As any reader of this highly influential blog will know (insert funny sarcastic font) I have a penchant for Prince Edward County and its wineries. Often I take the quick drive out to the county to try some routine wines and discover a couple that I have not had before.
This particular trip we stopped at Huff Estates, Stanners Vineyard, Lacey Estates and Karlo Estates.
Our first stop was Huff – nothing new to me, I had been here countless times for both its ambience and frankly for their Merlot. They seem to be one of the few if not the only local vineyard recently who pull this off. But, that wasn’t the goal this time around. I wanted their county Pinot Noir and had to swallow my disappointment when I found that they had long sold out. A good second choice happened to be the 2016 Pinot Noir Reserve but it is from their grapes in Niagara. Not necessarily a bad thing – just not what I really wanted. It is tasty and had that expected berry tartness and earthy-dirty wet rock smell. Honestly it tasted great now but I’m going to put my purchase away for a couple of years for sure – and I am excited to see how it grows. The Riesling was an after thought as we sampled through wines. it was crisp and drier than others I was used to, and very pleasant.
Next, we were off to Stanners which I had only read about and in our countless trips I never stumbled upon this vineyard. regrettably. Wow did I love this place. Obviously a different league altogether than from resort-based vineyards this was the height of artistry. The Pinot Noir I bought (2014) is stellar. It is everything I wanted in a Pinot Noir and more. There are some amazing heavyweights in the county making small batch Pinot Noir and Stanners is among the elite here without a doubt. (On that note, they competed at the Judgement of Kingston and placed third among French Burgundy heavyweights – this speaks volumes to their quality and craftmanship.) I only wish I had discovered them earlier, but they will be a repeat trip.
Lacey caught my eye through some reading one evening before the trip and I was very curious to try their award-winning Cabernet Franc. It’s an incredibly hospitable place and their owners are social media savvy and attentive to requests. I have to say though that while I went for the Cabernet Franc (and it was brilliant) I was really amazed by their Dorland Reserve which contained some of their Cab Franc (30%) but also Cabernet Sauvignon (70%). It was a massively flavourful wine and an award winner in its own right. I am so glad I got to visit them for the first time. While the Cabernet Franc was rated basically a point higher than the Dorland was it really didn’t matter much to me, I think the Dorland is fantastic and hope to get back for more.
Karlo is nothing new to me either and actually it was primarily because Hubbs Creek across the road was closed. (Hubbs is one of my favourites by far and a small batch genius to be frank). Anyway Karlo is always a great spot and a giant variety of wines. They have a spectacular tasting set up both atmosphere-wise and pairing-wise. Also there is a really cool cat that saunters around! I have had many Karlo Estates wines and loved them all. I actually tasted their Marquette which was very interesting and really lovely. But, my instincts were to buy at least a Pinot Noir and their Triumvirate if available. I did in fact get the 2016 Lake on The Mountain Pinot Noir which was very good and entirely local. It will need a couple of years for sure but the base is ridiculously solid. They had their feature Pinot Noir but it was twice the price and I really wanted to grow my county collection basically at the same price point for future comparison. I also got my hands on the Triumvirate which tasted awesome. As its name may sort of suggest it is a blend of three grapes – Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot a nice classic Bordeaux blend – and it pulls it off solidly. While this may enjoy some time in the cellar I think its going to be uncorked a little sooner. It’s that good.
A bit late posting this but just had to share quickly before I forgot! I’ve long been a fan of Nederburg’s wines having been introduced to them by a friend who moved here from South Africa. It’s a massive company producing mainstream wines. Generally average price and well worth every cent. This particular wine really just popped into my line of sight recently. I had tasted the Shiraz’s, the Cab’s and the Winemaster’s line but this one seemed frankly too cheap to be true.
This 2015 56 Hundred line is a blend of Shiraz and Cab Merlot, which is pretty routine for Nederburg and it would appear it is for the value conscious and really just a quick and easy wine to serve in a group on a patio. Nothing big about it really but a solid taste for a backyard gathering. It was leathery and earthy and dark cherry-ish – nothing unexpected here, but the price.
So if you are looking for an 11 buck wine that packs a decent punch this is the one I’d grab in heartbeat. Click here for Nederburg’s flashy site!
Honestly until I checked my twitter feed over the last couple of days I would have never known there was such a thing as Garnacha Day or Grenache Day. You say tomato….
Apparently in 2010 there was a Garnacha conference and it was so decided that the 3rd Friday in September would become an international garnacha/grenache day! Screw those silly Beaujolais Nouveau drinkers and their 3rd November Thursdays, this shall be in the fall! And warm! Down with Gamay and up with Garnacha/Grenache!!!
I am a victim of marketing and peer (twitter) pressure so I rushed out and bought myself a Garnacha to partake in this “event”. I also did some reading on the “day” and the grape itself. Little did I know I had long been a fan. I had (because wine seems to always be in the past tense) quite a few Chateau-Neuf-du-Pape over the years. It was a birthday ritual that somehow ended about 5 years ago (Note to Self: Start this up again). I also have a nice Languedoc bottle waiting for the right day (which wasn’t yesterday).
So in the rush to grab a bottle I really didn’t spend much time looking around I literally grabbed the first one that I saw and it happened to be a $12 bottle of Borsao. Nothing special for sure, but above the label was a rating that is was a great value wine! Regardless there are so many better wines out there this was more to partake in the day rather than to experiment with better qualities. I can do that some other time. So off I went and grabbed some Spanish themed charcuterie for the event.
All in all even though it was a lower end Garnacha it was fun, very berry-like and sort of smoky. I enjoyed it with the meats and would grab it again for a BBQ or pizza to be honest. Good fun, I’ll have it again before next September!
This caught my eye at the LCBO (Ontario) at the end of an aisle. One reason being its intriguing name and label (Poe fan here), but more importantly it was discounted!
Now, I am not a huge fan of blends. I can’t tell you why, they just seem to confuse me, but this one was really, REALLY good. It’s called Deep Dark, and that may be a bit of a stretch as it is lighter than similar blends that have been promoted as “Dark”. I was never really sold on the Apothic Red/Dark thing – maybe on a very cold day in the winter I could be convinced, but I just found it way too heavy. If I wanted heavy and dark I’d spring for an Amarone. In any case, this wine is essentially like a wimpy Apothic Red/Dark – but in a very, very good way.
It took a bit of searching around but I did find that this wine is mirrored by another Deep Dark but made with British Columbia grown grapes as opposed to this one which is from the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario. I’d be very curious to see how it compares. I was scratching my head wondering who actually produced this wine as it was not to be found anywhere on the label. It took a bit of digging online but I did find a reference to Peller (Niagara) having made the wine. I really don’t know why that would not be apparent on the label but maybe that’s to build up the mysterious side, who knows.
Regardless, I will buy more as this was a super fun wine to taste, not sure why it’s discounted, maybe it’s reached its end of production but if you can get it, do so! I expected far less from this bottle than it delivered. This one I totally do not regret.
(Update: after speaking with the LCBO store I found out that this wine was not discounted across all stores, just the one I had visited as they were making shelf space by discounting wines that werent selling in their location).