Monday, January 10, 2011

Buying Natural Wines and Champagnes in Newfoundland

It IS possible to find a decent selection of natural wines in Newfoundland!

The second time I went to the liquor store (time # 2 of 2) this Christmas, it was to buy the wine for the 3rd Annual Volk/Watson Christmas Extravaganza. It was so much fun! I wasn't sure if I was going to buy a few of the same wines or buy a bunch of different ones, but I wanted them to all be natural (organic and then some, to put it simply, but listen to this to find out more). I knew no one at the liquor store was going to know what a natural wine was, and the best-case scenario would be that I'd just be pointed to the organic ones (that often aren't natural, and the natural ones are often not labeled organic, which they also are. Complicated, I know). So I looked at every wine-making region and read the back of bottles, and recognized some names. Here's what I came up with:

Joseph Drouhin's Morgon, Pinot Noir, and Saint-Véran, and a Bouchard Père et Fils' Pinot Noir.
I had also planned to serve two Quebec white table wines since they're supposed to be used for musical parties ("La Musicale" from Quebec honey farm and honeywine-makers Les Trois Acres) but they were left in the fridge by accident and are awaiting a new musical party at which to be opened.

On a piece of cardboard next to the bar at the party, I wrote:

          About the wines:
The whites and reds are natural wines; they are produced organically, hand-harvested, and have no extra yeasts, enzymes, sulfites or other chemicals added. Many come from the same producer but are made with different varieties of grapes. By not adding any of these extras ingredients, natural wines are supposed to allow you to taste the "terroir" - the land and true flavour of the wine - since nothing is chemically-masking it.

The Honey Maple Dessert Wine and the Honey Ice Wine from Miel Nature are examples of what Quebec does best. They're a little sip of heaven. I also used them in the cinnamon apricots and figs for the angel food cake, so the cake and wine should go well together.
I couldn't tell anything about the champagnes at the liquor store, so I just bought an affordable prosecco for the zabaione and stuck with wines I trusted for the party. The prosecco was perfect for the Italian custard-like dessert.