Passport, please! Take your tastebuds on a journey

By Shannon Burrows
Owner, Argyle Wines Listowel & On The Couch wine tasting parties
September 26, 2019

It’s time to start planning your next new wine excursion – that’s right, the 2020 Passport lineup is ready for order.
Passport, by Vineco, is the second (the first being RJS annual Restricted Quantities, as outlined my last Second Glass blog) line of top-shelf, limited- edition craft wines available at Argyle Wines annually at the beginning of each new year to the delight of my customers.
Passport takes us around the world to prominent wine growing regions with exciting, terroir-driven wines. I attended the retailers’ tasting event in London recently, and I cannot wait to get these wines on the shelf.

Union Red – December 2019
This wine will, without a doubt, be one to impress your guests and boost the calibre of your wine cellar.
Comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (three of the five varieties used to make Bordeaux), Union Red is a super-welcome addition to the Passport lineup because it’s a lovely Old World (European) style. Coming to us from Provence, France, this dry, medium-full bodied red blend is not quite as much fruit driven, the way we see more in New World (outside of Europe) wines. Instead, we get oak influences like tobacco and spice, minerality, then a dark berry finish. It offers up pleasantly drying tannins for structure and as such, will age like a gem.
This wine loves red meat – serve your prime rib, steak, lamb, beef pot pie (the fat in meat or pastry – even buttered rolls will do the trick – will not only smooth out tannins, but also temper the alcohol in this 13 per center) or hard cheeses. 

Union White – January 2020
My only problem with this wine is making sure I order enough.
As the only white offering in the 2020 Passport collection, I predict it will be the first to sell out.
Like the Union Red, this dry, medium-bodied white wine comes from Provence, France, as a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
This is a wine you can drink young as not to put off enjoying its fresh citrus (grapefruit and lemon), pear, gooseberry and herbaceous delights. The lip-smacking acidity of Sauvignon Blanc is rounded out to a delicious balance and richer mouthfeel, compliments of the Semillon.
This white will prove crucial to your table as we begin to think about warmer weather fare in the new year. Seafood (shellfish, oysters, mussels, white fish in a butter, caper and lemon sauce), salads with a vinegarette or lemon-parmesan dressing, goat cheese, and I feel chicken with lemon garnish or balsamic, would all prove excellent matches. Notice how lemon and/or citrus is a recurring theme; remember acidity loves acidity when it comes to pairing wine. If you’re a vegetarian, take note: This wine loves green vegetables and will prove veggie-friendly with an asparagus risotto and fresh green herbs.

Dos Grenache – February 2020
Old World meets New World in this duo – Dos from Spain and Grenache from Australia.
This is a blend of Grenache (or Garnacha, as known in Spain) is from Chiva, Valencia on Spain’s east coast, and Riverland in southern Australia.
Sticking your nose in the glass for a whiff of this full-bodied, dry red wine is like opening a jar of jam; flavours and aromas of red and dark fruit – strawberry, blackberry and cherry preside, then complimented by savoury herbs, vanilla and cinnamon. At 13 per cent, this wine is no shrinking violet and offers soft, drying tannins. It’s recommended this wine age for a minimum of three months (if you can wait that long!) but will contentedly improve for up to two years, offering smoother tannins and new and complex flavours with the passing of time.
I enjoyed this wine for not only its flavour and complexity, but also its versatility – it married beautifully with everything from chorizo sausage to cheese to dried figs to dark chocolate. The Dos Grenache, like the Union White, is also vegetarian friendly, brilliant with bean stew or stuffed peppers.

Carmenere Petit Verdot – March 2020
Buckle your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen.
This deep ruby, dry, full-bodied, 14 per cent contender is going to make its mark, and is not for the faint of palate. Both these varieties hail from the Curico Valley in Chile and offer that delectable fruit-driven, aromatic style of wine thanks to the valley which experiences hot days and humid, cool nights. You’ll find this wine serves up colour so deep it’s tricky to see your fingers through on the other side of the glass (a test of opacity) with long, leisurely legs and a viscosity that coats the glass. This wine has it all, folks – aside from a rich colour (not to mention alcohol content) it offers all the best stuff: Dark fruits like ripe black cherry, blackberry and fig, and oak influence expressing itself delectably in chocolate, caramel, tobacco, spice and smoke, then earthiness to boot (if earth tones elude you, this will be excellent practice) like tomato leaf and tea leaves.
This wine will prefer foods much like itself – rich and meaty. Beef brisket, filet mignon and barbecue lamb chops are the Passport recommended pairings, though we had great success also with the hard cheeses, stuffed peppers, and dark chocolate I mentioned above.  This wine can be drunk young if preferred, but will reach its full potential in up to two years.

Just remember – the only way to guarantee you get your hands on any of the special-release, limited-edition wines is to pre-order. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you would like any further information or tasting notes on any of these wines – I have tasted on your behalf, and am here to help! Place your pre-orders for either RJS Restricted Quantities or Vineco Passport by visiting Argyle Wines at 155 Argyle Avenue in Listowel, calling 519-418-6000 or emailing argylewineslistowel@gmail.com. I am excited to take the new year’s wine adventure with you!

passport 2020

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.