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Day Trippin 2017......Niagara Wine Region 




Well, it’s summer, and we’re off to the Niagara Region again on August 12, 2017 with a busload of wine enthusiasts to visit 4 wineries.  We like to visit the region at least once annually to keep up to date with what is happening in our industry on a local level.  What better way to enjoy wine tasting when the bus driver is your designated driver!  This year, we are visiting The Hare Wine Company, a newer enterprise that has just opened its beautiful Tuscan-style winery on Stone Road for a tour and tasting.  We are visiting the rustic Caroline Cellars for a tasting and lovely lunch, followed by a visit to Small Talk Winery for a wagon tour of the vineyard and wine and cider tastings.  We finish off at The Lakeview Wine Company/Diamond Estates back on Stone Road for a visit and tasting.  This unique facility is home to many Niagara wines, such as 20 Bees, East Dell, FRESH, Dan Aykroyd, Lakeview Cellars, Seasons by De Sousa, McMichael Collection and Tzafona Cellars.  Did we mention that there would be tastings?


We like to do these tours so that our customers can experience some of the challenges facing grape growers and wine makers as they describe how their year/seasons are going.  If you are not familiar with the Niagara Region as one of the most northerly successful grape producing areas in the world, it is due to the geophysical conditions that are specific to the area.  Wine making is not easy due to the huge number of variables that Mother Nature can throw at them.  The uniqueness of the Niagara Region with its many microclimates and growing conditions is always interesting.  With the (relatively) warm waters of Lake Ontario to the north, the predominately northwesterly winds, and the Niagara Escarpment to the south, the Niagara Peninsula is truly a study in these microclimates.  The convection effect caused by these conditions is what keeps the warmer air on the vines, and allows them to stay alive over our harsh winters.  It is also fun to meet the newest crop of summer helpers and guides at the wineries as they increase their portfolios and display their enthusiasm with winery-related summer jobs.  We get information first hand on how last year’s grapes and wines turned out (including the ice wine harvest), and how the growing season is going so far for this year.  Niagara College and Viticulture School is of course located in the area and summer employment for students is very competitive for them to stay in their home area and work in the field they are studying.


Not only do we sample some of the Niagara’s finest, it also allows for our customers to purchase some wines that are only available at the wineries and not at the local LCBO.  Sometimes there are “specials”, end of lines or other interesting offers that are only available locally.  We usually stop at a couple of roadside fruit stands to purchase some fresh-picked peaches, apples, plums, fresh vegetables and whatever else the Niagara grocery basket has available.  The tour takes a full day, and once we return to London, everyone is usually quite tired, but a great time was had by all.


Mastering the Art of Wine and Food Pairings

When it comes to food and wine pairings, there are those who carelessly match any dish with any libation and those who painstakingly try to balance the flavors of the food with the perfect wine. No matter where you land on the spectrum, there are some dishes that remain challenging (potluck, anyone?), so having knowledge of ways to properly pair wine with your food can truly intensify the enjoyment of eating. It doesn’t get much better than sea bass with Sauvignon Blanc, duck breast with Burgundy and a juicy steak with a classic Cabernet Sauvignon, so here are some pairing tips that promise to make your next dish sing:

How Food and Wine Pairings Work

Wine flavors are derived from specific components: sugar, acid, fruit, tannin and alcohol. Foods also have flavor components, such as fat, acid, salt, sugar and bitter. The most successful food and wine pairings feature complementary components, richness and textures. You can try for either a similar pairing or a contrasting one. For pasta in a rich cream sauce, for example, you could cut through the creamy fat with a crisp, dry, unoaked white wine. Or you could wrap the flavor of the wine around the richness of the sauce by choosing a big, ripe, soft Chardonnay or Roussanne/Marsanne blend. Of course you’ll need to brush up on white wine and red wine basics to understand the flavors of each grape. Armed with the knowledge of grape varieties, you can follow these food elements for a perfect match:

Six Elements of Food and Wine Pairing

There are a few elements that make both red wine and white wine pairings work, and they’re derived from characteristics of the food and how they mingle with those of the wine. These are: fat, acid, salt, sweetness, bitterness and texture.

1. Fat Element A lot of our favorite foods, both meat and dairy products, have high levels of fat. Wine doesn’t contain fat, so when matching a wine with fatty foods, remember that it has to balance that fat with acid, cut it with tannin, or match its richness with alcohol. This is why a prime cut of steak tastes so good with a Cabernet-based wine; the beef’s protein and fat softens up the wine’s mouth-drying tannins. This sets up the tongue for the wine’s fruit and berries and forest flavors to complement the smoky, meaty flavors of the steak.

2. Acid Element Acid is another key element in both food and wine. In wine, it adds nerve, freshness and lift. It can do the same with food, as when lemon is squeezed on a fresh piece of fish. When looking for a wine to go with an acidic dish, you should make sure that the perceived acidity of the wine is at least equal to that of the food, or the wine will taste bland and washed out. Salads are often a challenge for wine matching, but you can make it work if you moderate the acid in the dressing by cutting back on the lemon juice or vinegar. Try using some tangy, bitter greens and offset them with herbal flavors from Sauvignon Blanc or Sémillon.

3. Salt Element Salty foods seem to limit your wine choices. Salt can make an oaky Chardonnay taste weird, strip the fruit right out of a red wine and turn high alcohol wines bitter. But with a bit of imagination, you can conjure up some remarkable combinations of salty foods and sweet wines. Bleu cheese and Sauternes is another one of the world’s classic food and wine combos. Sparkling wines are a homerun with salty, fried foods. The carbonation and yeasty acids emulate beer and clean the salt from your palate, while adding more interesting textures and flavor nuances. Salt is also a principal flavor in briny seafood such as oysters. Acidic wines clean out the salt and balance the rich ocean flavors of the oyster.

4. Sweetness Element Sweet desserts and other sugary foods seem easy—just pull out a sweet wine—but beware. Here’s where a rule really needs to be observed. There are degrees of sweetness. Some recipes will have just a hint of sugar, such as a fruit sauce served over a pork loin. This light, fruity sweetness can be matched very well with rich white wines such as Chardonnay. Higher alcohol tends to give an impression of sweetness, and balances the sugar in the sauce. With desserts you must be certain that the wine tastes sweeter than the dessert; otherwise the dessert will strip the wine of its sweetness and render it bitter or tart. Though red wine and chocolate is a combination often promoted by the wine industry, you have to be very careful about it. Use a bitter, dark chocolate and a red wine with some sweetness, such as a late harvest Zinfandel, and it can be quite wonderful. But a sweet chocolate dessert and a dry red? Terrible!

5. Bitterness Element What about bitter flavors? In some cultures, bitter flavors are prized, but most of the time they are to be avoided. Anything more than just a hint is likely to be perceived as unpleasant. In wine, bitterness usually results from unripe grapes, or a failure to get the stems and pips (seeds) out of the fermenting tank, or mismanaged barrels. When bitterness in wine meets bitterness in food, it acts the opposite of

6. Texture Element As for matching textures, think light and heavy. Light foods are best with light wines; heavy foods with heavy wines. That’s the safest way to go about it. A more adventurous path is to experiment with contrast: matching light foods to heavy wines and vice versa. This will require more testing, to keep the tension dynamic and avoid having the lighter flavors over-shadowed by the heavy ones. For every rule of wine pairing there is, you will often find just as many dissenters. However, the most important rule of all is to trust your own palate and enjoy!


Wine Tasting and Seminar Summer 2015

During July, August and September we offered complimentary benchmark wine tastings and seminars to potential new customers and existing customers who wanted to bring a friend to introduce them to the Craft Winemaking process.

We tasted 2 white wines and 3 red wines with sample food pairings while Paul guided everyone through the proper way to look, swirl, smell and taste wines along with an overview of crafting your own wine and a back-of-the-shop production tour.

The events were well attended with over 75 participants and we are pleased to welcome many new customers to Luscious Wines. 


BEST OF LONDON 2015 P-A-R-T-Y May 29, 2015

Best of London 2015 P-A-R-T-Y!!!

Thanks to everyone who voted for us in the London Free Press “Best of London 2015” competition and because of you we were voted London’s Best Wine Store for the third time.  

We are very proud.

Over 140 friends and customers helped us celebrate on May 29th. Check out the photos.

Let’s do it again next year!!!




Restricted Quantities 2014/2015 Benchmark Wine Tasting Event

Our annual benchmark Restricted Quantities wine tasting event was held on October 23rd with over 80 Luscious customers and it was a great success. Check out the photos!!!

We are very pleased to present a cheque for $900.00 to Braz for a Cause from last year’s fund raising event

We have a very exciting program this year with some unique varietals! The first 2 will be released in December with the remaining 2 released in April 2015. These exceptional wine kits are only available through advance pre-order. If you are interested or for all the details please call the store....


South Africa Chenin Blanc Sauvignon Blanc – December release 

Light straw-coloured, with pleasing aromas of apple, cantaloupe, spice, and subtle vanilla aromas that lift effortlessly from the glass. Medium-bodied, the palate is dry with a rich mouth-feel and a lingering mineral and tropical fruit finish.


Chile Cabernet Merlot -December release

The full-bodied and smooth red wine opens with a well-defined bouquet of dried prunes, blackberry and raspberry. Characteristics of black fruit, herbaceous notes and slight hints of chocolate make this an easy drinking wine that offers well-rounded tannins and a velvety finish.


Spain Vino Blanco – April release

This light-bodied crisp wine opens with delicate floral and lemon notes on the nose. Bursting with white peach and citrus on the palate, the Vino Blanco has a crisp and refreshing finish that is typical of a well-balanced Spanish white wine.


Italy Aglianico – April release

Firm and intense, this dry red opens with flavours of tobacco, smoke, and rich dark fruit. Slightly earthy on the palate, notes of dark cherry, blackberry, and vanilla emerge over time. An easy-to-drink wine has subtle and soft oak characters.

Sharon accepting a $900.00 cheque from Luscious WInes on behalf of Braz for a Cause