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Treat mom to local wine and food on her special day, plus Ravine and Featherstone reviews

By Rick VanSickle

I miss my mom so much. Her big day, which I never missed unless distance made it impossible, is coming up Sunday and I wish I could see her again, that beaming smile, the love she had for life, family and the simple pleasures that made her happy.

Wine was high up on her list of things she loved. From cheap plonk to fancy Champagne to whatever we shared with her — she wasn’t picky, but she sure enjoyed a glass or two of whatever was on the table. This Sunday is about honouring all moms, whether she is still with us or if it’s simply remembering all those moments that made mom so special. I will be raising a glass to my mom as I am sure you will be too.

In these days of isolation, wherever your mother is right now, and possibly can’t be with you, we can all celebrate that amazing woman who brought us into this world. I raise a glass to you, mom, and all the mothers out there who are so special to each and every one of us.

Niagara wine

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken so much from us but we can’t let that be an excuse to not celebrate Mother’s Day with the same passion we always have. So many local restaurants and wineries in Niagara are rising to the occasion with take-out (or curb-side) Mother’s Day special meals and delicious wines.

If you need ideas for great take-out in the region, check out the Niagara Take Out and Delivery Facebook page and plan something special mom. Here are a few specials that caught our eye:

• Vineland Estate Mother’s Day meal (with special gift from the Watering Can), go here
• Good Earth Food and Wine has a special breakfast in bed package, go here
• Ruffino’s Pasta Bar and Grill has a full Mother’s Day Brunch, go here
• The Garrison House has a two-course take-out Mother’s Day Brunch, go here

Many wineries are also rolling out wine specials. Ravine Vineyard has a deal with the purchase of six wines online you receive a bouquet of flowers for mom, go here. The winery has also released its first Charmat Rosé just in time for Mother’s Day. We have a review for that wine, plus a newly released Unoaked Chardonnay, below. Also in this report, the new spring releases from Featherstone Estate Winery are reviewed. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

New Ravine releases

Ravine Charmat Rosé NV ($28, 90 points) — Mom would be perfectly happy with a nice glass of this pink, sparkly rosé made from 100% Cabernet Franc on her special day. The pretty pale pink colour in the glass and delicate mousse set the mood perfectly for the rainbow of red berry aromas in the glass. The palate shows a lovely creamy texture, vigorous bubbles, strawberries, cherries and a savoury note that’s all nicely balanced by the racy acidity. Cheers, mom!

Ravine Unoaked Chardonnay ($32, 92 points) — The St. David’s estate fruit was hand-picked and whole-cluster pressed with zero oak aging, zero malolactic fermentation and meticulous lees stirring weekly for 5 months. It has a highly aromatic nose of lifted pear, white peach, creamy lemon chiffon and citrus notes. It’s bright, clean and fresh on the palate with apple/quince notes, lemon, stony minerality and a vibrant, zesty finish with mouth-watering acidity. It’s not easy to make an unoaked Chardonnay personable, but winemaker Lydia Tomek has nailed it here.

The new releases from Featherstone

All Featherstone wines are available at the winery (curb side pick) up or free shipping on orders over $120) or at the LCBO as indicated below). Go here for the online store

The Whites

Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2018 ($19, Vintages now, 90 points) — The fruit was hand picked, hand sorted, whole bunch pressed and kept on the lees for about a month. It shows beautiful and pure aromas of lime, salinity, lemon blossom, green apple and a subtle ginger note. There’s a playful tug of sweet and tart lime/grapefruit on the palate with apple skin and ginger accents on bright, vibrant finish.

Featherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2018 ($22, Vintages May 16, 91 points) — A specialty at Featherstone with the fruit aged in 100% Canadian oak, with 10% of the barrels new oak and the rest older barrels for 10 months. It shows a nice golden glow in the glass with a nose of pear, apple, spice, cream and butterscotch. It’s creamy and rich on the palate with poached pear, baked apple, a touch of lemon zest, spicy oak accents, good texture and verve through the finish.

Featherstone Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ($18, Vintages April 18, 90 points) — 20% of the fruit was barrel fermented in neutral Canadian oak barrels. It has an inviting nose of grapefruit, gooseberries, herbs, guava, kiwi and subtle spice notes. It’s fresh and vibrant on the palate with grapefruit, kiwi, gooseberries, integrated herbs and spice and mouth-watering acidity on the finish.

The Reds

Featherstone Cabernet Franc 2018 ($20, Vintages now, 90 points) — Consistently good Cab Franc at an attractive price point, this classic Niagara variety excels in the hands of winemaker David Johnson. It has a big, juicy nose of red berries, plums, herbs and lovely integrated spice from aging in American barrels. The palate reveals darker fruits — such as cassis and anise — to go with brambly raspberries, wild herbs, light spice and a perky finish with racy acidity.

Featherstone Red Tail Merlot 2018 ($20, winery, 89 points) — Aged in French oak for 10 months and named after the majestic red-tail hawks that soar high over the Featherstone Vineyard, this is a fruity and delicious Merlot with a nose of cherries, raspberries, some herbs, plums and integrated oak spices. It’s smooth with polished tannins and ripe red berries, cassis, earth, spice and medium structure through a finessed finish. Can age 3-5 years but tasting fine right now.

The Rosé

Featherstone Rosé 2019 ($16, Vintages now, previously reviewed, 89 points) — The blend for this consistently delicious rosé is 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Cabernet Franc, 16% Gamay and the rest Merlot. It was kept on the lees for four weeks before bottling. The colour is a bright cherry red with an enticing nose of raspberries, herbs, cherries, red plums and a floral note. There’s just a hint of sweetness on the palate but nicely balanced by the mouth-watering acidity and shows bright red berries and subtle herbaceousness.