It’s not very often that I just happen to come upon a wine. But for me to find the St. Hubertus Canadian Red while on Christmas holiday, at my in-laws in rural Alberta, and be told to go down to the basement and pick out a bottle of wine for Christmas dinner, and to find a treasure amongst the dusty collection – it was fate!
I scanned the rickety wine rack row by row and saw some familiar labels, but nothing that really jumped out at me. I was starting to lose faith until I saw a red bottle on the bottom row. Literally, red. Bright, like the red on a Canadian flag. Low and behold, I grab the neck of the bottle and turn my wrist so I can read the label. ‘Canadian Red’ is what it simply states. What the eff does that mean? So I scan further: Okanagan Valley VQA. Go on…. St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate. Ok…. I’m intrigued. Pinot Noir & Foch. Whaaaaaaaat??? 2004. Geez, this is either going to kill me or be A-May-ZING!
Wine-geeking out over St. Hubertus Canadian Red
I contained my excitement bringing the bottle upstairs, not wanting to oversell it to the family in case it was a total bust. The cork remained intact (high five) and I took a quick whiff of the glass – and I mean quick. I don’t like doing the whole swirl and smell thing around other people, especially during Christmas dinner. But I did manage to get a quick sniff of the dark berries. It smelled full and layered, I crossed my fingers and took a sip. I instantly tasted the classic green/vegetal Pinot characteristics and then a wave of cherry, fig and vanilla took over. It made me happy. I polished off 2 glasses with my turkey dinner and then 2 more a couple of nights later. It held up even after being open for a couple of days.
I wanted to know more about this surprise wine. The in-laws had no recollection of how or when they acquired the bottled so I emailed the winery and was so excited with their response. As it turns out, they’re releasing a new version of their Canadian Red later this year to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. The 2004 I had tasted was roughly 65% Pinot Noir/35% Foch but their new creation will include some Gamay as well. I can hardly wait to try it!
My ‘discovery’ of this Canada Red coincided with a week away in a quintessential Canadian winter setting. I got to witness some breathtaking Albertan sunrises thanks to my kids early rise schedule. We got to go sledding and pet the horses and wear three layers of sweaters to go outside. Being away from home with kids over Christmas is hectic. But thanks to the Canadian Red wine, it made me remember to take a moment and savour the Canadiana of it all.