvignon Blanc (Appassimento dried). Deep salmon in colour; strawberry bouquet with a light floral note; medium-bodied, dry, intense candied strawberry and cherry flavours. Good length. (88.5)

The Foreign Affair Amarosé 2020 ($19.95, LCBO #388702, release date July 24th)
52% Pinot Noir, 38% Gamay, 10% Chardonnay. Repassed over the fermented skins of Chardonnay and Gamay. Deep pink in colour with a bluish tint; strawberry and watermelon on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, watermelon flavour with lemony acidity. (90)

The Foreign Affair The Conspiracy 2018 ($19.95, Vintages #149237)
Deep ruby colour; redcurrant nose with oak spice and a floral top note: medium-bodied, dry, redcurrant and cranberry flavour; firmly structured, with ripe tannins. (89)

The Foreign Affair Whisky Barreled Conspiracy 2019 (still in barrel; $21.95)
62% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot. The wine repassed over the skins and lees of the Appassimento red grapes. Deep purple-ruby colour; cedary, malty nose of blackcurrant; medium to full-bodied, dry, juicy and succulent cherry and currant flavours; well-balanced, with a tannic lift on the warm alcoholic finish. (90)

The Foreign Affair Crispino Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (barrel sample)
Deep purple in colour; cedary, spicy, blackberry nose with vanilla oak notes; full-bodied, dry, floral, blackcurrant and black cherry flavours; firmly structured with ripe tannins. A Beautifully balanced wine that will age well. (I hope they bottle it as a single vineyard wine!) (91)

Other wines tasted:

Stratus Weather Report Viognier 2019 (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
Pale straw in colour; peach pit bouquet with light honeysuckle and mineral notes; medium-bodied, dry, white peach, apricot and floral flavours with a tangy acidic finish. Drink now or hold for a year to allow the bouquet to become more expressive. (89–90)

Stratus Weather Report Chardonnay 2017
Light gold in colour with a greenish tint; toasty apple nose with oak spice; medium-bodied, mature, apple flavour with well-integrated oak; harmonious and well-balanced with acidity. Drink now, through 2022. (90)

Stratus Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Light straw colour; grassy, gooseberry nose with a floral top note; medium-bodied, crisply dry, green plum and gooseberry flavours. Long, fresh finish. Drink now through 2023. (90)

Stratus Weather Report Red 2018
35% Syrah, 29% Merlot, 21% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Franc. Mature ruby colour; peppery, cherry nose with vanilla oak notes; medium-bodied, dry, sour cherry and red plum flavours, firmly structured, ripe tannins; nicely balanced with acidity. Drink now though 2023. (89)

Stratus Weather Report Cabernet Franc 2018
Ruby colour; cedary, toasty, baked plum bouquet with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, lean, red plum flavour and lively acidity, finishing firmly with ripe tannins. Hold and drink 2022–2024. (89)

Stratus Gamay 2019
Ruby colour; struck flint, peppery, cherry nose; light-to-medium-bodied, dry, cherry and cranberry flavours with lively acidity. A firmly-structured, chillable red. Drink now through 2022. (89)

Gold Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (Okanagan Valley)
Bright and shining pale straw colour; minerally, green plum and grapefruit nose with a note of beeswax; medium to full-bodied, crisply dry, with gooseberry and green plum flavours carried on lively acidity and finishing on a saline note. (90)

Gold Hill Cabernet Franc Rosé 2020 (Okanagan Valley)
Salmon pink in colour; cranberry bouquet; medium to full-bodied, dry, cherry flavour with just a touch of sweetness in mid palate; warm finish from 13.9% alcohol. (89)

Gold Hill Cabernet Franc 2016 (Okanagan Valley)
Deep ruby colour; cedary, spicy, raisiny, vanilla oak and black plum bouquet; full-bodied, dry, fleshy but muscular ($14.9% alcohol), plum and blackcurrant flavours; firmly structured and well-balanced with a bitter chocolate finish. Reminiscent of an Amarone. (90)

Malivoire Mottiar Pinot Noir 2019 (Beamsville Bench)
Light ruby in colour; raspberry and tealeaf nose with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, light and lace-y on the palate with ripe raspberry flavour and crisp acidity. A well-balanced wine. (91)

Malivoire Wismer Cabernet Franc 2019 (Twenty Mile Bench)
Bright ruby in colour; cedary, plum nose with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, light and elegant on the palate with a crunchy, cherry flavour carried on lively acidity. Lovely mouth-feel. (90)

Zonte’s Footsteps Chocolate Factory Shiraz 2018 (McLaren Vale, $19.95, Vintages #396481)
Dense purple colour; vanilla, blackberry nose with a toasty note; fully-bodied, dry, juicy and fruity with cocoa powder tannins, finishing with mouth-freshening acidity. (90)

Zonte’s Footsteps Lake Doctor Shiraz 2017 (Langhorne Creek, $19.95)
Dense purple colour; sweet tobacco leaf, blackberry and vanilla oak on the nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, succulent black fruit flavours with a licorice note and palate cleansing acidity. Firm finish of ripe tannins. (89)

CVNE Pagos de Viña Real 2018 (Rioja, $69.95, Vintages #18595)
Deep purple colour; cedary, vanilla, black cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, cherry and plum flavours; beautifully balanced with fresh acidity and firmly structured with ripe tannins; lovely mouth-feel, ending on a blackcurrant note. (92)

Buena Vista Legendary Badge Zinfandel 2018 (Sonoma, $17.95 LCBO general list #20806)
Light ruby in colour; red plum bouquet with oak spice; full-bodied, dry, ripe plum flavour with balancing acidity and a finish of ripe tannins. (88.5)

Ferraton Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu 2019 ($18.95, Vintages #74229, to be released July 24th)
Deep purple colour; cedary, earthy, blackberry nose with oak spice; full-bodied, dry, savoury, blackberry flavour with a herbal note carried on fresh acidity, finishing on a licorice note. (89)

Champagne Pommery Pop Extra Sec ($17.85, Vintages #18132, 200mL)
Bright, light straw colour, tiny bubbles; a nose of white blossoms, honey and apple with a toasty top note; just off-dry – a honeyed apple flavour, well-balanced with a long, bready, lemony finish. A good introduction to champagne. (90)

Pommery Pop Champagne (and a lemon for scale)

Domaine L’Ostal Cazes Minervois La Livinière 2009 (Midi)
Dense purple-ruby in colour; cedary, dark plum nose with oak spice; medium to full-bodied, dry, well-firmly structured, plum and currant flavours. (90)

Thalia Rosé 2020 (Crete, $10.95, Vintages #14153)
A blend of native Cretan varieties, Kotsifali and Mandilaria, Bright, coppery-salmon in colour; minerally, wild strawberry nose; light to medium-bodied, dry, cranberry, redcurrant and strawberry flavours with lemony-acidity and a floral note. Good length and great value. (89)

Thalia Rosé 2020

Maculan Pinot Grigio 2019 (Veneto, $15.95, Vintages #734921)
This is what Pinot Grigio should taste like. Pale straw in colour; a nose of white peach and lemon with a mineral note; light to medium-bodied, dry; white peach and Mirabelle plum flavours with a lemony finish. (90)

Maculan Pinot Grigio 2019

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