This is your ticket to a new world of wine. Tour different terroir, explore the exotic, and uncover the unique.
Every year Passport Series™ takes us to new countries - from highly touted up-and-coming regions to age-old vineyards with long histories of excellence. It is an adventure through some of the most prominent and well respected wine growing regions around the world.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Merlot Cabernet Franc - California
DECEMBER 2018 ~ MERLOT CABERNET FRANC - PASO ROBLES, CALIFORNIA
THE WINE This blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc offers a balanced soft rustic profile. Merlot stands as the fruit-forward backbone of the wine, while the aromatic Cabernet Franc rounds out the blend with soft spices and herbal notes. On the nose and palate, this wine offers plum, red and black berries and dark cherry fruit notes, with underlying woody smoke, herbal spice and soft tannins.
THE REGION Known for its Bordeaux style wines, Paso Robles dedicates over half their vines to Bordeaux varieties including Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Spanning over 614,000 acres it is California’s largest AVA. Paso Robles is unique as it holds three key factors to ripening grapes with refreshing acidity; diverse soil found in varying elevations, hot days and cooler nights, and varying rainfall levels combine to create the perfect environment for brilliantly defined wines.
THE FOOD The tannins in this blend open it up to a variety of food pairings. Enjoy with lightly herbed pork loin roast with fresh sage, thyme and rosemary or try a mushroom risotto, rosemary lamb or a variety of meat casseroles and pies.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: West Coast White
JANUARY 2019 ~ WEST COAST WHITE - LODI, CALIFORNIA | YAKIMA, WASHINGTON | WILLAMETTE, OREGON
THE WINE The perfect trio of Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris, create this off-dry, medium bodied white wine. Fresh aromas of orchard fruit and delicate honey rise from the glass, while the palate sings with lively pineapple, lemon and stone fruit flavours combined with hints of apple, pear and honey. The zesty acidity in this wine balances the slight sweetness perfectly.
THE REGION Just east of San Francisco Bay rests Lodi California. Basking in a Mediterranean climate, Chardonnay grapes grow plump during the warm days and cool nights, maintaining refreshing acidity. Pinot Gris from Oregon’s Willamette Valley are protected from over-ripening by the cool nights while the valley offers mild, warm and sunny days for the grapes. The most northern of the three, Yakima Valley in Washington, is home to the oldest agricultural region in the state. Here, Riesling, one of the state’s most widely planted varieties, benefits from limited rainfall in the growing season creating crisp, fruit forward wines.
THE FOOD Pair this blend with lighter meats and fresh vegetables, perhaps linguini and grilled vegetables with shrimp in a light cream sauce. Sushi and lightly spiced Asian dishes and cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, and Gruyère complement this wine beautifully.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Malbec Garnacha Syrah - Argentina/Spain
FEBRUARY 2019 ~ MALBEC GARNACHA SYRAH - MENDOZA, ARGENTINA | VALENCIA, SPAIN
THE WINE A marriage of Argentina and Spain brings you a full-bodied wine rich in aromas of dark berries with nuances of licorice and chocolate. Balanced and full with soft tannins, a palate of ripe black and blue berries are complemented with spice of black and white pepper, creating a finish that is long and pleasing.
THE REGION Mendoza, Argentina and Valencia, Spain share similar growing conditions; hot dry summer days that create the perfect environment for full ripening with cooler nights to provide a much needed break from the daytime heat. Both located at higher elevations, Mendoza is a high flat dessert like plain (2000-3600 ft.), and Valencia is a more mountainous region (400 - 3600 ft.). Both regions rely on man controlled irrigation because of the extreme dry climate and threat of drought. Mendoza utilizes the irrigation channels from the Andes Mountains snowmelt and Valencia’s vines are irrigated through drip irrigation systems.
THE FOOD This bold blend deserves a bold food pairing. Try a barbeque burger topped with smoky bacon and blue cheese. Other food ideas include beef empanadas, mushroom and bean stews and beef brisket.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Super Tuscan - Italy
MARCH 2019 ~ SUPER TUSCAN - TUSCANY, ITALY
THE WINE Super Tuscan, a term made popular in the 1980’s, is used to describe wines made in Chianti that did not follow the strict DOCG rules using varietals non-indigenous to the region. A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this full bodied Super Tuscan exhibits aromatic notes of oak, vanilla, leather and spice while the palate punches with bold black cherry and raspberry flavours. Firm but not aggressive tannins and a long lingering finish makes this wine a true show stopper.
THE REGION Tuscany Italy, where foodies and wine lovers bask in the beauty and bounty of the land. The growing season is by definition Mediterranean. Warm sunny days and cool nights benefit the grapes, contributing to the glowing reputation of Tuscany’s wines. While the land has challenged soil conditions, this benefits the region resulting in lower yields and higher quality wines loved by critics worldwide.
THE FOOD Pour this wine alongside signature Tuscan fare. Try a charcuterie board with prosciutto, salami, aged Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino cheeses with crusty Italian bread, or a traditional pasta dish with rich tomato herbed meat sauce. If looking for vegetarian options, vegetable pasta (mushroom and eggplant) drizzled in olive oil is a surprising match, as the olive oil will cut through the rich tannins and compliment the wine nicely.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Black Cab - California
JANUARY 2019 ~ BLACK CAB, LODI, CALIFORNIA
THE WINE Black Cab is an intriguing blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Gamay Noir. Gamay is a light-bodied red wine revered for its floral aromas and earthiness, with tart red berry and lively acidity. Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red loaded with black fruits, cherry, black pepper and hints of earth. This balanced blend marries the best of both varietals into an energetic medium-bodied beauty. Ripe and round with vibrant acidity and silky-smooth tannins, expect pronounced cherry and juicy red berry flavours rounded out with notes of cassis, spice, subtle earthy undertones and soft vanilla.
THE REGION Grapes have long been a part of the Lodi landscape, where bountiful wild vines used to grow along riverbanks. From the first planted vines in the mid-1800s, the region has flourished into a world-class producer, with most of the land dedicated to red wine grape varieties. Lodi’s grapes benefit from a Mediterranean climate of warm days and cool nights, and a dry growing season which allows growers to precisely manage vine growth through irrigation. Two mountain-fed rivers run through the region bringing rich granite-based minerals to the soil which lend complex flavours to the grapes.
THE FOOD Pair with grilled red meats, pizza, black peppercorn tuna, black bean stews or roasted pepper dishes.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Fumé Blanc - New Zealand
JANUARY 2019 ~ FUMÉ BLANC, HAWKE'S BAY, NEW ZEALAND
THE WINE Don’t let the name fool you – though ‘Fumé’ means ‘smoke’, don’t expect a smoky white wine. Coined in the 1960s to denote a new and different style of dry, oaked Sauvignon Blanc, the name is derived from Pouilly-Fumé, a popular French appellation that specializes in a similar style wine. Made with lush New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, this mouth-filling wine delivers a rush of ripe tropical fruit on the palate, with complex layers of gooseberry and melon, bright acidity and hints of grassy mineral notes expertly harmonized with a gentle creamy vanilla oak.
THE REGION The sun loves this little bay on the Pacific coast. Hot dry winds, low rainfall and an annual average of 2,220 hours of sunshine make Hawke’s Bay one of the warmest, driest areas of the island. Several major rivers running through the region have changed course over the millennia, resulting in a diverse collection of soil types, making it very versatile for viticulture. With these ideal fruit-growing conditions, it’s no wonder this is the oldest and one of the most celebrated wine regions in New Zealand.
THE FOOD Pair with goat cheese, seafood platters and chicken or pasta dishes with creamy sauce and spring vegetables.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Corazón - Chili
FEBRUARY 2019 ~ CORAZÓN, CURICÓ VALLEY, CHILE
THE WINE This wine is a charismatic blend of Carménère, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Pais. Carménère, the signature Chilean grape, delivers jammy raspberry and herbal spice. Cab Franc brings bold cherry, juicy berry and acidity, while Syrah lends intense black fruit flavours and tannin. Pais, widely planted in Chile for centuries but little-known elsewhere, rounds out the blend with rustic red fruit and crisp acidity. This juicy blend is full of expressive black and red berries, surrounded by cherry and tart plum notes in harmony with underlying oak, bright acidity and smooth polished tannins.
THE REGION Corazón, Spanish for ‘heart’, comes from theCuricó Valley located in the heart of Chile. Nestled in between the Andes and Coastal Range mountains, the valley’s vineyards reap many benefits from these towering neighbours. Meltwater rivers provide irrigation during dry summer months and deposit rich minerals in the soil, and hot sunny days are balanced by cool air drifting down from the snow-covered peaks of the Andes at night; these daily temperature swings cause the grapes to ripen slowly, allowing for optimal flavour, tannin and colour development.
THE FOOD Pair with rosemary lamb chops,beef skewers, Portobello mushroom burgers and aged cheddar.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Symphony Gewürztraminer - California
MARCH 2019 ~ SYMPHONY GEWÜRZTRAMINER, SIERRA FOOTHILLS, CALIFORNIA
THE WINE Symphony is one of California’s hidden gems bringing peach, apple and tropical fruit flavours, it is a natural and perfect complement to Gewürztraminer’s characteristic lychee notes. An aromatic blend with floral and juicy peach aromas, this off-dry wine deliciously combines lush tropical and stone fruit flavours. Crisp and bright with expressive fruit and subtle sweetness, this wine really sings when chilled.
THE REGION The Sierra Foothills were the center of the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s. European immigrants flocked here seeking their fortunes and planted the area’s first vineyards as they settled into life in the Wild West. Rustic and remote compared to the state’s other regions – Gold Rush ghost towns still dot the countryside – growers take full advantage of the varied terrain of the foothills, utilizing the slopes to maximize sun exposure. The shallow soil is mainly decomposed granite, shale or volcanic matter; not particularly fertile ground, nor does it retain much moisture in a region where water can be scarce. These harsh-sounding conditions are actually good news for grapes as the vines yield less fruit, resulting in more concentrated flavours.
THE FOOD A beauty to sip on its own, or a perfect companion to spicy Asian dishes, zesty barbecue or baked ham.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Barbaresco - Italy
APRIL 2019 ~ BARBARESCO STYLE, PIEDMONT, ITALY
THE WINE Widely regarded as one of Italy’s top wines, the Barbaresco style is undeniably delicious. Made with Nebbiolo, Piedmont’s most respected and most loved red wine grape, this wine exudes intense aromas of juicy cherry combined with toasty oak and spice. The sumptuous palate seduces with cherry and ripe red berries, licorice, baking spice, leather and earthy notes. It boasts balance and structure with firm velvety tannins, a full body and a beautiful long-lasting finish.
THE REGION Piedmont boasts a rich cultural and winemaking history going back to the Middle Ages and is home to Italy’s most revered red wines. Located at the foot of the Alps, the region’s hilly landscape is lush with valleys full of vines, with many sunny slopes reserved for the prized Nebbiolo grape. The continental climate sees long, hot summers but thick morning fogs commonly roll through the valleys bringing cooler air. This rhythm of rising and falling temperatures slows the ripening of the Nebbiolo grapes, resulting in aromatic wines high in acid, alcohol and tannin – prized attributes of the Barbaresco wine style.
THE FOOD Pair with grilled or braised meat, mushroom risotto, Ragu Bolognese and mature cheeses.
Pink Pinot Grigio This Pinot Grigio is tickled pink with light floral and tropical fruit aromas and notes of juicy strawberry and rhubarb. Off-dry and crisp, this fresh rosé is ready for summer-sipping.
Available August 1st, while supplies last - from Washington state
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Viognier White
Viognier White - A Limited Release - here for a short time only Layers of vibrant fruit character. Off dry (< 1), medium bodied, boasting tropical citrus and green apple notes with a refreshing crisp finish. A blend of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Viognier Red
Viognier Red - A Limited Release - here for a short time only Aromas of dark fruit are complimented by spice with hints of vanilla. This medium-full bodied red holds velvety tannins with a lush vibrant finish. A blend of Merlot, Syrah and Viognier.
This year's Cheeky Monkey limited releases are inspired by classic French wine styles. Enchanté Red and Déjà Vu White are New World wines made in the Bordeaux style. Enjoy this Cheeky twist on old favourites!
Available AUG. 2nd, while supplies last.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Déjà Vu White
Déjà Vu White - Australia Sauvignon Blanc/California Semillion
This Bordeaux-style blanc may give you a little déjà vu, but our New World twist will have you saying ‘ooh la la’. Lemon, lime, and subtle grapefruit aromas lead in to the true pièce de résistance – a dry, crisp palate with fresh citrus and melon flavours, rounded out with soft oak and gentle vanilla notes. Voila! C’est magnfique!
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Enchanté Red
Enchanté Red - California Cabernet Sauvignon/Cab Franc/Merlot
This vibrant blend has a certain je ne sais quoi that is sure to leave you charmed. Cherry and currant aromas rendezvous with notes of oak; rich avant-garde flavours of cherry, currant, and plum are accented by oak and a soft tannin finish. Enchanté, indeed.