My house wine this summer #trythis

By / Wine + Drinks / July 20th, 2018 / 27

I have finally found my house wine for this summer, and it comes not in a bottle but in a cardboard box. Now, this is not your typical bag-in-box offering, which in Canada is usually made from poor quality international bulk wine. This is good quality organic juice, coming from co-op producer Valdibella, from the Western side of Sicily. Valdibella began as a social initiative; supporting organic farming of grapes, grains, olives and almonds, providing work for Sicilian youth, and also becoming members of grassroots organization Addiopizzo, which works through resistance to abolish the islands Mafia dominance.  They make a range of really interesting, complex and tasty bottled wine as well, but the hallmark of their 3L boxed examples are fresh, straightforward and super easygoing. Choose your fave or try all three- the red, white and rosé are all fantastic! Imported into Ontario by The Vine Agency.

Valdibella Cataratto Bianco 2017 Terre Siciliane IGT ($46.95)

Despite my love of all of them, this is my top pick of the three. Made with Cataratto Commune, which can sometimes be neutral and uninspiring, this one is anything but. It is all about freshness, with white grapefruit juice and blossom aromas, and notes of under ripe pineapple, mango and lime zest. The palate is driven by acidity, with snappy crushed rock flintiness, and a finish of fresh squeezed lemon. Light and thirst quenching.

Valdibella Perricone Rosé 2017 Terre Siciliane IGT ($46.95)

Perricone is a black grape know more for its use in red blends to soften tannin and add fruit and fragrance intensity. Made in a rosé style, the field berry and herbal raspberry leaf notes come out, accented with cranberry compote. The palate has a generous body and a touch of warmth, like baked red cherries, but still a good balance of acid. This would be nice with grilled sardines and olives, two other Sicilian specialties.

Valdibella Nero d’Avola Rosso 2016 Terre Siciliane IGT ($46.95)

Called Calabrese, the grape goes by the more recognized name Nero d’Avola, and is the most planted red grape of the island. In the glass, black cherries, roasted rosemary and smoky earth tones emerge, while the palate has weight but is not heavy, and the fruit comes across more as sour red cherry than riper black as the aromas suggest. Rustic tannins as one would expect of this grape and place, but well balanced by lots of fruit.


Brie Dema has a career rooted in hospitality and has worked with several fantastic Canadian wine and culinary programs including Langdon Hall, Fogo Island Inn and the Elora Mill. She has studied with WSET and CMS, holding the Diploma and the Advanced Pin respectively. Brie played the part of a bumblebee in her dance studio’s production of Peter Pan when she was five. She has a lousy sense of direction but can always find her way to the bottom of a glass of wine. Brie’s favorite role and greatest accomplishment is being a mom to her wonderful daughter Una. She wishes she was a better cook, but is glad she married a chef.

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