Wine, Wine Reviews

The Best Wines of Ontario

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According to the famous American wine writer Matt Kramer: “You cannot fake “somewhereness”. You cannot manufacture it. Indeed, you cannot even figure out its source. But when you taste a wine that has it, you know.”

Of course, French knew it all along, and coined the term terroir that encompasses climate, soil composition, slope, exposure to sun and more. Monks who tended vineyards in Burgundy and elsewhere in France discovered that certain grape varieties thrived on different soils, and planed accordingly, i.e mainly chardonnay, and pinot noir in Burgundy, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, and pinot noir in the Loire Valley, chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier in Champagne.

In Ontario, over the past 40 years, Riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet franc have proved to be most successful of all. Somewhereness is a concept that has brought 12 owner-operated wineries together to promote premium Ontario and their wines. They organize annually, a tasting of their best, and invite the trade, wine writers and public to taste their products, This year I tasted 60 wines during the time allocated and recommend the following:

(Note: My recommendations include only wines that scored 88+ and above on my 100 point scale. Most, if not all, are available at the winery or by mail. Those available at Vintages are marked accordingly).

White wines

Riesling Picon Vineyard, 2013, C. Baker
89+/100
$ 35.00

Nadja`s Vineyard Riesling 2015, Flat Rock Cellars
89+/100
$ 24.95

Chardonnay, 2014, Flat Rock Cellars,
88+/100
$ 18.95
The Rusty Shed Chardonnay, 2012, Flat Rock Cellars
91+/100
$ 24.95

Pinto Gris, 2015, Malivoire Wines
89+/100
$ 19.95

Riesling, 2015, Norman Hardie
89/100
$ 21.00

County Chardonnay, 2014, Norman Hardie
89+/100
$ 45.00

Chardonnay, 2014, Norman Hardie
90/100
$ 39.00

Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay, 2012, Southbrook
89+/100
$ 34.95

Poetica Chardonnay, 2013, Southbrook
90+/100
$ 49.95

Wismer Wingfield No. 1 Chardonnay, 2013, Bachelder Niagara
88+/100
$ 44.95

Wismer Foxcroft Chardonnay No. 2, 2013, Bachelder Niagara
90/100
$ 44.95

Le Grand Vin Blanc, 2013, Stratus
88+/100
$ 38.00
Chardonnay, 2013, Tawse
88+ /100
$ 19.95

Chardonnay, 2012, Tawse
90+/00
$ 37.95

Sparkling wines

Bisous Brut, Malivoire
88+/00
$ 29.95

Limestone Ridge Sparkling Riesling, 2014, Tawse
89+/00
$ 19.95

Red wines

Sangiovese, 2013, Stratus
89+/00
$ 42.00

Le Grand Vin, 2012, Stratus
91/00
$ 44.00

Gamay, 2015, 13th Street Winery
89+/00
$ 19.95

Gamay Noir Sandstone Vineyard, 2015, 13th Street Winery
89+/00
$ 29.95

Cabernet Franc Reserve, 2012. 13th Street Winery
90/00
$ 29.95

Essence Pinot Noir, 2011, 13th Street Winery
91+/00
$ 29.95

Wismer Parke Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2014, Bachelder Niagara
90/00
$ 34.95

Pinot Noir Tradition, 2013, Domaine Queylus
91/00
$ 29.95

Pinot Noir Reserve, 2013, Domaine Queylus
89+/100
$ 45.00

Pinot Noir La Grande Reserve 2013, Domaine Queylus
92+/00
$ 60.00

Cabernet. Merlot Reserve, 2012, Domaine Queylus
88+/00
$ 34.95

Merlot Cabernet Franc La Grande Reserve, 2012, Domaine Queylus
90+/00
$ 49.95

Gravity Pinot Noir, 212, Flat Rock Cellars
92+/00
$ 29.95

Estate Pinot Noir, 2013, Hidden Bench
89+/00
$ 29.75

Nuit Blanche, 2014. Hidden Bench
89+/100
$ 40.00

Small Lot Pinot Noir, 2014, Malivoire Wine
89+/00
$ 29.95

Mottiar Pinot Noir, 2013. Malivoire Wine
90+/00
$ 34.95

County Pinot Noir, 2014, Norman Hardie
89+/00
$ 45.00

Estate grown Small Lot Cabernet Franc, 2013, Southbrook
89+/00
$ 34.95

Estate Grown Small Lot Witness Block Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc, 2013, Southbrook
90+/00
$ 39.95

Pinot Noir, 2013, Tawse
89/00
$ 21.95

Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc, 2012, Tawse
90+/100
$ 31.95

Note:
The quantity of the 2016 vintage is very small and Burgundy prices will increase in short order.
Prices of high end Ontario pinot noir and chardonnay are also likely to increase.
If you like pinot noir and/or chardonnay, stock up now

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