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: Grenache - France
DECEMBER 2017 ~ GRENACHE - RHONE VALLEY, FRANCE
THE WINE This French varietal has a distinctive combination of fruit and spice in the aroma making for a lively wine. The medium bodied red boasts flavours of red fruit, with hints of anise and tobacco. Fine tannins leave the palate balanced on the finish.
THE REGION The Rhone Valley begins in the Alps and continues for more than 500 miles along the Rhone River ending at the Mediterranean Sea. Southern Rhone has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers, mild winters and less rainfall than its northern counterpart. Vineyards line both sides of the river and the Mistral wind from the north blows away moisture, brings beautiful sunshine, and cools the landscape in the summers, which is perfect for ripening grapes.
THE FOOD Grenache is a brilliant wine to match with many types of cuisine. Try with grilled, stewed and braised game meats as well as hearty stews. A roasted lamb shoulder with rosemary would be a wonderful pairing.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Viognier Roussane Marsanne - France
JANUARY 2018 ~ VIOGNIER ROUSSANNE MARSANNE - NORTHERN RHONE & SAVOIE, FRANCE
THE WINE This enchanting white Rhone blend marries three varietals,Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne into one tantalizing off-dry wine. Peach, pear and honeysuckle in the bouquet make way for hints of spice, pear, tangerine and fresh rose petal on the palate. Crisp and balanced, the finish allows one to fully enjoy the floral and fruit flavours.
THE REGION Northern Rhone, a smaller part of the larger Rhone Valley region, spans just 40 miles long. To the west, you find Savoie in an alpine location, bordering Switzerland. Both regions host vineyards planted on steep mountains and hillsides, as much as 820 to 1804 feet in elevation. Northern Rhone’s climate varies with warm summers, cold winters and more precipitation than its southern sister. Savoie, despite its location, has a warm microclimate - southern/southeastern sun and close bodies of water help to regulate the cold and provide great fruit growing conditions.
THE FOOD The combination of varietals in this wine makes it quite versatile. Sip it alongside tuna sashimi and California rolls as well as grilled or baked haddock fillets. Grilled pork, veal and chicken are also natural matches.
THE WINE Aglianico ("ah-YAH-nee-koe"), a full-bodied Italian varietal, adds personality to classic Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in a bold crimson blend. With rustic earthy flavours including spicy pepper, leather and tobacco to ripe plum and black fruits, this blend’s fine tannins provide a pleasing and not too astringent finish. The fruit and earth are in harmony creating a beautifully balanced red wine.
THE REGION Campania, in the southwest Italian peninsula, has volcanic soil, a harsh climate and high altitude. These conditions are ideal for Aglianico grapes, which gain an incredible flavour from stress on the growing vines. The geography of Tuscany is made up of hills and is perhaps the best known wine region in Italy. The range of climate zones from Mediterranean to Continental creates excellent growing conditions for an assortment of fine grapes that line the hillsides. The Alps offer shelter to the vineyards in Veneto, shielding the grapes from potentially harsh conditions that exist north of the mountains.
THE FOOD Pair this blend with intensely flavoured foods. Grilled red meats are a delicious match, as are braised game meats. Roasted mushrooms are a wonderful accompaniment with their earthy flavour. For cheese, sample with Pecorino.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Two Roads Red - California
MARCH 2018 ~ TWO ROADS RED - DRY CREEK VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
THE WINE A real powerhouse, this blend has a bold taste and tannic backbone. The addition of Petit Syrah softens the jammy notes that are characteristic of Zinfandel and the Cabernet Sauvignon lends texture. Dark ripe berry aromas blend with smoke and spice elements that lead into flavours of black cherry, vanilla, and black pepper with a lasting finish.
THE REGION Just south of Sonoma County, with only two roads and over 60 wineries boasting 9,000 acres of vineyards, you will find the rich soils of Dry Creek Valley. The region experiences warm days as the mountains block strong ocean gusts from reaching the vineyards planted throughout the hills. Fog from Sonoma often rolls into the valley in the afternoon, bringing a gentle cooling effect that continues into the evening. This fog slows the ripening process allowing the grapes to develop balanced acidity while still benefiting from the California sun.
THE FOOD The tannins in this wine pair well with richer, more fatty foods – think barbequed meats like densely marbled marinated steaks or braised short ribs. A creamy mushroom stroganoff would also be a beautiful match. When pairing with cheese, consider bold flavours like Parmesan, Peau Rouge and Aged Cheddars.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Petit Ruby Cabernet
JANUARY 2018 ~ PETIT RUBY CABERNET, RIVERLAND - AUSTRALIA
THE WINE In the Lower Murray oasis of south Australia you will find the Riverland. Spanning across Victoria and New South Wales, and basking in the continental climate, bountiful vineyards ripen during the sunny dry days of the season, while the Murray River winds through this uno cial “super zone” providing much needed irrigation.
A true gem, PETIT RUBY CABERNET is a blend of Petit Verdot and Ruby Cabernet. The Ruby Cabernet takes the best qualities of its parents, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan, creating a structured, robust wine with soft tannins, while the Petit Verdot brings intriguing flavours of dark berries and vanilla. Elegant fruit flavours of currant, juicy plum and dark berries complemented by notes of spicy ground black pepper with hints of herb and vanilla.
THE FOOD This medium-full bodied wine is a delight to enjoy with grilled meats. Try it with succulent rib eye steak for a wonderful weekend treat, or barbecue burgers for an equally delicious pairing. Having an Italian night and want to switch up the wine? PETIT RUBY CABERNET is delicious with classics like meat lover’s pizza and spaghetti Bolognese.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Chardonnay Chenin Blanc
JANUARY 2018 ~ CHARDONNAY CHENIN BLANC, RAWSONVILLE - SOUTH AFRICA
THE WINE Permeating the white wine world, CHARDONNAY is refreshing to layer with lesser known varietals like CHENIN BLANC, South Africa’s signature white. Grapes from the Rawsonville region, a small picturesque wine growing and farming community on the eastern flanks of the Du Toitskloof Mountains in the Western Cape province, make up this blend. The Mediterranean climate brings cool rainy winters and warm dry summers to the vineyards creating a fruit driven white wine with a high but pleasant natural acidity. The thin-skinned grapes soak in rays of sunshine to ripen and are carefully picked at just the right time to leave a crisp and bright juice.
Carrying distinct cultivar characteristics, tropical fruit aromas marry with baked apple citrus zest and juicy peach. On the palate, the buttery complexity of CHARDONNAY is complemented by CHENIN BLANC’S tart acidity to make a beautifully balanced wine. Delicious to sip on its own or to enjoy with food, this is a crowd-pleasing and unique addition to any cellar.
THE FOOD Enjoy with a variety of seafood dishes like grilled shellfish or salmon fish cakes. If feeling decadent, try chicken poached in a butter sauce, as the wine’s bright acidity and fruity character will complement the richness of the sauce wonderfully.
THE WINE Hawke’s Bay is the oldest wine producing region in New Zealand. The diverse volcanic earth varies between gravel, sand and clay o ering an ideal environment for the vineyards flooding the hillsides and banks along the five rivers winding through the landscape. Hawke’s Bay’s beautiful climate o ers lots of sunshine and pleasant conditions year-round. The result is a region that produces some of the finest wines in the country and MERLOT contributes to this well-earned reputation.
This popular and enduring varietal produces a soft yet rich and fruity juice that is pleasing to the palate. The MERLOT grapes thrive in a long growing season, with flavours concentrating as the fruit develops.
Ripe fruit with spice and soft tannins take precedence in this MERLOT. The lingering finish brings dark oaky spice, as well as hints of mocha and licorice.
THE FOOD Treat yourself and enjoy with slow-cooked beef and lamb dishes or a gorgeous Ossobuco. Roasted, slightly caramelized tomatoes on crostini drizzled with balsamic reduction is a simple starter that is impeccable with this wine. Looking for a cheese to pair? Try Gouda or smoked cheddar.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Milagro Blanco
MARCH 2018 ~ MILAGRO BLANCO, LA MANCHA - SPAIN
THE WINE Muscat, Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc are wonderful on their own but sing when blended together. Muscat is fruity and crisp, Verdejo has mineral and citrus notes, and Sauvignon Blanc is herbaceous with pleasing acidity. When married, their unique elements create an o -dry, soft, refreshing, fruit-forward wine with a bright bouquet and a complex finish. MILAGRO BLANCO carries notes of passion fruit and white flower on the nose, and is supported by juicy melon, peach, fresh lime and grass with a hint of honey on the palate.
La Mancha is steeped in history and is believed to have been producing wine since the Roman empire. A challenging place to grow grapes, the region is found in hot and dry central Spain, south east of Madrid where the rivers provide much needed water. Hard working vines planted in water-absorbing limestone and chalk sub-soil produce grapes that boast concentrated flavours that burst on the palate.
THE FOOD The fruity and floral character of this white wine pairs exquisitely with moderately spiced Szechuan, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Lighter meats like chicken and white fish with green salad dressed in light vinaigrette are natural matches for a fresh, tantalizing meal.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Negroamaro
APRIL 2018 ~ NEGROAMARO, APULIA - ITALY
THE WINE Bellissimo Italia...delightful wine, delicious food and stunning sun-soaked landscapes. Apulia (or Puglia in native Italian) exemplifies all of these things and more. Explore Apulia, the heel of Italy’s boot and follow one of the longest coastlines of any wine region in the country. The Mediterranean Sea graces the region’s vineyards with cooling winds maintaining ideal temperatures for growing. Sunny, warm and dry with some of the most fertile soil in Italy, the area o ers the perfect environment for ripening grapes as well as olive trees and wheat fields that coexist with vineyards in this agricultural centre.
NEGROAMARO is richly jewel-hued, full bodied and a classic varietal in Apulia. Mild hints of wood and spice on the nose play with fruity notes for a complex aroma. On the palate, ripe berry is complemented by ground baking spice and silky tannins with a long finish. NEGROAMARO is hearty, versatile and evokes feelings of the beauty of its home.
THE FOOD This wine couples well with many cuisines, but Italian, of course, is a flawless pairing. Choose an antipasto with spicy elements like salami or pepper marinated vegetables like eggplant. A simple but delicious peperonata can be enjoyed with crusty bread or as a side to roasted and grilled meat.
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.
Nocturnal - A Limited Release - here for a short time only
THE WINE: Nocturnal is a classic blend with an unusual moonlit twist. The grapes were plucked from the vines in the cool of the night when sugar levels are more stable and acid levels are better. This results in a wine with richer flavour and aromatics. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault deliver complex spicy aromas with fruity plum and black raspberry on the palate, balanced with earthy woodsmoke. The full body and lush tannins make the finish just long enough to savour all the nuances in this gorgeous wine. A limited quantity of juice was secured, don’t miss out on this exceptional limited release.
THE REGION: Languedoc France
FOOD PAIRING: Try gourmet burgers to complement the smoky flavours in the wine or serve with a Cassoulet to match the Nocturnal’s southern France origins. A well-marbled cut of red meat makes for a more upscale pairing, but don’t forget the candlelight.
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.