A Visit to Fielding Estate Winery

Fielding Estate WineryPerched high on the Beamsville Bench in Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula, Fielding Estate Winery’s lodge looks like something that could be sitting on prime lakefront property on Lake Muskoka – from the tall gleaming windows along one wall to the row of Muskoka chairs lining the deck.  On a lazy, hazy summer day, you’d almost think you were there too, if not for the acres of vineyards surrounding the building and the glimmer of the Toronto skyline peaking at you through the trees from across Lake Ontario.

It was a beautiful, sunny day in mid-June when I drove along the winding driveway to the Richie Roberts, Winemaker at Fielding Estate Winerywinery to meet Richie Roberts, Fielding’s head winemaker.  I have enjoyed many Fielding Estate wines over the years, but I had never had the pleasure of meeting the winemaker before.  Following its opening in 2005, Fielding’s reputation rose quickly, and after winning numerous wine awards it was named in the Top 10 Wineries in the 2009 Canadian Wine Awards, just 4 short years after opening.  Riesling and Pinot Gris are their biggest sellers, but they also make top notch Gewurz, Viognier, and Chardonnay, as well as reds from Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah.

Richie, who joined the winery just after the 2007 harvest, is obviously passionate about his work and was happy to talk about the vineyards and his wines.  I inquired about the brand new rows of vines just beyond the deck.  Richie told me that they had just ripped out a patch of Merlot and replanted it with Riesling, a grape that fairs much better in the cooler climate high up on the bench.  Apparently, the vineyard surrounding the winery is mostly Riesling.  Another vineyard, not too far away, but in the appellation of Lincoln Mid-June 2012 vines at Fielding Estate WineryLakeshore, grows other varieties, such as Pinot Gris, Merlot, and Chardonnay.  They also buy grapes, especially Cabernet and Syrah, from vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Right now, the vines are about 2 weeks ahead of normal and had already begun to flower when I visited.  Richie was pleased with the progress so far this season, but admits that the weather is always a worry.  Fielding’s vineyards are not irrigated, but the only time this was a real problem was in 2007 during the few weeks of very hot, dry weather.  The clay soils do a good job of retaining moisture to keep the vines going.

View of the roof from the production area into the tasting room at Fielding WineryThe winery and tasting room are located in an award-winning ‘lodge’ that was designed with landscape and agricultural influences in mind.  The use of wood predominates in the building and I was very impressed with the one long gabled roof that runs from the tasting room right into the production space.  This very long span is made possible by the beautiful exposed beams that support it. The production area has state-of-the-art equipment, including computerized tanks and a climate-controlled barrel room.

Tasting Notes:

2011 Rosé: A blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Syrah.  Overflowing with red berries and a pretty floral note.  Dry, refreshing, fun, and very quaffable! ($15.95)

2011 Chardonnay Musqué:  Made from Clone 809.  Pronounced aromas of ripe peach, apricot, melon, ginger, and a hint of cinnamon.  On the palate it’s off-dry with balancing acidity.  A nice summer wine! ($16.95)

2011 Estate Bottled Pinot Gris: About 15% was barrel fermented in old, neutral oak.  Aromas of baked apple and pear, citrus, and melon.  Round and juicy on the palate with a creamy texture and a pleasing fruity finish. ($21.95)

2011 Rock Pile Pinot Gris:  This Pinot Gris has longer skin contact than the Estate Bottled and about 80% was fermented in large, old oak barrels.  Tropical fruit, citrus and spice aromas dominate the nose. Rich and lush on the palate with cleansing acidity and a long length.  Excellent. ($25.95)

2010 Estate Bottled Riesling:  Fresh and delightful with aromas of lime, grapefruit, peach skin, and mineral.  Crisp, clean and off-dry (24 g/l rs) with a mouthwatering finish. Only 10.5% alcohol. ($18.95)

2011 Lot No. 17 Riesling:  Complex and aromatic, this wine shows lime, green apple, melon, dried mango, and mineral aromas.  The good dose of sugar (37 g/l rs) is balanced by the searing acidity.  Long length.  Only 9% alcohol.  ($25.95)

2010 Viognier:  Mostly stainless steel with some barrel-fermented juice.  Quite expressive with aromas of honeysuckle, tropical fruit, honey, and spice.  Good concentration on the palate with an oily texture and a very spicy finish. ($25.95)

2010 Chardonnay:  Barrel-fermented and aged 9 months in barrel (35% new French oak).  Aromas of ripe pineapple, smoky baked apple, and butterscotch.  A pleasant toastiness on the palate and a medium length.  ($22.95)

2011 Gamay:  The first Gamay to be produced by Fielding.  85% aged in neutral oak barrels.  A vibrant ruby colour with aromas of fresh cherry, raspberry and other red berries with a touch of spice.  Light enough to be served slightly chilled.  A great summer BBQ wine! ($17.95)

2010 Cabernet Franc:  This wine spent just over 1 year in barrel of which 30 to 35% was new oak.  A combination of French, American, and Hungarian oak was used.  Aromas of cedar, blueberry, roasted red pepper, and spice with a slight graphite pencil note. A good structure with smoky dark chocolate on the palate.  Fair value.  (21.95)

2007 Meritage: 65% Merlot, most of the rest is Cabernet Sauvignon with a small amount of Cabernet Franc.  Brimming with spicy, ripe dark fruit – dark plum and black cherry – chocolate, and ground coffee.  Big and full-bodied on the palate with firm velvetty tannins.  I think it’s drinking well now, but it could still use a few years in the cellar. ($44.95)

2007 Chosen FEW:  45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, and 14% Syrah.  Each wine was aged independently in a combination of new and older oak barriques and ‘hogshead’s, before being carefully selected and blended together.  A big, brooding wine with toasty caramel, smoky tobacco, dark plum, black cherry, cassis, and spice.  The tannins are still very strong and could use a little more time to soften and become more approachable.  Cellar 2 to 3 years before drinking – can easily last for 10 more years.  ($59.95)

Wine Tasting at Malivoire Winery – An Affair with Pinot Noir

Malivoire Winery EntranceI have had a passionate love affair with Pinot Noir for some time now – I’m frequently seduced by its alluring aromas and flavours and silky caress – so I was excited to learn about The Pinot Affair wine tasting taking place at a few wineries in Niagara on the weekend of October 15-16.  Unfortunately I was only able to get to about half of the wineries involved.  They were all fun, flirty affairs until…my heart was stolen…by Malivoire Winery.

Malivoire Wine Company began in 1995 when Martin Malivoire and his partner, Moira Saganski, purchased a plot of land on what is now the Beamsville Bench sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula wine region in Ontario. That plot of land soon became the Moira Vineyard.  A year later, they purchased more land just to the west, which is now the site of the winery.

Malivoire currently owns two vineyards, Moira and Estate, and farms two other vineyards under lease, Epp and Eastman.  All vineyards are in the Beamsville Bench sub-appellation, with the exception of the Epp Vineyard which is on the Twenty Mile Bench sub-appellation.  Malivoire also makes wine from the Mottiar Family Vineyard which was purchased by Malivoire’s own winemaker, Shiraz Mottiar, in 2003.

Malivoire only grows grape varieties that are suitable for the sand, clay, and limestone soils and the  cool-climate conditions of the region.  Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Gamay, and Pinot Noir are their chosen grapes.  Malivoire does not use pumps, but uses gravity to move the pre-bottled liquid from one place to another, reducing agitation and oxidation, minimizing the need for filtration, and in the end, enhancing flavour.

The Wine Tasting Event

The wine tasting was led by Shiraz (yes, that’s his real name) Mottiar himself.  It was a real treat to be able to taste Pinot Noirs from the 2010 vintage that are still in barrel.  We startedShiraz Mottiar, Malivoire's winemaker with 2 Pinots from the Estate vineyard; one was fermented in stainless steel and the other was barrel fermented.  The barrel was not toasted, so it’s just the fresh wood in contact with the wine.  The first wine was very fruit-forward with bright acidity.  Shiraz said that it will probably make up the foundation of the Alive label Pinot Noir.  The barrel fermented wine had the same red fruit, but there was a bit more spice and earthiness, and a rounder mouthfeel.  I felt this was a more complex wine.  Shiraz commented that it had great structure, but that it may need some support from other wines during the blending process.

Next we tasted two wines from the Mottiar vineyard, also from 2010.  As with the Estate Vineyard wines, one was stainless steel fermented and the other was barrel fermented.  Again the stainless steel fermented wine was a more fruit-forward wine, but there were also some distinct mineral and floral notes.  But it was the barrel fermented Mottiar vineyard Pinot Noir that really stole my heart.  It was intense and aromatic with darker fruit, more spice, and a floral perfume.  Supple, smooth and silky with a very long finish.

Shiraz then encouraged us to do a little blending of our own to see how two or three of these wines would work together.  I mixed the two Mottiar Vineyards wines together creating one delicious blend indeed!  I’m really looking forward to trying the finished wine in about a year; it’s sure to be a beauty.

We then tasted the 2009 Alive Pinot Noir, the 2009 Small Lot Pinot Noir, and the 2009 Mottiar Pinot Noir.  Tasting notes for all wines are below.

Wine Tasting Notes

Estate Vineyard 2010: Stainless steel fermented.  Still in tank.  A brilliant ruby colour with ripe red berry aromas; strawberry, raspberry, and cranberry.  Delicate but with bright acidity on the palate and a very fruity finish.

Estate Vineyard 2010: Barrel fermented.  Still in barrel.  The same red berry fruit as in the first wine, but more spicy, earthy notes and a touch of vanilla.  The tannins are more noticeable, but there’s a rounder mouthfeel and more complex flavours.  Good length.

Mottiar Vineyard 2010: Stainless steel fermented.  Still in tank.  A bright ruby colour with a purplish hue.  Mineral and floral notes combined with lots of cranberry, raspberry, and red currant aromas.  Subtle and delicate.  Very pretty.

Mottiar Vineyard 2010: Barrel fermented.  Still in barrel.  Intense and aromatic with spicy cranberry, red plum, dark raspberry, black cherry, and a floral note reminiscent of rose petals.  Fuller and rounder on the palate than the previous wines with a very long lingering finish.

Alive Pinot Noir 2009:  12% barrel fermented.  A bright ruby colour with sour cherry,  red currant, raspberry, mineral, and a touch of smoke.  Bright acidity with a good length.  Very approachable and ready to drink now. ($29.95)

Small Lot Pinot Noir 2009:  60% barrel fermented.  Darker, spicier fruit than the Alive version, with mineral, earth and violet aromas.  Ripe fruit and spice on the palate with a firm structure and a long length.  A good wine to leave in the cellar for 3 – 5 years.  It’s recommended that you decant for 1 hour if serving now.  ($34.95)

Mottiar Pinot Noir 2009:  50% barrel fermented.  Aromatic and elegant with aromas of plum, blackberry, earth, cinnamon spice, flower petals, and a minty note.  Silky tannins and a long length.  Cellar for 3 – 5 years.  It should age and evolve nicely.  Only 100 cases made so don’t delay in buying this wonderful wine.  ($39.95)

Alvento Forced to Sell Winery and Vineyards

Just one day after posting this week’s Wednesday Wine of the Week featuring Alvento Winery, I found out that Bruno and Elyane Moos, and their partner, Morrie Neiss, have been given a court order to sell the winery and vineyards.  The news was reported last night by Rick VanSickle of Wines in Niagara.  Click on the link to read his full report, “Alvento, Home of Quality Red Blends, Viognier, and Nebbiolo, Told to Sell Winery.”  In short, the story is that Bruno and Elyane were committed to producing top-quality, boutique wines, while their partner was more interested in producing less expensive, more popular wines for the lower end of the market.  The feud was taken to court where a judge decided the winery and vineyards would be sold and the partnership dissolved.

This is such a sad story.  I visited Alvento Winery this past July and found Bruno working at the tasting bar.  When he saw how enthusiastic I was about his wines, he invited me into the barrel room and had me taste wines still in barrel and tank.  I tried the 2010 Viognier, the 2008 Nebbiolo, which he told me would be bottled soon, and the 2010 Nebbiolo, which was still a baby and had a long way to go.  It was obvious that Bruno was very proud and very passionate about his wine – and rightly so.  These are top-notch Ontario wines.

I can only imagine how devastated Bruno and Elyane must feel right now.

Wednesday’s WoW – Alvento Sondra 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula

A Fine Ontario Wine

This week’s featured wine comes from our own backyard. Alvento Winery was established in 2001 on the Niagara Peninsula by Tuscan winemaker Bruno Moos, his wife Elyane, and wine collector Morrie Neiss.  The 2006 vintage was their first ‘serious’ vintage and this week’s Wednesday Wine of the Week is the product of that very year.  Alvento has a strong committment to making only high quality wines or they will not bottle the vintage.

Winemaking

The grapes for all Alvento wines are worked on by hand in the vineyard, are hand-harvested and hand-sorted to ensure only the highest quality grapes go into making the wines.  The 2006 Sondra is made from 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc and was aged for 20 months in 70% new Burgundy barrels.

Tasting Notes

The age of this wine is starting to show as the colour is changing to garnet with slight bricking on the rim.  Maturing well, there are aromas of dried black cherry, dark raspberry, leather, animal, mushroom, and nutmeg.  On the palate, this wine is lean in style with medium weight, dusty tannins, and lots of character.  This wine would be a great choice for people who like more mature wines, and are looking for an alternative to the big fruit bombs.  It’s drinking wonderfully now, but I would love to try it again in about a year to see how it has evolved further.  And, at just $16.95 at the LCBO, it’s a very good value (unfortunately there are only a few stores that have any left).  Serve with boeuf bourguignon, steak and mushroom pie, or roasted lamb.

Related Posts:

“Alvento Winery Forced to Sell Winery and Vineyards”

Prince Edward County Sparkles with Hinterland Wine Company

A lot has changed in Prince Edward County since the last time I was there less than a year ago.  As I drove down Loyalist Parkway, I came across wineries that were not there the last time I travelled that road.  Fourteen new wineries have opened in the County in the last year, almost doubling the total number of wineries in the region.  There are now over 30.  Hinterland Wine Company opened just last year on Closson Road not too far from Loyalist Parkway, and is dedicated exclusively to sparkling wine.  I had heard a lot about the wonderful bubbly, crafted by Hinterland’s winemaker Jonas Newman, and was very excited to finally get the chance to try them.

It seems a lot of other people have also heard about Hinterland’s wines.  Many sparkling wine fans were already happily sipping samples by the time I arrived.  Easy going and friendly, Jonas passionately described his wines to the gathering of tasters as he poured samples from behind a simple wooden table.

Jonas, former maitre d’ at Scaramouche in Toronto, wanted a change so he spent some time working at 13th Street Winery in Niagara, where he obviously learned how to make great a sparkling wine (13th Street is another source of sensational Ontario sparkling wine).  Ready to go out on his own he and wife and partner Vicky Samaras re-located to Prince Edward County and converted the big, silver, former dairy barn, known as Benway Barn, to a winery and opened it up to the public just last year.  While it’s still a bit of a work in progress, Jonas is able to produce about 2,500 cases of wine (In 2009 he made 1,200 cases, up from 750 cases the previous year).

The grapes are estate grown and he will eventually provide many different styles of sparkling wine. Available right now are the Rosé and the Les Etoiles sparkling wines – both made by the traditional method.  All Jonas’s traditional method sparkling wines are aged for a minimum of 18 months on the lees.  He is currently experimenting with aging some wines a bit longer to see if they would benefit from a longer time on the lees.  A fruity sparkling Vidal will soon be released as well.  There are also 2 still wines currently available – a Riesling and a Chardonnay.  Those still wines will not be made again, so once they’re gone…they’re gone.

Hinterland Sparkling Wine Tasting Notes:

Rosé Sparkling:  90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay.  Bursting with cranberry, strawberry, and red currant aromas, and a slight suggestion of arrowroot cookie.  A creamy mousse and refreshing acidity, with fresh red berry flavours and a delicate hint of biscuit.  Good length.

Les Etoiles:  60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. Aged for a minimum of 18 months on the lees. Generous aromas of green and yellow apple, peach, bread, and PEC minerality.  A creamy and persistent mousse with appley, biscuity flavours, racy acidity, and a lingering finish.

Hinterland Wine Company is definitely a winery to keep and eye on.

40 Creek Whisky – Canadian Whisky at its Finest!

A recent trip to Niagara drew me to Kittling Ridge Estates Wines and Spirits where a number of different wines and spirits are carefully crafted.  I’d often zoomed passed the building, which is easily seen from the QEW in Grimsby, on my way to other wineries, but I had never stopped in. I felt it was high time I visited Kittling Ridge, and I was very curious about their line of 40 Creek Whiskies…I wasn’t disappointed.

Internationally renowned whisky expert Michael Jackson has said that 40 Creek Whisky is, “The richest tasting Canadian Whisky I have tasted. Wins points for luxury. The most revolutionary whisky in Canada may well be Forty Creek. It is a delightful and well crafted whisky with international, timeless appeal.”  That’s quite the endorsement.

The whisky maker’s name is John Hall, and his passion and talent for making whisky may be unequalled in Canada.  His years as a successful winemaker have inspired him as a whisky maker to use a unique technique that most North American whiskies don’t employ.  Instead of the grains being mashed together according to a recipe called a ‘mash bill’, the grains are all mashed, fermented, distilled, and aged separately before being blended into a beautifully balanced and complex whisky – just like the way different grape varieties are vinified and aged separately before being blended into the final wine.  Hall says that using this method enables him to capture the distinctive flavours and nuances of each grain.  Three grains are typically used – rye for spiciness and fruitiness, barley for nuttiness, and Indian corn, also called maize, to add strength, body, and weight.  (Indian corn has a higher starch content allowing it to ferment to higher alcohol levels.)

Once fermentation is complete, the ‘distiller’s beer’ of 8 or 9% abv is passed through one of two copper pot stills.  One still is a 600 litre pot and the other is much larger at 6000 litres.

The 600 litre copper pot still.

The 6000 litre copper pot still.

By law, Canadian whisky must be aged for at least 3 years in oak barrels. Some 40 Creek whiskies are aged for 10 years or more.  It isn’t just the length of time a whisky spends in cask that determines quality, the type of oak and the climate of the cellar also has an impact on the final product.  The amount of toasting the barrel undergoes is determined by the type of grain that will be aged in it.  Each type of grain will be aged separately in their own barrels before being blended into the final product.

40 Creek has daily tours through the winery and distillery.  You can call 905-945-9225 or 1-800-694-6798 for times and directions.

Tasting Notes:

Forty Creek Barrel Select:  A very smooth whisky with aromas of butterscotch, spice, vanilla, and a slight nutty character. ($24.95/750 ml)

Forty Creek Three Grain: A blend of malted barley, rye, and maize.  Each grain is aged in toasted white oak barrels (American oak).  Brimming with caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, walnuts, orange marmalade, and spice.  Smooth and silky on the palate with creamy oats, butterscotch, and spice on the palate.  A long, pleasant finish. Very reasonable priced at only $26.95 for 750 ml.

Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve:  Each of the three grains is aged separately in white oak barrels and then blended together and aged for a second time in bourbon barrels that came all the way from Kentucky.  This second aging in the bourbon barrels allowed the blended whisky to take on subtle flavours from the bourbon, adding to the complexity of the finished whisky.  There is a sweetness on the nose with chocolate, butterscotch, rye bread, toasted spice, and walnuts.  Mouth-filling and rich on the palate with flavours of caramel and toasted walnuts and a long, lingering finish with a hint of sweetness.  Now offered at a reduced price of $54.95.

Sip and Savour Ontario – June 17, 2010

Sip and Savour Ontario, a wine and food event showcasing Ontario Wine Award winners, was held last week on June 17, 2010.  The Ontario Wine Awards was founded by celebrated Canadian wine writer Tony Aspler in 1995, and has grown to include over 500 entries from about 60 wineries.  This year’s Sip and Savour took place at the Pantages Hotel in downtown Toronto.  While the venue was very nice, it got claustrophobically crowded during the trade tasting.  The crush of people made it very difficult to write decent tasting notes but, on the positive side, the number of people present is definitely an indication of the interest and high regard shown for Ontario’s great wines.  I hope they rent a larger space for next year’s event.

Rieslings to Believe: Ontario’s Cinderella Grape

The afternoon for me began with a seminar presented by Natalie Reynolds, winemaker at Thirty Bench, called “Rieslings to Believe: Ontario’s Cinderella Grape”.  (Other seminars included Ontario Pinot Noir and Ontario Chardonnay.)  During the presentation, Ms. Reynolds commented on a “Riesling Renaissance”, stating that Riesling, which was once one of the world’s most revered grapes, is making a huge comeback after having suffered a serious slump in popularity. (If you’re interested, there is also a book titled “Riesling Renaissance”, written by Freddy Price and published by Mitchell Beazley in 2004.)

Riesling was the first vitis vinifera vine to be successful in Ontario as it takes well to cool climates, and it also happens to be the finest grape for our important Icewine industry. Of course, we don’t just make superb sweet Rieslings, Ontario also makes excellent dry and off-dry versions.  Ms. Reynolds spoke a bit about the two Riesling clones that are predominantly grown in the Niagara Peninsula – clone 21B and clone 49.  The Niagara Riesling Pioneers include Vineland Estates, Cave Spring, and Thirty Bench.  Back when they were planting Riesling vines, over 30 years ago, the clone 21B was the only clone available to them. Clone 21B is the most planted Riesling clone on Beamsville Bench, and clone 49 has become the most planted in the vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Clone 21B on the bench gives wines full of lime and mineral aromas and flavours, while clone 49 in NOTL tends to be more floral with tropical fruit notes.

Good Rieslings reflect the terroir in which they are grown, more so than any other grape.  It is a late budding and early ripening grape which suits cooler climates, as does its hard wood, which makes it resistant to Ontario’s cold winters.  In warmer climates it ripens too early and loses much of its complexity and character, making it taste dull.  The addition of SO₂ as a preservative is not needed as much with dry Rieslings due to their very low pH.  Rieslings with some or a lot of residual sugar may require more.

Riesling does not take well to aging in oak, as most of its greatly admired freshness, fragrance, and acidity will be severely diminished.  Malolactic fermentation is also avoided.

During this seminar we tasted 4 different award winning Rieslings from 4 different wineries – all were very good.  Here are the tasting notes:

Thirty Bench 2008 Small Lot Riesling Steel Post Vineyard (2010 Gold Medal):  Intriguing petrol aromas along with mineral, white grapefruit and citrus.  The wine is dry with a racy, mouthwatering acidity, lime zest and lots of mineral.  Quite a long, lingering finish.  Very good. ($30)

Rosewood Estates 2008 Riesling Reserve (2010 Bronze Medal):  A pale straw colour with a greenish hue.  Intense aromas of mineral, zesty citrus, beeswax, and honey notes.  The wine is dry and beautifully balanced with flavours of green apple, mineral, and a slightly waxy character and crisp acidity. ($25)

Flat Rock Cellars 2008 Riesling Twenty Mile Bench (2010 Gold Medal):  Displaying intense aromas and flavours of key lime, mineral, and a touch of petrol.   Crisp acidity and a lingering finish make this balanced wine a very tasty Riesling at a great price! ($16.95 – can be found in Vintages)

Tawse 2009 Sketches of Niagara Riesling (2010 Silver Medal):  This wine has about 10% of clone 49 in the blend which perhaps explains the presence of a more tropical fruit character.  It’s also the only wine of the 4 from the 2009 vintage.   Pronounced  and complex aromas of mineral, white peach, nectarine, mango, and fresh blossoms.  Mineral flavours on the palate are softened by nectarine and white peach notes.  Vivacious, balanced and beautiful with a lingering, mouthwatering finish. ($18).

Other Great Wines Tasted at Sip and Savour 2010

Not all the wines listed below were award winners, but they were some of my favourites of the tasting.

Huff Estates Winery South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay 2007 (2010 Gold Medal and White Wine of the Year):  My favourite white wine of the tasting.  Complex and creamy with yellow apple, orange peel, mineral, and vanilla. A bit of vanilla yogurt, nectarine, and spice on the palate with long creamy finish and subtle, well-integrated oak.  Gorgeous!

Konzelmann Estate Winery Sparkling Riesling Methode Cuvée Close 2008 (2010 Bronze Medal):  A fun and delicious wine.  Great for serving on a hot summer day.

Nyarai Cellars Trois 2009: A blend of 85% Viognier with a little Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.  Very fragrant and floral with fresh peach and apricot aromas and flavours.  A great summer sipper! ($19)

Rosewood Estates Gewurztraminer 2008 (2009/2010 Silver Medal): The grapes for this wine are sourced from the Wismer Vineyard.  A typical Gewurz fragrance of lychee, tropical fruit and fresh flowers.

Chateau des Charmes Equuleus Paul Bosc Vineyard 2007:  50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc.  Big, dark, and still quite tannic.  Needs a couple more years to become more approachable.  Great potential to turn into a stunning wine. ($40)

Creekside Estate Broken Press Shiraz 2007 (2010 Gold Medal):  Robust aromas and flavours of cherry, smoke, and pepper.  A very good Shiraz with great typicity. ($39.95)

Nyarai Cellars Cabernet Merlot 2007 Reserve:  Bold dark fruit, red cherry, and coco aromas and flavours are dominant.  Full and round on the palate with smooth tannins and a long length. Not yet released.

Southbrook Vineyards Whimsy! Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 19 2007 (2010 Bronze Medal):  Big, bold and beautiful with abundant dark berries and earth, while still managing a sophisticated elegance. ($34.95)

Southbrook Vineyards Poetica Cabernet Merlot 2007:  Also from the fantastic 2007 vintage comes this stunning wine.  Loads of red and dark fruits, roasted coffee and toasty notes.  Complex, concentrated, and balanced. ($60)

Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery Baco Noir 2008 (2010 Best Label):  A really nice Baco.  Lots of dark fruit and earth. ($16)

Vineland Estates Winery Cabernet Franc Reserve 2007 (2010 Gold and Red Wine of the Year):  A beautiful perfume of dark fruit, dark cherry, plum, anise and slight pencil shavings.  Complex notes of spice, dark fruit, and earth on the palate with smooth tannins and a long length. Amazing! ($40)

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