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Going Natural Wine Club - September 2021

Posted on September 13, 2021

by Abigail

Blog Post # 4 – Low Intervention Convention 

Keltis Zan White and Venturini Montelocco Lambrusco 

Welcome to the month of September!!! 

The days are getting shorter and the evenings are getting colder. The hands of autumn are slowly taken hold. The leaves are starting to change colour, the autumn fashion is starting to appear and we are all getting our jackets ready for our morning commutes.  

This is the time of year we typically see those light, refreshing summer wines slowly disappear from the shelves, and we start to welcome those more flavourful, complex styles into our inventory. This month of Going Natural is no different. We selected two of the newest wines to market that showcase some of the best styles to drink during the changing seasons.  

First up is Keltis Zan White.  

This is going to be a fun one. This small little production is coming from the region of Bizeljsko, Slovenia. 

Now, Slovenia isn’t necessarily the first wine country that pops to mind, but it is very important for Eastern Europe. The area of Slovenia, previously Yugoslavia, has been producing wine for thousands of years, and was one of the richest viticultural areas during Roman times., we never really hear about it. Why do you ask? Well, it all has to do with the USSR. Once Yugoslavia and the other Eastern European countries fell to the communist regime, wine became stagnate.  The wine was produced within communal wineries, where all the grapes from multiple vineyards were placed into the same vat to produce the same, communal wine. There was no single-vineyard production, or even single estate bottlings; just the same communal wine. 

Yet, the powerhouse of Yugoslavia was producing a ridiculous amount. In the 1970s, Yugoslavia was one of the top ten wine-producing countries...IN THE WORLD. All of this wine was being supplied to the USSR, with very little reaching the outside world. (There was one production of Riesling that made its way to western Europe, but that was just a drop in the ocean of wine produced in the country).  outside the communist states really knew about the wine potential of Eastern Europe. So, when the Iron Curtain fell in 1991, it was as if these small countries had to start over and get their names out there to the wine world.  

Alas, these wines are here to stay. Not only do they offer unique grapes and approaches, but they also offer such value! 

Bizeljsko is a small sub-region located in South-East Slovenia, which is made up of a narrow strip of land along the northern bank of the Sava River,...

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Going Natural Wine Club - July 2021

Posted on September 13, 2021

by Abigail

Low Intervention Wines and the Growth of the Underdogs

For this July, I was debating countless options for this blog post. Could we talk about the need for low-intervention wines? Or could we have a casual conversation about the attitude towards this category of wine? The list was endless. But, with the arrival of our newest Kensington Wine Market Exclusive wine, the Grape Republic Dela Fresca, I thought it would be a great month to talk about how Low Intervention wines have allowed small, inconspicuous regions to gain traction.  

As you may be aware, the wine world is ‘obsessed’ with a handful of regions. We always hear about Bordeaux, Tuscany, California and Burgundy, to name a few. Even though these regions are fantastic, they do create a shadow on the smaller areas.

Working in wine, it can be interesting to hear some customers surprise when we tell them Greece, Romania or Bulgaria produce wine, some of the oldest wine countries in the world! This is to absolutely no fault of the consumer, in fact, it's to the fault of the wine industry itself. We tend to focus on the wines that will easily grab people's attention, which typically are wines with high points, high demand or from regions people feel familiar with because that’s what sells!  

Yet, we are seeing a new demographic moving in and changing things up; Millennials. As a millennial myself, I know the hate my generation gets, and the wine industry is no different because we are shaking things up! With the ever-increasing cost of living and with millennials having more debt than the rest of the population, this generation isn't as interested in buying $100 Bordeaux to age for 20+years. Millennials want to buy wine they can drink! They also think more about where they are spending their money and who benefits from their purchases. Unfortunately, that’s not Bordeaux or Tuscany. 

This new generation of wine drinkers have also lived all of their lives with the imminent threat of climate change. This may not be a big deal to some, but when you are raised with the constant ‘force-down-your-throat' approach on climate change politics, it has changed the way this generation operates. They have been told to be more conscious of their purchasing, reduce where they can and recycling is a must! It was only a matter of time until we saw the effect on the wine industry and with the increasing demand of low-intervention wines, we can agree that the millennial influence has arrived! 

Millennials are becoming the new driving force behind wine purchasing and production. We have ...

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Introducing KWM's Going Natural Wine Club

Posted on September 13, 2021

by Abigail

Introducing KWM's Going Natural Wine Club

It’s time to join the low-intervention Convention!

This idea stemmed from a slow Sunday afternoon in 2017 where a couple of staff members decided to further explore the world of Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines. These two started purchasing and trying bottles each Sunday, embarking on a journey that will open their eyes further to the weird and wonderful world of wines. It initially started as a way for the newest KWM employee and one of the non-wine team members to try more wines without limitation, but it soon became something more. It became a way to try these new, exciting and sometimes challenging wines without preconceived notions, opening the minds and palates to those around us. Now it is time for us to extend our hand and welcome you to the Low-Intervention Convention with our Going Natural Wine Club!

What is low-intervention?

Low-intervention is a style of winemaking that involves very little additions/subtractions from the wine, while also following biodynamic, permaculture or minimal intervention agricultural practices in the vineyard. These winemakers are focusing on the health of the vineyard’s ecosystem while producing delicious wines! Biodynamic, natural, minimal intervention and raw wines are all part of this category!

Why should we be excited about Low-Intervention wines?

In this day and age, a lot of people are realizing the realities of the world. We see unnecessary chemicals added to products, no transparency with certain productions, agriculture that is depleting ecosystems, and massive corporations that are just profiting on all of this garbage.

These Low-Intervention wines are created in a way where you know what you’re drinking, there is transparency between you and the winemaker, there are environmentally healthy practices behind each label, and each winemaker is focusing on bringing you the best wines without having to add colour, flavouring or anything else to the wines.

What can I expect from Kensington Wine Market's Going Natural Wine Club?

To enjoy delicious wines! That's basically it. We could go on to say that supporting these types of wine producers will help the environment in small ways, or that drinking fewer chemical flavouring agents will probably be better for your health but it is not just about that. It’s about drinking what you love and trying new things! Each month, we will select two wines that we are excited about. One will be white and one will be red. We may throw a sparkling wine or some rose in, who knows! We will have them listed in their tiers and will provide tasting notes. We will also be curating blog posts each month to keep you informed of the ongoing conversations in the low-intervention wine world. It will be at a cost of $60...

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada April 2021 Outturn

Posted on April 28, 2021

by Evan

After the crazy-high ABV and Sherry-driven outturn we had in March, it would be understandable if the bottles we saw in April were a little bit... tamer in comparison. Well, the average cask strength may be lower in April, but this Outturn definitely does not lack flavour!

In our lineup of seven bottles, one of them is already sold out but we still have stock of the rest thus far. The bottle that is sold out went fast because we had limited stock and it was a (Highland Park). It was good, but in my opinion, it was not among the most interesting bottles in this month's lineup. Here is what we do have to look at:

68.41 - HILL-WALKING HAPPINESS is an especially strong start in the order. Blair Athol is not a distillery that gets mentioned a lot (or at all, really) when you ask somebody (anybody, really) where their favourite bottles of Scotch come from. HILL-WALKING HAPPINESS shows very well, though and was a revelation the second time through the order in our online tasting after it had time to open up in the glass. This is a wonderfully expressive bottle and worth a look, given the price, and also given that the SMWS Canada chapter is donating all profits they make from this bottle to the Canadian Cancer Society.

26.149 - HEILAND COUP D’ETAT was the first Clynelish we have seen from the SMWS Canada since September of 2020's 26.136 - CANDY FLOSS AND CAROUSELS, which is also a sister cask that was filled on the same date. CANDY FLOSS was a solid, refreshing dram, but the newer HEILAND COUP D'ETAT shows a lot more of the waxiness on the nose and palate that makes Clynelish such a hit with fans. The amount of waxiness is especially impressive given it is only 8 years old. Many Clynelish that I have tried don't show quite like this in their youth. This was a favourite of many that attended our Online SMWS Outturn Tasting.

Up next was 35.275 - A DESERT ISLAND DR(E)AM, sporting the special black and gold livery. This is a curious and exciting dram that spent its entire 25 years in a 1st fill Toasted Oak Hogshead. I love its Bourbon-like style that had some in the tasting guessing that it was either a Single Grain or something else due to the sweet oak influence that gives it a more up-front sweet nose and palate. We have seen Glen Moray in this style from the SMWS in the past, but not for a while. If you are a long-time SMWS Member, you may have fond memories of long-gone SMWS 35's such as 35.114 - A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN, 35.138 - MISS AMERICAN PIE, and/or 35.181 - TO INFINITY...AND BEYOND! Even if that is not the case you should take a close look at A DESERT ISLAND DR(E)AM.

Our fourth in the lineup is another Blair Athol! The SMWS Canada does put two bottles from the same distillery in an Outturn every once in a while if they feel there is enough of a contrast in style between the two. 68.28 - MONKBERRY MOON DELIGHT definitely shows differently than ...

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada March 2021 Outturn

Posted on March 22, 2021

by Evan

The lineup chosen by the SMWS Canada for March is insane.

Feel free not to take my word for it - I am an unabashed SMWS fan and I should not be trusted. Regardless - by bottle stats alone you know that this Outturn is going to be a wild ride. Of the seven bottles new bottles for the month, FOUR of them are higher than 60% ABV. Of those, THREE are North of 64% ABV. Now, take a look at how many bottles in the lineup have some sort of sherry cask influence imparted on them. Go ahead and scroll down to the SMWS info below my own tasting notes - I will wait.

Now, do you see what I mean? You may have also noticed that one of the bottles in this Outturn isn't filled with Scotch Whisky. Instead, it is the first time we have seen an SMWS bottle from a Swedish distillery. Fun stuff!

Read on for my own tasting notes on these bottles.

On the nose, I get some typical grassy and floral notes for a Linkwood along with the hint of waxiness, lemon bonbons, cotton candy and spicy ginger. The palate shows waves of orchard fruit including green apples, yellow pears, apricots and yellow plums along with juicy fruit gum and an earthy, peppery, grassy note. It all balances nicely with a surprisingly smooth finish.

The nose on this Glenlossie shows golden raisins, dried apricots, coconut shavings, lychee. The palate goes toasty and shows some nice maturity with wood spice and waxy notes plus a bit of stroopwafel, shelled sesame seeds, Marcona almonds, and a tinge of minerality and a slight oaky dryness on the finish.

Bodega indeed - the sherry is strong in this young and bold Glentauchers! The nose starts with fruit leather and keeps going right into full-on leather hyde notes along with pipe tobacco, pancake syrup, and full-on Shirly Temple mocktail notes, grenadine, fake maraschino cherry and all. The palate is, in a word, RICH. Deep notes of dates, dried blueberries, Chambord and Cassis liqueurs, and blackberry jam. Delicious stuff!

The nose on this Glen Moray shows that we are continuing into sherry territory on this one. Fresh wood varnish, bananas flambe, wood spice, cashews and Mackintosh Toffee all show up aroma-wise. The palate starts big and gets bigger as time goes on with notes of yogurt-covered raisins, polished oak, dates, dried apples, and walnuts.

Big sherry again on this Macduff, but going more into balsamic and cherry cider notes as well. The nose also shows maple syrup glaze, fruit leather, strawberry jam, cherry cola, and hot buttered rum mix. The palate gives spicy cinnamon and ginger in a boozy fruit cake plus a touch of dark chocolate and cinnamon chewing gum.

The nose shows chicken soup with barley, lemon a...

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