Wildass White 2006 and Stratus White 2006, Niagara, Canada

Wildass and Stratus are two brands coming from the same Niagar-in-the-Lake winery, and it doesn’t take a marketing Guru to guess which line is sold at a higher price! The overall philosophy at the vineyard is to make blended wines. These two whites are built from the same components, coming from the same vineyards, but the particularly good grapes are reserved for stratus line.

The Wildass White, a 2006 showed me tastefully creamy strawberry notes above all else. But it also had some age and maturity: acquired from two years in french oak. A great combination of pop sensibility and road tested experience. This would be a great wine to share with somebody who tells you they are “getting into wine” it has tangible structure, recognizable tastes and drinks quite nicely.

Music match: The inimitable Cyndi Lauper makes a comeback with B.B. King who has never gone away with undeniably catchy “Early in the Morning.”. Like a wine named Wildass, you might be leery about a duet between Cyndi Lauper and B.B. King. But you have to appreciate both wine and music that take having fun seriously rather than lightly. Go ahead and enjoy both.

Leave a comment and me know what wine you would match with this music.

The Stratus White, also a 2006, is what Charles Baker from Stratus called the Wildass’ “Big Brother.” This would be ideal to introduce your “getting into wine” friend to structured tasting. Blended from the same varieties (different ratios) and coming from the same year and vineyard, you can notice the clearly difference in refinement. Less creamy and more crisp, you taste a range of fruits tropical and citrus. This is a wine worth swishing around in your mouth for a more than a passing moment.

Musical match: Sarah Vaughan singing “I’ve Got the World On A String” – with an incredible cast of musicians, notably the incredible Oscar Peterson on Piano and Joe Pass discreetly working his six string arch-top jazz guitar to perfection. This song is all about being large and in charge – in a quiet and confident way. That is what the wine markers at Stratus have accomplished with this +/- 40$ wine, using the best possible ingredients. Good Stuff.

And remember to let your “getting into wine” friend know that it’s okay to prefer the Wildass, that is simply a question of taste. Even a confirmed music snob like myself can admit to finding the Lauper/King ditty catchier than the Vauaghan/Peterson/Pass et al. collaboration. However, if we use music as point of reference and you start to ask which tune will be memorable 30, 40, 50 years after it’s release you can’t deny the difference in quality.


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