T.S. Eliot was on the mark when he penned ‘April is the cruelest month’. The worst part of April in Vancouver is the false sense of security you get that summer is on its way. Merciless trick! After months of jonsing for warm enough weather to elicit some joie d’été, we couldn’t resist the urge to guzzle these picnic and patio appropriate wines and beer. Who knew effervescence would be the theme of the month?
Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato D’Asti 2004, 2005
For the second year in a row (hooray for new traditions), we had this bright, aromatic and lightly effervescent dessert wine with Easter brunch. It is adorably yummy, with notes of peach, honey and melon. While I love it at brunch or early on a sunny afternoon (feels happily indulgent), it also makes a nice aperitif if your tastes lean towards less sweet dessert wines because it has some musky notes. Nivole Moscato D’Asti hails from a single vineyard in the commune of Canelli located in Asti province where the moscato bianco grape dates back to 17th century. Anyways, why bother blundering through more description when the name ‘Nivole’ meaning “cloud” in the local dialect so nicely encapsulates this airy, tantalizing wine.
Blanche de Chambly beer
$11.76/6x341ml This tasty, triple fermented white beer from Quebec’s Unibroue brewery will definitely be representing at our 2007 croquet season – special shout out to the Eastside Croquet Club! Citrusy with subtle spicing, light and effervescent, Blanche de Chambly is not as sweet as Hoegaarden and maybe that’s why it seems more refreshing. What can I say, Unibroue makes some great stuff … besides, have you seen their label art? Their designs are fit to be airbrushed on the side panel of 1970’s van. Awesome!
Banrock Sparkling Shiraz
$16.99/750ml We picked this up as a novelty one Friday after work. While the lightness of sparkling and fullness of red wine seem contradictory, in practice it wasn’t bad. Fizzy and sweet with robust plum and blackcurrant flavours, this sparkling red was interesting to try but definitely not for everyone. That being said, it would be tasty with summer picnic fare like sausage, baguette and an assortment of cheeses; alternatively, it may also be nice with dessert, particularly something of the chocolate persuasion. I must admit the cherry colour, tingly-on-the tongue froth is pretty fun too. If you’re not turned off by the notion of a bubbly red, it’s worth trying, but be warned the 14.0% alcohol content may give you, ahem, a little more buzz than you bargained for.