A Wine Lover’s Weekly Review Of $10 Wine – A Canadian Riesling-Vidal Blend

One of the things that I promised when I started this great column destined to counter the effects of the collapsed economy in late 2008 was not to do blends. I also am no fan of hybrid grapes. So? I suppose that by now you know all about Riesling. Vidal, on the other hand, is a relatively little known hybrid produced from the French white Ugni Blanc and the virtually unknown hybrid, Rayon d’Or. Ugni Blanc is also called Trebbiano Toscano, an excellent combatant against prejudice. No, just because it comes from Tuscany it’s not great. Andres Wine was founded in 1961 in Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada in 1961 by Andre Peller who moved to Canada from Hungary in 1961. Their website features Heidi the winemaker who dislikes excessive oak, so I immediately felt a bonding. Back to Vidal, it makes some really fine Ice Wines. The companion wine is a prize-winning Australian Riesling at twice the price of today’s blend.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
XoXo Riesling Vidal no vintage 11.5 % alcohol $10.

In the absence of marketing materials let’s start by quoting the back label. “Riesling and Vidal grapes gracefully unite displaying notes of crisp green apple, citrus and pear, with a hint of floral. This light. lively white is a perfect match for pork, salads, Thai cuisine and other spicy dishes.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine offered rather pleasant acidity and sweetness. I got lime. The initial meal centered on a commercial, garlicky dry barbecued chicken breast. In response the libation’s sugar increased. I thought I was tasting candy but something was dark. The accompanying pickle-laced potato salad increased the lime while decreasing the sweetness in my glass. Another side dish was a Turkish salad (at least that’s what the label said) made from onions, tomato paste, red peppers, vegetable oil, garlic, and sugar. Now our Canadian friend displayed no sweetness; the wine was light and almost subtle. This not so delicious meal terminated with a square or two of Swiss bittersweet chocolate. The liquid disappeared except for fleeting acidity.

The second meal centered on a baked salmon filet marinated in agave and then coated with sesame seeds. In response whitey was sweet with a touch of caramel and pleasant acidity. Steamed red and white quinoa mellowed the libation’s acidity. A mixed salad imparted a very impressive length and a burnt taste to my glass’s contents. Delicious homemade (isn’t it almost always better than the store-bought stuff?) roasted eggplant in garlic and oil made this drink round and smoky. The meal concluded with Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey Banana Ice Cream with Fudge Chunks and Walnuts (one of my favorites.) I got only acidity out of the liquid. Really, ice cream and wine are not a marriage made in heaven.

The final meal’s focus was an omelet perked up with red cayenne pepper, basil leaves, and sliced garlic. The rotted grapes were short, sweet, and pleasantly acidic. Japanese rice crackers, no Wasabi means virtually tasteless, rendered the liquid round and sweetened it, but the outcome was by no means out of bounds. A zesty guacamole made the wine subtle and flowery. And the liquid was pleasantly sweet and long when paired with fresh strawberries. Dark chocolate made it long with perky acidity but took away its fruit.

Final verdict. I probably won’t be buying this wine again. But it came close; close enough to warrant tasting other duos from this winemaker.

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines and a whole lot more. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com.

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