Ontario wines have a bad wrap.
To be perfectly honest, I generally stay away from them because everybody else does. However I haven’t tasted an Ontario wine I didn’t like. Yet I don’t buy them. It’s just not the in-thing to do. I know we have award-winning wineries and a vast selection of Ontario wines. But I just can’t do it.
I sashay into the LCBO and head for the France, Italy, or Australia sections and browse away. I put my hard-earned Canadian dollars into the hands of foreign wineries and call it a day. Well…technically I do contribute to the province of Ontario as the provincial government monopolizes liquor and wine sales and we pay atrocious taxes on wines.
Which is also why I was forced to buy Ontario wine last week. Forced? Yup forced. As I mentioned above, the Ontario government monopolizes the alcohol market and is the only store allowed to sell hard alcohol in Ontario. How I wish I could pick up a bottle of wine at Walmart. Or a case of beer at the corner store. Or a case of wine at Costco. Such is life in Ontario. However, there is one teeny tiny loophole. It’s called the Wine Rack. It’s found in some grocery stores. And the Wine Rack sells wine! But only Ontario wine.
I never intentionally go to the Wine Rack. But it’s so convenient to pick up a few bottles of wine while I’m grocery shopping, as it’s one less stop to make. Especially when my shopping companion is an adorable 8-month old baby. Strapping him in and out of the car seat as I run errands is just a pain in the butt. And this is why I consider myself forced to purchase Ontario wines. It’s either buy Ontario wine, or don’t buy wine.
With a cart full of groceries and a near-empty wallet, I entered the Wine Rack looking for a nice white wine. I have no idea why I’ve been on such a white wine kick lately, but I just can’t get enough of the crisp, cold, tart beverage.
When it comes to white wine, I’m not that picky. Just keep the Chardonnay away from me. The friendly sales lady was enchanted with my little monkey sitting like a big boy in the grocery cart, so I was on my own to select a bottle. I prefer to stick around the $10 point for white wine. Not because I’m cheap, but because I can’t appreciate an expensive white wine. I can’t tell the difference and I truly like all the whites I select.
So when I saw a sign that said “2 for $20” I grabbed the only Pinot I saw. And a Cab-Sauvignon. Gotta take advantage of the sale. I purchased Antolini Mazia Pino Grigio, which is a blend of Italian and Ontario grapes.
Only wines made from 100% Ontario grapes can qualify for classification as VQA – the Vintners Quality Alliance which is Ontario’s wine appellation (basically the wine police). While my wine wasn’t considered Ontario-enough to be a VQA, it was considered to have enough Ontario DNA to be sold at the Wine Rack. And due to my unfounded-snobbery regarding Ontario wines, the Italian mix suited me just fine.
Antolini Mazia Pino Grigio
White wine tasting isn’t too exciting for me. The components I notice are:
This pinot grigio was a 9/10. Light colour, crisp, tart, un-fruity, and light aftertaste. The only reason I didn’t give it at 10/10 is because there was nothing special about it. It was an average wine that I would absolutely buy again, but isn’t one that I’d call up my friend and tell her she MUST try.
Unfortunately, like other Ontario hybrid wines I’ve reviewed, the main reason I wouldn’t rush back to buy this is simply because of the ridiculous Ontario stigma that I must get over. I have actually bought this since reviewing it…only because the husband was at Longo’s buying cat litter and we were expecting company and I needed a white wine…so I asked him to pick up any chilled white wine from the Wine Rack inside Longo’s. And that’s why I will buy this again – it’s just too convenient.