Today, we revisit the successful Taste Ontario event that took place earlier this week and talk about some of the wines that really stood out during the trade tasting portion of the day. Beautiful new local wines that are just being released.
For Day 19 of 30DaysONwine, Mike, David and myself took a look at some of the wines that stood out during the consumer portion of Taste Ontario — a yearly event by Vintages. During the 3rd annual consumer event, guests were treated to numerous new releases from 34 different Ontario Wineries, from Niagara and Prince Edward County.
The wines we chose in that article focused on the selection that was presented to the consumers that evening. However, during the trade tasting portion of the day (which started at noon), writers and restaurateurs had the opportunity to taste from 54 of Ontario's wineries — wineries from Niagara to Prince Edward County to Lake Erie North Shore and Pelee Island.
We spent a number of hours working through a large number of wines, and found many, many gems. Here are just a few of them that we highly recommend you try.
Michael Di Caro's Picks
Tawse 2009 Robyn's Block
This five acre block of Chardonnay vines on Tawse's Cherry Avenue vineyard, approaching its third decade, produces one of Niagara's most celebrated wines year-after-year. In fact, the 2009 version is probably even better than the 2008, which took White Wine of the Year at the 2010 Canadian Wine Awards. It's full of ripe Bartlett pear, white peach, Gala apple and citrus flavours and aromas. Oak plays a supporting role providing structure and integrating flavors without feeling the need to announce itself up-front. It also manages to achieve a round and creamy feel in the mouth without feeling heavy. Acidity is well balanced and the pear and citrus finish lingers on the palate. In a word this is what Chardonnay is suppose to be: elegant.
Foreign Affair 2008 Temptress
In the past this winery's focus was more on single varietal wines, but winemaker Ilya Senchuk has introduced some red blends in 2008. The Temptress was a standout. This Bordeaux-grape blend shows intense aromas of raspberry, black plum, blackberry and black currant. On the palate those rich flavours come through and are joined cocoa, spice and a touch of caramel. Appassimento (grape drying) was used on a portion of the grapes, which helps give the wine a bit more of a luxurious mouthfeel and aids in intensifying the flavours. It's still a bit tight right now, so if you plan to enjoy a bottle soon decanting is recommended. But for those that like to cellar, the tannins and acidity have structure that indicate this wine will evolve gracefully over the next couple of years.
2008 Jackson Triggs Gold Series Delaine Vineyard Syrah
Some wine critics have been suggesting that Niagara's red grape of choice should be Syrah. This example from Jackson Triggs' prized 100- acre-vineyard, planted in 1999 along the Niagara Parkway, makes a very compelling argument for that. This is an elegant Syrah with aromas of bramble, perfumed black peppercorns and a touch of vanilla and oak spice. In the palate there's layers of raspberry, cherry and blackberry fruit with a hints of smoke and meatiness underneath. What truly amazes is the silky, velvety mouthfeel that has to be tasted to be believed. With one taste this wine could probably talk you into happily signing over your entire retirement fund—it's that smooth. With food friendly acidity and supple tannins this wine is drinking beautifully right now.
David Ort's Picks
Trumpour's Mill 2008 Pinot Noir
$16.95, general list, 230227
This Pinot from the Grange's core line was one of the big surprises at the show for me. It shows the classic, delicate Pinot hue in the glass and delivers the expected red cherry, strawberry, and floral notes on the nose and palate. A bit soft-footed but for under $17 (widely LCBO available) this might be the best-value PEC Pinot Noir out there.
Hidden Bench Nuit Blanche
During the power tasting with Hidden Bench owner Harald Thiel it was their Nuit Blanche that really stood out. This wine from their Rosomel vineyard cuts a mainly Sauvignon Blanc blend with just over ten percent Semillon. It's strength may be how the smoky nose combine with the bright, tropical-citrus flavours to really seem like they're singing in harmony. Equally notable was the full, smooth, creamy mouthfeel.
Suresh Doss' Picks
Malivoire M2 Small Lot Chardonnay 2010
This chardonnay is made up of grapes from four different vineyards spanning the Beamsville bench, Vinemount and Twenty Mile bench sub appellations. Immediately it hits you on the nose with tropical fruit like papaya, and even some banana. A fresh mouth feel follows, an easy drinking wine with lively acidity and more tropical nuances.
Closson Chase CCV Chardonnay 2009
$24.95. Available at the winery
From 30 aces in Prince Edward County, Closson Chase produces 3,000 cases of wine — focusing on two varietals — Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The CCV chardonnay is made from Prince Edward County grapes from the 'north field' and is such a vibrant wine. Plenty of citrus flavours on the nose, with a little apple. There's a lot of minerality on the palate with some lemon notes, with a nice caramel/butterscotch finish on the end, just slightly. It's a great food wine that tingles on the mouth.
Sandbanks Baco Noir Reserve 2009
$19.95. Available at the winery
Going in a completely different direciton, I picked this wine to finish off because of its sheer ability to please a crowd. Sandbanks has built a name for itself on Baco Noir, and this follows the tradition of the winemaker's style of producing a fruit forward wine that is so juicy and luscious. It's full of berries, with a nice jammy mouthfeel. A great addition to the next dinner party.