In the last decade the quality of Ontario wine improved immensely, and it is getting better with every passing year. The warming climate helps, but more importantly better-educated winemakers are aiming higher and higher at becoming more successful. Now, a significant number of chardonnay- and pinot noir wines are being singled out in international competitions as gold medal winners.
Icewines have been winning gold medals, and sometimes even double gold medals fro many years now.
This year, 147 wines were presented to the trade and specialized media in Toronto’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
After tasting well over 100 wines over a period of six hours with a lunch break in between, I have concluded that the most suitable grape varieties for the Niagara peninsula’s terroir are chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir, and cabernet franc.
Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and blends thereof yield also fine wines, but the aforementioned surpass them, provided he fruit was grown on most suitable sites, and yields were kept low.
Triomph Chardonnay, 2010, Southbrook
Superbly crafted, balanced, aromatic and refined.
Claystone Terrace Chardonnay, 2009, Le Clos Jordanne
Aromatic, acid-driven, medium-bodied, elegant, with a mouth-watering flavour.
Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay, 2010, Bachelder
Bachelder was the first winemaker of Le Clos Jordanne, a Vincor-Boisset joint venture.
Now he makes his outstanding wines from purchased grapes. This wine displays ripe pear/apple aromas, possesses layers of flavours and minerality. Smooth in the mouth with a log and satisfying finish.
Chardonnay, 2010, Closson Chase
This small quality-obsessed winery always produces fine chardonnays. This vintage is no exception. The winemaker D. Paskus created a full-bodied, superbly balanced and deeply flavoured specimen.
Nuit Blanche Rossomel Vineyard Riesling, 2010, Hidden Bench Winery
Typical petrol smells, with a succulent acid-driven flavour in the mouth. It is a textbook Niagara Escarpment riesling worth of enjoying with a filet of sole a la meuniere or in a cream sauce, or boiled lobster with drawn butter.
Gravity Pinot Noir, 2010, Flat Rock Cellars
Strawberry aromas, earthy tones dominate the nose. In teh mouth the wien is medium-bodied, succulent and well balanced.
Cabernet Franc, 2010, Pondview Winery
Aromatic, almost spicy, medium-bodied, succulent. Strawberry and raspberry flavours in the mouth. Pleasant and long finish.
First Growth Pinot Noir, 2007, Reif
Fruity, elegant, refined with enticing flavours.
Stratus Red, 2008, Stratus Winery
The winemaker ( P J Groux) is a master blender who never reveals components of his blends. He is more concerned about your perception of the wine.
This is a full-bodied aromatic red that displays all the qualities of an elegant wine. Deeply flavoured, balanced, smooth, with a long and satisfying finish.