G. Marquis is a new brand from Ontario’s Magnotta winery. The brand consists of two tiers – the Red Line and the Silver Line. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to try any, the website describes the Red Line as 100% VQA wines that are soft, fruit-forward, unoaked, and easy-drinking. The Silver Line is the top tier and is made with hand-harvested grapes from the Stone Road Vineyard located in the Niagara-on-the-Lake appellation. I recently sampled a few wines from the Silver Line – 2008 Chardonnay, 2011 Pinot Noir, and 2009 Vidal Icewine – and I was impressed. These are well-made, tasty wines at very reasonable prices.
G. Marquis Silver Line Chardonnay 2008 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake: Aged for 6 months in French-American hybrid oak casks with a subsequent 16 months in stainless steel. 12.3% abv. Good complexity on the nose for this price range. Aromas include creamy vanilla, golden apples, tangerine, crisp lemon, some mineral notes, and a touch of butter. It’s well-balanced with medium weight, cleansing acidity, and flavours of vanilla yogurt, butter, and yellow tree fruit. The oak influence is light and well-integrated. Medium length. There are still a few bottles available in LCBO’s Vintages. Good value at $16.95.
G. Marquis Silver Line Pinot Noir 2011 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake: 6 months barrel aging in new French and Hungarian oak. 13% abv. A vibrant medium ruby colour, this wine shows aromas of cherry, red currant, raspberry, dried bay leaf, and a hint of smoky oak. On the palate, it’s elegant and fresh, with medium body, bright acidity, and fine tannins. The oak influence is there, but it is integrated and doesn’t overpower the Pinot Noir’s natural character. This 2011 vintage will be released as a Vintages Essentials at the LCBO sometime in late summer or early autumn, but right now there are still some bottles of the 2010 vintage available at Vintages. Again, good value. I’ve had much more expensive Ontario Pinot Noirs that I have not liked as much as this. $19.95
G. Marquis Silver Line Vidal Icewine 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula: Aged for 6 to 8 months in stainless steel prior to bottling. 9.9% abv. This wine is a beautiful golden colour with intense aromas of sweet apricot, dried mango and pineapple, and sultana raisins. It’s luxurious and rich on the palate showing honeyed apricot, citrus, and tropical fruit notes. The high sugar level (204 g/L) is balanced by the almost searing acidity, resulting in a quite refreshing finish. Serve very chilled. Some bottles are still available at LCBO Vintages for $27.95/200 ml.
(All three wines were received as samples.)