One e.mail scheduled a sampling of the wine for the next Saturday.
Traffic was light, the weather was sunny and warming - I arrived in Jordan an hour early. Three things used up the hour - a visit to Cave Spring to purchase a few favourites, searching for the winery without signage then meandering the fenced grazing land where pigs, cows, chickens and ducks do what comes useful for natural vineyards. I arrived on time for my tasting of the Riesling, now known as 'Black Ball', at the Pearl Morissette Estate winery.
Small enough to measure the quantity of cases bottled for a label between 100 and 1000 the Pearl Morissette website describes their vineyard care and winemaking protocols with an obvious sense of pride and fidelity to the craft. Having recently shown wines at the RAWFair in London (May 18-19 2014) each of those submitted had documented compliance with the RAW regimen confirming their strict adherence to 'sustainable' and 'natural'. And on entering the Pearl Morissette winemaking cellar by comparison its more than modest, a postage stamp among fermentation warehouses on the Niagara landscape.
During the tasting at the winery all wines appeared clear.
The result of my tasting of the 'Black Ball' Riesling at home is included as part of my tasting notes below. Meanwhile pour a bottle and form your own opinion - on second thought read my initial notes first.
- Cave Spring Estate Bottled The Adam Steps Riesling 2012 VQA Beamsville Bench, 90-1 -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $22.10
- Cave Spring Dolomite Riesling 2012 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 86 -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $15.02
- Cave Spring Dolomite Pinot Noir 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 86 -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $19.45
- Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay Musqué 2011 VQA Beamsville Bench, 81 -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $14.14
- Btl 1: Pearl Morissette Estate Winery Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 2009 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 85 -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $35.60 (185 cases)
- Btl 2: Pearl Morissette Estate Winery Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 2009 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 82 -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $35.60
- Btl 1: Pearl Morissette Estate Niagara Vineyards Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 2011 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 83 -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $31.17 (777 cases)
- Btl 2: Pearl Morissette Estate Niagara Vineyards Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 2011 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 83 -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $31.17
- Btl 3: Pearl Morissette Estate Niagara Vineyards Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 2011 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 85 -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $31.17
- Btl 1: Pearl Morissette Vignobles du Niagara Riesling Cuvée Black Ball 2011, NR -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $23.21
- Btl 2: Pearl Morissette Vignobles du Niagara Riesling Cuvée Black Ball 2011, 84 -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $23.21
- Btl 3: Pearl Morissette Vignobles du Niagara Riesling Cuvée Black Ball 2011, 81 -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $23.21
- Btl 4: Pearl Morissette Vignobles du Niagara Riesling Cuvée Black Ball 2011, 86a -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery $23.21
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)
The last visit to Cave Spring was in August 2012 . The 2010 vintage of the Dolomite Riesling (84), the Pinot Noir (86) and Chardonnay Musqué (88) were tasted at that time. New to this visit is the Adam Steps Riesling 2012.
CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED THE ADAM STEPS RIESLING 2012 VQA Beamsville Bench, Jordan, Ontario, 11.0% D 22g/L, #Winery $22.10 (Tasted May 30, 2014)
Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014. My notes: Poured at 11oC the colour is a crystal clear mid yellow and the nose has a citrus mineral fragrance hardly noticeable on first sniff. A swirl leaves a thin coating that separates quickly into lacy patterns and then small nodules. Sipping brings out a soft lime flavour with a bright acid accent and modest chalk for a long extra dry finish. Medium-bodied, tang and a touch of sweet provides a liquid amuse bouche before a seafood entrée or as a sumptuous sipper on the summer patio. 90
CAVE SPRING DOLOMITE RIESLING 2012 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Jordan, Ontario, 11.5% D 15g/L, #Winery $15.02 (Tasted June 8 , 2014)
Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014. My notes: Crystal clear with small bubbles layering the glass on the pour and a pale yellow with a slight green hue. A fresh, must be the chill, nose without aroma and a hint of sweet balanced with a light tartness frames the first sip tantalizing the taste buds with a perceptible lime/lemon then warming the throat for a mildly unctuous finish. A mineral dryness grows with each sip although not to the degree of previous vintages. A patio sipper with pigs in a blanket, bruschetta, cheese & crackers or pair with seafood dishes: coconut curry mussels could add an interesting contrast. A drink now. 86
CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2011 VQA Beamsville Bench, Jordan, Ontario, 13.5% D 2.5g/L, #Winery $14.14 (Tasted June 6, 2014)
Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014. My notes: A year earlier vintage at the winery than in Outlets. A mid yellow colour, clear and bright. A fairly thin film quickly fragmenting from a jagged rim until only minor lacework remains. A nose of green apple and grassy spice having a chalk dry texture going into a long finish - may be acceptable as a sipper for Chardonnay lovers. For others it needs to be paired with sweet & sour seafood or Thai chicken. A drink now. 81
CAVE SPRING DOLOMITE PINOT NOIR 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Jordan, Ontario, 13.0% D 6g/L, #Winery $19.45 (Tasted June 8, 2014)
Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014. My notes: Light but with enough body to pair with slices of pork tenderloin, rice and spinach drizzled with miso sauce. The bright cherry colour glows with a swirl that leaves a thin film to recede quickly from a light rim. A sensual musk edge to a red currant and rhubarb aroma is a pleasing forecast of a tingling tannin that lasts through a long dry fruity finish. Cellaring may add some silk to an already elegant red. Difficult to pair so I'd suggest sipping solo or with a tray of vanilla wafers. 86
PEARL MORISSETTE ESTATE NIAGARA VINEYARDS CHARDONNAY CUVÉE DIX-NEUVIÈME 2011 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Jordan, Ontario, 13.5% XD xg/L, #Winery $31.17 (777 cases)
Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014. Btl 1: My notes: (Tasted June 4, 2014). A clear mid yellow that swirls a thin film with a ragged rim and several moderately flowing tears. At 10oC a sniff reveals minimal nose and the first sip has a mild grapefruit/apple/pear flavour, nicely tart, a just-noticeable cream then a chalk dry finish and replacing any remaining fruit with a mineral note. Still minimal nose at 15oC. A different sipper for those accustomed to mild and dry. Pair with grilled shrimp or scallops or potato latkes with smoked salmon. Drink at room temp. 83
Btl 2: My notes: (Tasted July 21, 2014). My notes: Clear in the glass. Same colour, nose flavours and a creamy soft texture ending dry. A distinct sipper that could be an acquired taste. We're having this bottle with chicken-a-bobs, sugar peas and risotto. A soft match and went well. 83
Btl 3: My notes: (Tasted July 30, 2014) The film leaves a fragmenting rim and long tears. Minimal fruit on the nose with a mild acid to waken the nostrils. Temperature on first pour is 14oC and a cool swallow freshens with blended pear, apple, herb and an underlying hint of vanilla quickly vanishing. The texture is smooth, medium-bodied, coats the palate and leaves a toasty dry finish. Altho a flavour not preferred a satisfying sipper as well as meal white - a drink now to several years. 85
PEARL MORISSETTE ESTATE NIAGARA VINEYARDS CHARDONNAY CUVÉE DIX-NEUVIÈME 2009 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Jordan, Ontario, 13.5% XD 6.5g/L* #Winery $35.60 (*less than 2g/L on website)
Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014. The empty weighed in at 1.5 lbs twice normal of .75lbs. Btl 1: My notes: (Tasted May 30, 2014) A hint of tawny for a regal mid golden colour and except for a light oak scent no discernible nose from 12oC to 15oC. The film is thin but enough to leave a rim with lacework and a few long legs. There's a light silk feel to the first sip accompanied by a delicate peach stone flavour, a refreshing lemon edge and a mineral layer that follows the fruit into a long extra dry finish. Still has some youthfulness but likely at or near peak. A meal white to be paired with lightly seasoned whitefish: tilapia or cod on basmati rice with a side of fresh vegetables. 85
Btl 2: (Tasted August 26, 2014) A deep gold clear and bright with a soft butter aroma and a touch of tang. The film sticks then recedes as a fragmenting rim, a few tears but fairly clean on the glass. A light tang coats the tongue then throat spreading a moderate warmth into a long dry finish ending with a light chalk. A unusual terroir or perhaps more the winemaker's process and an acquired taste - not for me. Not a sipper - have with a buffet selection, hard cheeses and crackers or bruschetta, mini sausages, stuffed mushroom caps. Sufficiently moderate to pair with fresh water fish, cod, tilapia or scallops. We had with flavourful roasted pork chops and veggies. 82
The Black Ball Riesling 2011:
PEARL MORISSETTE VIGNOBLES DU NIAGARA RIESLING CUVÉE BLACK BALL 2011, Jordan, Ontario, 11.5% XD 2.0g/L, #Winery $23.21
Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014. Ontario’s VQA tasting panel had said as well as being 'atypical' there was 'perceived leesy notes, oxidative flavours and aromas, dullness, as well wispy sediment'. Each tasting served at the winery was 'clear' in the glass.
|2: Sediment in one glass - 24 hr|
|3: Cloud on pouring|
Btl 3: My notes: (Tasted June 3, 2014). Poured showing less spritz carrying an amount of fine sediment blurring slightly its clarity. The colour and sparse nose is similar to btl 2 with film, texture and flavour also consistent. The finish is tart, long with a mineral dryness ending on a bland note. Less of a tooth cleaner and with an indistinct fruit level this bottle had little interest as a sipper - and was difficult to pair with a meal. I suggest decanting, cooling for several hours then tasting before serving. 81
Btl 4: My notes: (Tasted June 11, 2014). Crystal clear with tiny bubbles gradually reducing to a few streams slowly rising. The colour is a mid yellow and the nose has a soft aroma of ripe MacIntosh apples with a tangy edge. The first sip is extra dry parching the palate with some lime mostly lemon flavour, no detectable sugar. A refreshing sipper leaving a faint warmth through a long mineral finish. Pair with seafood, sliced fried chicken or Guinea Hens stuffed with rice and mushrooms. Short term cellaring may smooth or integrate textures and flavours - I'd try three years. Aerating removes a considerable amount of fizz and smoothes the texture. Overall an acquired taste. 86a