This year tastes comprised mostly of 2014 and 2015 vintages. 2014 vintage was cool, while 2015 was relatively warm, and resulted in full-bodied, flavorful red wines. In all, 41 wineries participated presenting 164.
I tasted approximately 150 and scored 88+ and above for more than22.
Undoubtedly, over the last 20 years wine quality improved partially due to higher quality grapes, global warming, better winemaking techniques, and more appropriate selection of grape varieties to match the terroir.
The new classification of regions allows a better understanding of terroirs, and allows more knowledgeable anticipation and superior evaluation of each wine presented, i.e Niagara Beamsville Bench and 20 Miles Bench wines are more delicate, elegant, and dry, whereas those from Niagara Lakeshore and Four Mile Creek tend to be more floral, and verge on off dry.
There are now three main Ontario appellations – Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie Northshore and Prince Edward County.
Emerging regions is a new category.
Niagara Peninsula appellation contains three groups of sub-appellations
Niagara Peninsula –Lincoln Northshore
Vinemount Ridge and Creek Shores
Niagara Escarpment sub-appellation – Beamsville Bench, Twenty Mile Bench, Short Hills Bench (Niagara Peninsula’s Vinemount Ridge, Beamsville Bench, Twenty Miles Bench, and Short Hills Bench being on higher elevations, produce more aromatic, dry, elegant wines than on Niagara-On-The-Lake appellations that tend to yield more floral wines).
Niagara-On-The-Lake appellations are- Niagara Lakeshore, Four Mile Creek, St. David`s Bench, and Niagara River. Lake Erie North Shore comprises all the terrain from St Thomas to Windsor and Pelee Island, the most southerly location in Canada.
The new classification of appellations was mainly based on climate data more than soil and other contributing factors such as composition of soils, aspects of vineyards, natural drainage, and detailed elevation.
There was only one icewine, and very few varieties other than cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, syrah, and blends thereof in the reds.
White wine were comprised of chardonnay, Riesling, and sauvignon blanc, with a few gewurztraminer, pinot blanc, pinot gris and viognier.
Only a few sparkling wines appeared, although Ontario wineries would greatly benefit producing sparkling wines as the grapes naturally contain sufficiently high acidity levels.
My recommendations are:
Oaked Chardonnay, 2014, Adamo
Iconoclast Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, 2016, Creekside Estates
Queenstone Vineyard Chardonnay, 2015, Creekside Estates
Chardonnay Tradition, 2014, Domaine Quetlus, Escarpment 20 Valley
Startus White 2013, Stratus, Niagara-On-The-Lake
Chardonnay, 2014, Closson Chase, Prince Edward County
Chardonnay, 2015, Flat Rock Cellars, Escarpment 20 Valley
Reserve Chardonnay, 2015, Westcott Vineyards, Escarpment 20 Valley
Redfoot Vineyard Viognier, 2015, Redstone Winery, Escarpment 20 Valley
Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay, 2014, Bachelder, Escarpment 20 Valley
Watson Vineyard Pinot Gris, 2016, Closson Chase, Prince Edward County
Reserve Chardonnay, 2013, Reif Estates, Niagara-On-The-Lake
Poetica Chardonnay, 2013, Soutbrook Winery, Niagara-On-The-Lake
Bistro Chardonnay, 2013, Hidden Bench Winery
$ 17.95 For restaurants only
Bissous Brut Nature, Malivoire Winery, 20 Valley
Gamay Noire Sandstone Vineyard, 2013, 13th Street Winery, 20Valley
Cabernet Franc Reserve, 2012, 13th Street Winery, 20 Valley
Lowry Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2014, Adamo
Pinot Noir Reserve, 2012, Domaine Queylus, 20 Valley
Cabernet Franc, 2013, Domaine Queylus, 20 Valley
Wismer Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2014, Bachelder, 20 Valley
Paul Bosc Vineyard Equuleus, 2012, Chateau de Charmes, Niagara-On-The-Lake
Triomph Pinto Noir, 2015, Southbrook Winery, Niagara-On-The-Lake
Stratus Red, 2013, Stratus Vineyards, Niagara-On-The-Lake
Pinot Noir, 2013, Westcott Vineyards, 20 Valley