Malcolm Jolley discovers a new country rock Niagara wine.

Jim Cuddy Chardonnay TawseI spent a good deal of time on the Tawse Winery website, checking facts, looking for images and that sort of thing. Whenever I’m fishing around there, my eye always get drawn to a photo of Jim Cuddy, who regularly plays concerts at the winery in the summertime. I like Jim Cuddy and his music and I like Tawse wines and the people who make them, so the connection between the two pleased me. (Here is the picture and event listings for this season, including Jim Cuddy’s Summer Solstice Concert on June 18.)

Jim Cuddy Cabernet Merlot TawseAll of this is to say that I wasn’t all that surprised when the good people at Tawse sent over two bottles of wine to GFR HQ with Jim Cuddy’s face on the label. Cuddy has been hanging out with Tawse winemaker Paul Pender, and sister winery Red Stone’s winemaker Rene Van Ede, for many years and the collaboration makes sense.

The 2013 Cuddy by Tawse Cabernet Merlot is, appropriately I think, a wine that nods to the birthplace of country rock, California. It’s a Niagara version of Meritage, with Cabernet Franc playing a starring role along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It’s dark and brooding, like a Cuddy torch song, with concentrated fruit and a kiss of oak. The 2013 Cuddy Chardonnay is a classic Tawse Niagara white. Maybe a touch leaner than some Tawse Chards, it’s got bright lemon to peach fruit and dash of saline minerality. Both wines are $24.95 a bottle and can be ordered online at or bought at the winery. They are also expected to arrive at LCBO Vintages stores in September.

As it happens, the Jim Cuddy collaboration isn’t the only new thing the Tawse team has been fermenting lately. Stay tuned next week for news about a trio of Tawse wines made differently from their predecessors.

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Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.