Monday, September 24, 2012

Niagara Trip Sept 22, 2012

Still on the Vine
The opportunity was there so I had no excuse not to take the advantage. My spouse, sister-in-law and niece were heading to Whitby for the day not returning 'til after supper. Our car was available and, for some time, I had wanted to visit Niagara wineries expressly to sample reds. In August we had visited Niagara purchasing many whites most of which have been Tasted during the intervening weeks. This trip had a different objective. I needed to update my view of Niagara reds so I planned to sample as many reds one trip could allow.

The following lists the wineries in sequence of my visits along with the wines sampled at each stop. Starting with Peninsula Ridge every Tasting Room was exceptionally busy - the Discover Niagara event was on.  The crowds were in a congenial and a buying mood shown by the number of cases seen being carried to cars in the parking lots. The noise clackers or bird bangers added to a festive mood.  Every green thing glowed with the recent rains and the cooling Fall days.

Penninsula Ridge
Foreign Affair - finally!
I led GPS astray only once during my 240km trip. On the way to the Foreign Affair Winery I turned left too soon and went along the North Service Road. I missed the first 'U-Turn' instruction - by this time I was on Cherry Ave. - and ended up travelling several kms along Lakeshore Road. I never knew at this point this major road is two lanes and dirt with an interesting view of Lake Ontario only forty yards to my right. A twenty minute trek back to Victoria Ave. followed . GPS isn't all that necessary travelling along the Wine Route - in this case it's a new toy needing some more practice.  

Creekside welcome
Ravine Grocery
Château des Charmes
Pillitteri event started
Next, Creekside with their beautiful landscaped entrance then Ravine Vineyards where a film crew were setting up. I was told four weddings were taking place, I believe at various locations. Each wedding was to be filmed for a Reality TV program and each was to be voted as to which would receive a Honeymoon Vacation as a prize.  So I was told! My luncheon planned at the Ravine turned into a DIY sandwich, a sliced Sourdough loaf, a few slices of smoked cheddar and a diet Sprite from their Grocery store.

The next four wineries, Château des Charmes, Between the Lines, Pilliterri and Palatine went without incidence.

With a total of 28 wines 26 of which were reds I managed to reach my target.  

More picking to go

For those sampled and in general, Niagara reds have a unique style. Many have a delicate framework on which to hang a depth of flavours and textures. When done well most have an elegance and subtlety not found in bold imports. If comparisons (with imports) are attempted it's like me comparing my two sons - it's unproductive. Let`s say they're different and comparisons only get one into trouble.

Instead, Niagara wines should be explored for their individuality. Ratings for quality and value accompanied by tasting notes can still be meaningfully applied but with a focus on their personalities rather than Loire-like or NZ-like, etc.  I'd say following a winemaking process that works for an import doesn't necessarily work for Niagara red grapes. It starts with the grape which, I understand, is more delicate. With that delicacy imperfections can be more apparent and have to be accommodated each step of the wine making process. Value wines rated in the 90's don't come easily and can come with a higher production cost.  When everything comes together that wine is 'world class'.  Niagara wine making isn't for the novice - it needs the attention of a dedicated crew and, perhaps, is even an obsession.  That's my opinion anyway.

Salut, Ww

WINERIES VISITED - grouped by winery and wines sampled:

Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery: 

  • Beal Vyds Cabernet Franc 2004 VQA Niagara Peninsula   $15.95
  • McNally Vyds Proprietor's Reserve Pinot Noir 2010 VQA Niagara Peninsula    $24.95
  • Beal Vyds Reserve Merlot 2009 VQA Peninsula   $21.95
  • Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA Peninsula   $24.95

the Foreign Affair winery: 

  • Sauvignon Blanc 2008 VQA ?  (20% Appassimento)  $22.95
  • Riesling 2009 VQA ?  (30% Appassimento)  $24.95
  • Pinot Noir 2009  VQA ?  (40% Appassimento)   $44.95

Creekside Estate Winery:

  • Reserve Pinot Noir 2007 VQA St. David's Bench   $24.95
  • Broken Press Shiraz 2007 VQA St. David's Bench   $39.95
  • Broken Press Shiraz 2008 VQA St. David's Bench   $39.95
  • Undercurrent Shiraz.Malbec 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula   $32.95

Ravine Vineyard:

  • Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 VQA St. David's Bench   $39.00
  • Ravine Merlot 2010 VQA St. David's Bench    $34.00
  • Estate Cabernet Franc 2010 VQA St. David's Bench    $32.00

Chateau des Charmes: 

  • Estate Bottled 'Old Vines' Cabernet-Merlot 2007 VQA NOTL   $19.95
  • Paul Bosc Vineyard Equuleus 2010 VQA St. David's Bench   $40.00
  • Paul Bosc Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010  VQA St. David's Bench    $35.00

Between the Lines: 

  • Pinot Noir 2011    $14.95
  • Merlot 2009   $13.95
  • Cabernet Franc 2010   $15.95

Pillitteri Estates Winery:

  • Cabernet Merlot 2010  VQA Niagara Peninsula   $13.20
  • Merlot 2010  VQA Niagara Peninsula    $20.20
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 2010  VQA Niagara Peninsula   $20.20
  • Exclamation Cellar Series 200x (Not Released)

Palatine Hills Estate Winery:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon Proprietors Reserve 2006  VQA Niagara Lakeshore   $15.75
  • Merlot Proprietors Reserve 2006  VQA Niagara Lakeshore    $20.00
  • Merlot Proprietors Reserve 2007 VQA Niagara Lakeshore    $44.95
  • Merlot Cabernet 2010 VQA Niagara Lakeshore    $15.95

No comments: