Toasting the Twenties with RQ 2020

By Shannon Burrows
Owner, Argyle Wines Listowel & On The Couch wine tasting parties
September 12, 2019

Hold onto your sequins, we’re about to take a step back in time.
After an amazing summer, welcome back to Second Glass – I’m glad you’re here!
There’s no time to waste: I’m getting things off to a ‘roaring’ (pun intended) start. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to the RJS Craft Winemaking Restricted Quantities 2020 lineup – Toasting the Twenties!
If you are unfamiliar with the RQ program, it’s a very exciting once-yearly release of top-shelf, limited-edition wines specially selected and crafted to be the creme de la creme. As both a consumer and store owner, I’ve had the delicious pleasure of trying four years’ worth of RQ releases now.
2020 is my favourite so far. I joined store owners from around Ontario in Mississauga this past weekend as we were invited to “Put On The Ritz” with RJS’ Toasting the Twenties lineup.
Seeing as next year is 2020, and RJS’ Restricted Quantities program will celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Roaring Twenties in all its splendour was an ideal choice of theme. Each grape variety was selected, designed and packaged with benchmark quality, sophistication and authentic 20s garb and slang in mind. Please note the only way to guarantee you get your hands on one of these beauties is to pre-order.

The Darb & The Caterpillar’s Kimono

Kick off the new year with The Darb Bonarda Syrah and The Caterpillar’s Kimono Macabeo, both to be released in January 2020.
The first appealing thing about the 2020 RQ lineup (aside from the cool names and the fact there’s two releases in the first month!) is it includes wines I’d never tried before. Bonarda is a very popular grape in Argentina, and is paired with the familiar Syrah (aka Shiraz in other wine-making regions) in this dry, medium-bodied red. It’s all our favourite things about red wine in one delicious bottle – juicy, fresh, red and dark berry fruits, spice, smoke and medium tannins.
Macabeo, a grape out of the ordinary for many of us in North America, is a traditional Spanish variety. This dry white wine has a lovely elegance to it. I suddenly felt more refined just by taking a single sip! I loved the layers this wine offers – florals, citrus, apple, stone fruit and honey in a golden hue – with bright acidity and refreshing flavour.

The Big Shot

February offers The Big Shot, a Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blend from Chile. This wine is just that – a big shot – with dark ruby tones and deep, robust flavour. I found this to be the most complex wine of the lineup, offering black currant, blackberry, herbs, tobacco and spice with noticeable but appealing tannin (which will mellow with age. If you prefer smoother tannins, I promise aging will be worth the wait). If you love a rich dry red, The Big Shot is absolutely not to be missed! I predict it will be one of the first to sell out.

The Cat’s Meow

March marks the arrival of my personal favourite of the bunch, The Cat’s Meow – a Pinot Noir and Shiraz blend from Australia. It’s no secret Pinot Noir is one of my life’s loves and interestingly, Pinot Noir is growing in popularity among the global wine-drinking population. The bouquet of The Cat’s Meow offers red and dark fruit – cherry, cranberry, strawberry and raspberry – vegetal notes and spice. It’s a juicy, ripe, savoury dry red wine boasting a lovely combination of Pinot Noir’s earthiness and Shiraz’s juiciness in a New World style. A note for my readers who appreciate a fine wine but struggle to find the ideal red: This is it. Argyle staffer/momma Brenda, who is rather persnickity (adjective: placing too much emphasis on trivial or minor details; fussy) about her reds – they can’t be too tannic, too oaky or too heavy – loved this one.
In fact, she was kind enough to finish my glass for me.
I only allowed it because she’s my mom. Well that, plus I was the one driving.

The Deb (Debutante)

Finally, in April and just in time for rose season, arrives The Deb.
Coming to us from Spain, this unoaked, dry, medium-bodied rose is a toast to elegance and good taste. Fragrant, crisp and refreshing, The Deb is a floral, fruit-forward wine with notes of berries and rhubarb and made from Spain’s world-famous Garnacha (aka Grenache) grape. Rose is becoming such a big deal for a few reasons: A. It’s awesome. B. People are beginning to realize it’s NOT necessarily just a cheap, pink drink, that in fact roses comprise some of the finest wines from the finest vineyards in the world, and C. It’s super versatile, partnering easily with a variety of foods or as a solo sipper.
This wine is going to be on a lot of people’s radars this upcoming spring. I anticipate a super early sellout, so please pre-order to make sure you aren’t disappointed.
This coming Monday, I’m visiting London to taste the limited-edition 2020 Passport lineup. Meet me right here at Second Glass next Thursday, Sept. 19 when we’ll talk about some more exciting limited-release wines available at Argyle Wines Listowel come the new year.
Don’t forget, I’m holding an end-of-summer customer appreciation draw on Sept. 23 to make summer’s departure a little sweeter for one lucky Argyle client. Make any purchase at Argyle by then to be automatically entered!

Thanks for joining me for a Second Glass.
See you next week!

Argyle Wines Listowel is located at 155 Argyle Ave. in Listowel. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. After hours available by appointment. Follow Argyle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and contact us at 519-418-6000 or argylewineslistowel@gmail.com. Proudly named 2018 Food & Drink Business of the Year by the North Perth Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards.