| 13th Street Winery
St Catharines, Ontario
| Wine maker, Jean-Pierre Colas
| Essence Wines
|| See Below
| Available Online, Winery
This gorgeous boutique winery in St Catharines was originally founded in 1998 by four partners that wanted to explore the possibility of creating great quality wines in the region. After the winery was sold ten years later, drastic changes took, operations were moved a new factiliy on 4th avenue in July of 2009. As of March 2010, wine maker Jean-Pierre Cholas (Peninsula Ridge, Vignobale Rancourt ) took over as principal wine maker. Throughout the changes, the winery has built a strong reputation on their still and sparkling wine program.
The 13th street winery compound is a real treat for the senses, details of which I will get into in another article later this week as part of “30 Days of Local Wine”. In addition to a private gallery room, a wrap-around deck, and art exhibitions, the winery recently launched a new bakery cafe. Whenever I’m in the area, I make it a point to stop by at the cafe, where a bounty of fresh and prepared goods are available. From local vegetables and fruit to preserves and some of the best butter tarts. My most recent trip to the winery was for the opporuntity to taste two new wines under a new label titled “Essence”.
What is Essence?
When wine maker Jean-Pierre Colas took over as head wine maker, there were many discussions about 13th Street’s wine porfolio. JP wanted to introduce Sauvignon Blanc, easily one of his favourite varietals to work with, and there was also talk about Pinot Noir and Syrah. Essence is a result of these conversations, a new super premium line of wines from 13th Street with utmost care for fruit quality.
“We will only make Essence in the best years. In 2009 there were three candidates, Pinot Noir, sauvignon Blanc and syrah”. Says Peter Bodnar Rod, Director of Hospitalty at the winery.
Grapes for these wines come from vineyards in the Niagara-on-the-lake region, from growers that JP has had a long relationship with. “Our objective with these wines was to open people’s minds to unique expressions of grape varieties. These wines are the essence of the place they come from, which is Niagara, but with JP’s vision for these varieties, his style, philosophies and wine making”.
I had the opportunity to taste the first two releases under the Essence label. Colas’ first Pinot Noir, herbaceous on the palate with spices and subtle fruit characteristics. The note on the back of the bottle reads “OK, go ahead and call me a big liar. I said I’d never make Pinot Noir but the little voice in my head convinced me that if ever there was a challenging vintage that could yield exceptional results, this was it. I’m very happy I made that decision and I hope you will be too”.
Also, a tropical Sauvignon Blanc, with 60% of the juice in tank and 40% in new oak for 4 1/2 months. A layered wine full of aromatics and vibrancy.
Essence Pinot Noir 2009, $45
Essence Sauvignon Blanc 2009, $35
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Written by Suresh Doss
Suresh Doss is the publisher of SpotlightToronto.com and Rickshawmag.com. Founder of the Food Truck Eats festival, Suresh has been a pioneer for the Street food movement in Toronto. In 2011, He was awarded the VQA Promoter’s Award for outstanding achievement in the Media category in the promotion of Ontario VQA Wines. Suresh is also the Global Editor for Whitecap’s StreetEats series of travel guides, which focuses on the best street food across North America.