Niagara Peninsula, hugging the border between New York State and Ontario, where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, has been producing wine for a long time. Starting 1970’s, quality has improved, and continues to improve for a variety of reasons. One is the warming climate. The other, consumer demand for better quality.
John Marynissen, a Dutch farmer, bought a pig farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake (1923), which at the time had a block of cold-resistant vitis riparia family vines planted.
At the time Ontario Horticultural researchers claimed that vitis vinifera vines could not survive the severe winters of the Peninsula, but the decided to prove them wrong and planted gamay, chardonnay, riesling, and pinot noir in 1973, and two years later he planted cabernet sauvignon.
Soon, he discovered that vitis vinifera vines could survive the severe winters if they are properly tended and if yields are kept low. The property is relatively close to lake Ontario and befits from the “lake effect”. Soon, he was making wines that over time improved enough to be awarded medals in competitions. After the passed away (2009), his daughter successfully continued his work.
Now, Marynissen has anew management with an objective to grow production and pursue exports to Asian markets. China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore have become lucrative markets for Ontario’s icewines and Marynissen, now Chinese owned, wants to take advantage of the interest.
During a recent tasting, the winery offered two tiers of its wines – Gold– and Platinum Series, to an appreciate clientele.
On offer were –
Unoaked Chardonnay, 2014, (barrel sample).
Blended with 30 per cent chardonnay musque this floral/fruity einr with pleasant acidity is well balanced. Int eh mouth it tastes fresh and invigorating.
Pinto Gris, 2014, (barrel samples)
green-yellow in colour, refreshing flavour, with good acidity and a long finish. An excellent wine to pair with creamy cheeses, pan-fried pickerel, cold cuts, ad sea food pastas.
Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, (barrel sample)
typical mown grass aromas, medium-weight, and refreshing.
Pair with semi-soft cheeses, charcuterie plates, roast chicken, pan-fried pork chops, apricot-stuffed roast filet of pork.
Riesling, 2014 (barrel sample)
pale green-yellow colour. Floral/fruity aromas waft out of the glass. Off dry with pleasant acidity and good balance.
Aromas of apples and pears dominate the nose. A well balanced wine displaying minerality and long finish
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013
Vibrant red colour. Aromas of blackberries, cedar and spice. Flavourful and balanced. Pair with stews, homemade hamburgers, hard cheeses, steaks.
Brilliant cherry red colour. Fruity and spicy with good acidity and balance. Nuanced and satisfying. Pair with medium-rare grilled steaks, beef- or game stews, hard cheeses.
Medium weight, strawberry aromas with good acidity and balance.
Cabernet Franc, 2013
Brilliant crimson colour. Stone fruit aromas dominate the nose, followed with spicy flavours typical of cabernet franc. A fine wine to pair with roast rack of lamb, roast leg of lamb, grilled provimi veal chops, well seasoned veal stew, pan-fried meat balls.
The new winemaker prefers wild ferment wines, but also uses cultivated yeast to determine how suitable they are, given fruit quality.
All above wines are available at Marynissen Estates.