First stop, a local business organization I'd cut a video for. We had some technical difficulties so I'd have to return later the afternoon with another file. Next meeting, lunch with a florist friend. I gobbled down a super mandarin chicken salad – three steaming cups of coffee – and , well, nature called. As luck would have it, my pyjama bottoms' string had caught in my zipper and I couldn't for the life of me pull my pants down. So, I'm thinking to myself – It's minus twenty plus degrees in the sun, I've gotta GO and I CAN'T – am I having fun yet? That's when I remembered – I really needed wine. I'd already told my followers on Facebook that I was doing this and I had to get it done.
I hurried into the liquor store near the restaurant, scooted over to the Ontario Wines display, looked over Gretzky and Aykroyd (meh), and said to myself, "Muskoka-ka-ka-ka." That's right. My back teeth were floating AND chattering now. No sign of Muskoka Lakes Winery's wine, not a one. I asked a woman stocking shelves if I'd missed the Muskoka boat - did they still have any of this wine in stock?
TRIPPER TIP: You will likely not find this wine in the Ontario Wines section at the LCBO. They've stuck this wine in the fortified wines area because it's made out of cranberries and blueberries (fortified wines tend to be sweeter and have a higher alcohol content than wine wines do, apparently). So, if you know where to find the other fruity wines – the strawberries and the peaches and the raspberries and other fruity good stuff – you'll find Muskoka Lakes Winery's wines there (if they still have any in stock*). And, if you can't find it? Don't be shy – ask. (Or you can find it on their website.)
I stood there looking at the display and I knew I wanted to sample either the Cranberry Wine or the Cranberry Blueberry (Muskoka Lakes Winery produces others as well, but I'd already settled on either one of these). I'm not really a big fan of blueberries, but I still asked some ladies hovering around the aisles if they'd recommend one bottle over the other. Three women assured me I'd prefer the Cranberry Blueberry over the straight Cranberry. They recommended the Cranberry for a turkey dinner, but steered me towards the Cranberry Blueberry because we all agreed we'd all been turkeyied out, 'tis no longer the season, fa-la-la-la-blah, and they assured me I would NOT be disappointed. I believed them. They looked like pros. And, odds were that unlike mine, the determined look in their eyes had nothing to do with having their pyjama bottoms' strings caught in their zippers. These ladies knew their wines.
Keeping in mind I'm buying TWO bottles of these wines (one for me and one for YOU if you're lucky), price point is very important to me. The Cranberry was priced at $14.95 a bottle and the Cranberry Blueberry ran two bucks more each per bottle. And, well, I really had to pee. I made an executive decision, grabbed TWO bottles of the Cranberry Blueberry wine (they were closest to the cash!) and I made a run for it. Air Miles carded and having shoved my debit, I headed for my car. I made it home in the nick of time to cut myself out of my jeans. Winter 1, Heather 0.
As fate would have it, the office I was visiting is also undergoing a bit of a transformation. So, I figured, why not ring in the New Year and celebrate this expansion with a bottle of wine – so I don't have to sample it by myself? And really, I wanted some opinions from people who truly know this wine stuff. These ladies know what they're doing. They talked about wine stuff I'd never even heard of ("Is this a three? Is this a five? Let me see the back of the bottle – what's in this stuff???").
Okay. Muskoka Lakes Winery – please forgive me. I don't know wine-speak or numbers or ratings and such, but I can tell you this. I am NOT a fan of blueberries so I would have probably avoided this wine if I hadn't been steered in this direction by your fans. WHY they hang out at the liquor store and dream about you at that hour of the day is beyond me, but THEY LOVE YOU. You are George Clooney.
This wine had punch. It was punchy! Not like a sock you in the face with a boxing glove punch – more like great big burst of summer love. And then the cranberries hit you. Smooth summer punch – and a teeny tiny piece of tart. It's like a big belly laugh and then a giggle. I loved this wine. Loved it loved it loved it – and my friends did, too. We would all buy this wine – again, and again, and again.
Of the six women who sampled this wine today (including myself), and the one man (unfortunately, I didn't snap his pic), six gals RAVED about what a WONDERFUL find this wine was – but the fellow we were with would have rather swigged a beer. He thought the wine was okay, it was nice, but he wasn't really sure he'd go out of his way to buy a bottle. So... I'm giving you a 6 out of 7. I don't think this means anything on any sort of an official wine scale – but six out of seven of us LOVED this wine.
While we were sipping we also agreed, this wine would be delightful as a topping on an angel food cake with custard or whipped cream with berries. President's Choice has this mixed bag of frozen berries – you take a cup or two of these guys, nuke them or heat them up on a stove top, dump them on some angel food cake and top it off with this Blueberry Cranberry wine? We're talking summertime in the middle of the winter.
* Loved your wine, Muskoka Lakes Winery! I'm running BACK to the store tomorrow to stock up on your Blueberry Cranberry Wine BEFORE you're all sold out!
Cheers to you & Happy New Year – 1 bottle down, 51 to go. :^)