Wine Time with Aaron the Wine Guy

By Aaron Winsor

Hello Prince Albert! Everybody likes a good deal and this week I discovered two wines on offer for an incredible discount of 50% off! The full name of the brand is The Audacity of Thomas G. Bright but to keep things simple, I’ll refer to the brand as Audacity.

The Audacity wines can be found in a Merlot-Cabernet and a Chardonnay and as with most discount wines, I was slightly suspicious of the price point. My first two thoughts were, “What’s wrong with this wine?” and, “Why is it so inexpensive?”

The good news is that both the wines are quite tasty and the Chardonnay is especially worthwhile. Each wine has a slight quirk that makes them different from most other wines; the red is finished in whiskey barrels and the white is a Sussreserve. What do these terms mean? Let me explain.

What is a whiskey barrel finish? Simply put, after the red wine is fermented and matured, it spends a second maturation time in oak barrels which previously held whisky. Depending on the period of time spent maturing in these second barrels, the whiskey barrels impart flavors of vanilla, caramel and sometimes chocolate or pepper into the wine while also adding a luxurious mouthfeel.

Some whisky barrel wines are better than others as it depends on the original quality of the wine and also the quality of the whiskey barrel. The length of finishing time is also a contributing factor to the quality of the finished product. In the case of Audacity, it adds scents and flavors of vanilla and caramel with a finish of earthy chocolate.

Let’s look at the term Sussreserve. This is a simple method where the winery will add a small dose of fresh and young fruity wine to top up the bottle before final bottling. The winery will often do this to liven up the wine or add a youthful touch.

The sussreserve process can allow producers to cover up flaws in a wine or simply use it as a fruity addition but in the world of wine production it can sometimes be frowned upon as a practice since many winemakers believe that additions to the wine after fermentation take away from the natural character of the grapes and vineyard.

Despite my suspicions, both wines are worth a taste. I didn’t enjoy the red quite as much but the chocolate, earth and cherry flavors were intriguing. The sussreserve chardonnay however, surprised me with its soft and light flavors and buttery edge. I don’t feel like the red would be worth the original $32 asking price but the chardonnay would definitely be worth the high $20 price range in my eyes. You’ll have to be the judge for yourself! Take a chance on a $16 red or white and see what you think! Here are my wine picks of the week!

Audacity Merlot Cabernet 2019: (VQA Niagara Peninsula, Canada). Dry to off-dry red, medium ruby color. The nose opens with plums, raspberries, yeast, vanilla, caramel and chocolate cherry sauce. On the palate, this red is full of fruity flavors like cherries and plums, blackberries and currants while the finish carries the rich flavor of chocolatey earth, caramel and toast. Medium body and medium acidity. Hints of bread and yeast linger along with red grape skins. Pair this red with bistro-style foods: beef dip, sirloin tips, BBQ or cheddar. Good! $16, 14% ABV

Audacity Chardonnay 2018: (VQA Okanagan Valley, Canada). Dry to off-dry white, medium lemon color. This medium-intense white features a light nose of citrus fruit, butter, hints of baked bread and field flowers. This medium-plus bodied chard has a lovely soft and round character with delicate flavors of lemon citrus, pears, apples, vanilla and a soft trail of lingering spices on the finish. Medium acidity gives a lift while hints of melon, baked buttery bread and caramel apple mingle. A delicious chard that is great on it its own or with a spot of brie cheese. Very good! $16, 13% ABV  

Cheers and thanks for reading!