For five years now, Ontario’s new and most modern wineries have teamed with top-tier food producers and organized annual tastings for the trade, wine writers, and the public.
It is undeniable that high-end Ontario wine quality has become much better approaching the best anywhere.
This is partially due to young and ambitious wine makers, global warming, and new and improved equipment.
This year’s “somewhereness wine show” included only the best wineries and food producers.
The spread of food was 0utstanding including artisanal cheeses from Upper Canada Cheese Company (www.uppercanadacheesecompany.com); Best Baa Farms (www.ewenity.com); and excellent smoked lake trout from Imant Malins (email@example.com); a superb prosciutto-style ham from Gastrohomestead (www.gastrohomestead.com).
Twelve wineries participated, but I am confident there are a few more in the Peninsula that would qualify.
Here are my selections:
Riesling, 2011, Norman Hardie, Prince Edward County
Blended from 65 per cent Niagara and 35 Prince Edward County fruit. This delicious acid-driven wine smells of peach, pear and lime, and has a great and long finish.
Ancestral, 2012, Hinterland Wine Company Prince Edward County
Outstanding fruitiness (strawberries), refreshing and well balanced lightly sparkling wine based on gamay. 90/100
Triomphe Chardonnay, Southbrook Winery, Niagara Peninsula
Organic and biodynamic
Aromas of pear and apple dominate the nose. The mouth feel is smooth, balanced, seamless, and displays depth.
Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, Southbrook Winery
Superbly crafted, fruity (berries), well extracted, balanced, and refined,
Picone Vineyard Riesling, Charles Baker Wines, Niagara Peninsula
This single vineyard riesling smells of petrol as fine Riesling wines do. It has an excellent smooth, lightly sweet mouth feel, with a long finish.
Ivan Vineyard Riesling, 2011,Charles Baker Wines
An acid-driven fruity Riesling from a single vineyard fruit on the Bench. Highly recommended for pan-fried white-fleshed fish, crustaceans, and bi-valves.
Meritage, 2009, Stratus Vineyards, Niagara-On-The-Lake
J L Proulx, the winemaker, is a masterful blender. He won’t reveal the composition of this bend, but I detected chardonnay, Semillon and viognier, probably small amounts of other grapes.
Peach and apricot aromas waft out of the glass. It has a refined mouth feel, with a long finish.
Syrah, 2010, Stratus Wines
An outstanding, powerful, well-structured and fruity wine that tastes great now, but can be cellared for at least three to four years.
Sandstone Chardonnay Reserve, 2011, 13th Street Winery, Four Mile Creek
Although high in alcohol, the wine is well balanced and offers layers of flavours.
An excellent food wine that would complement boiled lobster with drawn butter, planked salmon, poached halibut with Sauce Hollandaise, and other richly flavoured seafood.
Riesling Flatrock Cellars, 2011, 20 Mile Bench
Aromatic, light, crisp, with a little residual sugar that is barely perceptible due to its fine acid backbone.
Van Ber’s cabernet Franc, 2009, Tawse Winery, 20 Mile bench
Murray Tawse is a financier, but decided to start a quality-oriented winery approximately a decade ago.
This “juicy” and smokey cabernet franc delights the palate with it has depth and elegance. It is a fine wine to pair with roast leg of lamb, grilled lamb chops, assorted high quality sausages, and aged cheeses.
Moira Chardonnay, 2009, Malivoire Wine Company, Beamsville Bench
Mr. Malivoire, a successful sound studio owner, named this single vineyard chardonnay after his wife. It offers depth, and riep apple/pear aromas. The wine is full bodied and well balanced.
Saunders Vineyard Chardonnay, 2010, Bachelder Niagara. Niagara Peninsula
Thomas Bachelder worked in Burgundy, Oregon and in the Ontario Peninsula as winemaker before deciding to open his “virtual” winery.
This outstanding single vineyard chardonnay from the Saunders vineyard offers excellent ripe pear/apple aromas. In the mouth, the wine is balanced, full bodied and has an elegant and sustained finish.
Terroir Cache, 2009, Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery, Beamsville Bench
This red meritage wine has been prized by many for its balance, fruit expression, depth, and refined mouth feel.