Pour any of these wines for a blind taste test that will have your friends thinking they're drinking the real deal.
By: Carolyn Evans Hammond Published on Sat Mar 31, 2017 in The Toronto Star and on Star Touch, syndicated
Because fake poop on Persian rugs, saran-wrapped toilet bowls and sugar bowls of salt won’t amuse anyone over about the age of 12, it’s time to up your April Fool’s Day game. Here’s how. Pour any of these wines blind and see if the wine enthusiast in your life can name it. The twist? Every bottle resembles an iconic wine style — but isn’t.
Rosé Champagne Lookalike
13th Street Winery Cuvée Brut Rosé, NV, VQA Niagara Peninsula, ON (Vintages Essential 147504 $27.95 in store and online)
The gently-berry scented restraint and butter pastry elegance of this coy sparkling rosé from Ontario could fool any connoisseur into thinking it hails from Champagne, France. This dry bubbly is not only about half and half Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, much like most bonafide rosé Champagnes, it’s made by Jean-Pierre Colas—an esteemed French vigneron. Monsieur Colas was head winemaker of the renowned Chablis house, Domaine Laroche, for 10 years, so he’s no stranger to teasing subtlety and finesse out of cool climate grapes.
German Riesling Lookalike
2015 Vineland Estates Semi-Dry Riesling, VQA Niagara Peninsula, ON (LCBO 232033 $14.95 in stores and online)
Did you know that in the early 20th century, German Riesling fetched higher prices than top Bordeaux (which now of course commands stratospheric prices)? Prices have since dropped as German wines fell out of fashion, but the quality often remains quite high and fine German Riesling still makes seasoned wine lovers weak at the knees. But Ontario also makes very good Riesling not too dissimilar to its German counterpart. Pour this lime-sorbet scented lick of lusciousness for any wine enthusiast and see if they can guess what it is and where it’s from.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Lookalike
2015 Rustenberg Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa (Vintages 456020 $14.95 in stores only)
New Zealand stormed the world stage in the 80s with an explosive style of Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region that quickly became wildly popular. Today, that full-throttle flavour is still associated with that region. But occasionally, you’ll come across a bottle such as this wee gem that tastes quite similar. Such is the case with this great-value bottle with its bright peapod and kiwi fruit aromas that lead to a brisk attack of parsley, passion fruit, lemongrass and lime zest.
Napa Cabernet Lookalike
2014 14 Hands Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington (Vintages 70573 $18.95 in stores only)
Who doesn’t love a good Napa Cabernet Sauvignon? Honestly, with its plush, velvety fruit and layers of comehither complexity can be utterly magnetic. Which is why the prices for top drops from there are starting to soar. So it’s really fun to find a Napa Cab lookalike. Which is exactly what this is. Hailing from a similarly sun-drenched region and made by a reliable producer, this wine with succulent, cassis-rich middle nuanced with pipe tobacco, orange peel, vanilla and more, it could definitely pass for a Napa Cabernet that would sell for twice the price.
Northern Rhone Lookalike
2014 Nederburg The Winemaster’s Shiraz, Stellenbosch, South Africa (LCBO 527457 $12.95 in stores and online)
Most of us associate sub-$15 Shiraz with the sweetish choco-berry styles from Australia. But Shiraz is also a synonym for Syrah, the main grape variety of the Northern Rhone. And occasionally, a wine labeled Shiraz can taste like a Syrah from the Rhone. Such is the case here. Expect a dry, full-bodied hit of macerated berries, damson plums, black coffee, bitter chocolate, cigars and peppercorn with a long, lingering aftertaste. Definitely worth the money and a perfect pour for April Fool’s Day.