Wine, Wine Reviews

2015 Somewherness tasting of Ontario wines


The idea of Somewhereness was invented and promoted by Matt Kramer, author, and wine columnist.

He explains “ Somewhereness is more than just an event. It allows us to recognize the particular beauty of a place. Since Ontario’s wines have just such a particular beauty, Somewhereness celebration makes sense in a single sip”.

This explanation envelopes the term “terroir” which covers, climate, soil, vineyard exposure, slope, location, but not beauty or anything related to it.

Portuguese were the third to recognize the importance of “terroir” well before the French. Marquis de Pombal, the prime minster at the time, demarcated the Port region in 1756. Chianti was first to demarcate its production region (1716), and Tokaji-Hegjalya in 1730).

The importance of terroir with regard to taste and commercial importance cannot the stressed enough. My belief is that culture also influences Somewhereness, and even terroir.

12 Ontario wineries formed a group promoting Somewhereness and organize an annual tasting of their wines. Most select a few that they hope would benefit their reputation, and hopefully sales. This year, a few also included their selections “trade only” wines that are available only to restaurants. Some tasted fine, but I did not include them in my list below.

Most of these wines listed are produced in limited quantities, and are available at the winery, or occasionally are released by the Vintages division of the LC.B.O. A few are on the Vintages Essentials catalogue and are available in selected stores. Overall, this year’s selection surpassed expectations of taste, and prices seem to be reasonable, except for ice wines.

Organizers selected a few Ontario artisan bakeries, dairies, one restaurant, and a smoked fish processor. All products on display tasted exceptionally tasty and looked very appealing. If you happen to travel in the Peninsula, look for them. Some of them offer their products in farmers markets and cheeses can be purchased at large grocery stores in Ontario and elsewhere in the country.

Here is a list of suppliers – Best BAA Dairy, Monforte , Upper Canada Cheese Company, De La Terre Cafe and Bakery, Backhouse Restaurant, and Imant Malin’s Fish Processor.

As for the wines, the following scored 90 or above.

Many wines scored less than 90 but are eminently drinkable, but because of space limitations I have omitted them.

White wines

Triomphe Chardonnay, 2012, Southbrook Winery

Whimsy Minerality Chardonnay, 2012, Southbrook Winery

Riesling Ivan Vineyard, 2014, Charles Baker Wines

Riesling Picone Vineyard, 2012, Charles Baker Wines

June’s Vineyard Chardonnay, 2012, 13th Street Winery

Riddled, 2009, Fat Rock Cellars

Sparklign winered wines

Whimsy Cabernet Franc, 2012, Southbrook

Poetica, 2012, Southbrook

Essence Syrah, 2012, 13th Street Winery

Grower’s Blend Meritage, 2011, Tawse Wines

Stouck Meritage, 2011, Malivoire Wines

Lowrey Vineyard Pinot Noir, Bachelder

Terroir Cache, 2012, Meritage, Hidden Bench Vineyards

Dessert wines

Bortytis Semillon, 2012, Stratus Wines,
200ml $ 29.00.

Sweetness 71 grams of sugar/litre

Special Select Late Harvest Cabernet franc, 2012, Stratus Wines
200 ml. $29.00,
91 grams/Litre

Cabernet Franc Icewines, 2013, Malivorie Wines
200 ml, $ 29.95,
90 grams/litre

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