Flat Rock cellars, the newest boutique winery of Ontario; offers not only spectacular views but also extraordinary wines.
Ed Madronich has a wine marketing background and is very well grounded in the realities of grape growing in the province. He decided to concentrate on grape varieties he believes best suited to the Niagara Escarpment terroir; accordingly, he markets mainly varietal and one blended brand.
His chardonnays are elegant, flavourful, balanced with a long aftertaste, riesling light and crisp, typical of the variety, pinot noir delightful and deeply flavoured. The brand Twisted consists of gewürztraminer for aroma, riesling for support, and chardonnay for background. This off-dry wine is designed for the average consumer, but delightful and playful in its flavour.
The vidal icewine is concentrated and very well balanced, elegant and refined.
The gravity-flow winery, designed to handle at peak 12,000 cases, is surrounded with 35 hectares (80 acres) of meticulously maintained vineyards part of which was planted in 2000 and rest a year later. A few acres were added in 2004.
Although the vineyards are still relatively young, one would not know it from the falvour of the wines.
All vineyard blocks are well drained and on partially on heavy loam on limestone with a particularly thick layer of clay/loam and rocky/loam on limestone.
Ed Madrocich planted 4250 vines per hectare, and aims at harvesting six to six-and-a-half tones of fruit per hectare. This compared to other wineries is low, thus designed to yield deeply flavored wines.
Ever the experimenter in the winery Ed employs barrels from a variety of French producers: Cadus, Dammy, Francois Frere, Seguin-Moreau, Berthomieu to preserve. Flat Rock uses exclusively screw cap enclosures, in an attempt varietal character and freshness, a first in Ontario.
The imaginatively designed label reflects the philosophy of Flat Rock Cellars – purity of flavour.
Just before the official opening ceremonies on May 26, 2005, this author that the opportunity to taste barrel samples of 2004 vintage chardonnays aged in Cadus, Damy, Francois Freres barrels. Of the entire first showed best. This was a unique experience clearly proving the importance of selecting the right barrel for a particular wine.
The best experimental wine was 2004 chardonnay fermented with wild yeasts and aged in Seguin-Moreau barrels; this I found the most intriguing and exciting. The flavour of wild yeast gives to the wine is completely different flavour than those laboratory-cultivated yeast. Admittedly, this chardonnay would please a small fraction of wine consumers due to its unusual aromas intermingling with chardonnays typical apple/pear smells.
The winery has a hand harvest only policy, and strict sorting before crush.
Gleaming small stainless steel fermentation tanks show visitors that no expense was spared to produce small-batch fine wines, but more importantly the philosophy of pricing all wines reasonably should please all looking for fine bottles that satisfy without breaking the bank.
Chardonnay – pleasantly pale with greenish hues, mineral flavors on the palate, full-bodied and creamy with a long finish
Riesling Nadja’s Vineyard is a bloc in the upper part of the vineyard and yields consistently fine quality fruit. A fruity, acid-driven wine of elegance. Long aftertaste and made to complement food particularly pan-fried whiter-fleshed fish with cream sauces or seafood pasta with cream sauce
Riesling – an off dry, clean, balanced, charming wine for summer sipping, or fruit bowls.
Twisted – the only blended wine of the winery consisting of gewürztraminer, riesling and chardonnay. Perfumey, fruity, succulent balanced and exudes purity of flavours. A fine sipping wine, or to complement light lunches
Pinor Noir rose an excellent rose with almond undertones and slightly bitter, but pleasant finish
Pinot Noir appealing typical pale red colour, restrained fruit, medium weight, with a fine finish.
Since this tasting I have had several opportunities to taste Flat Rock’s wines from a number of vintages, and found them to be better than the average of the vintage. This indicates that the location of the vineyard was well selected, and yields are kept low, and sorting tables are effectively used to prevent any under ripe grapes or debris never reach presses.
Flat Rock Cellars whole range of wines are available at the winery, some at Vintages Essentials catalogue, and others are listed from time to time with Vintages bi0montly rerleases.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.