I’ve pointed to a few of the highlights from the release and added some other wines tasted recently including some new juice from Cattail Creek and Leaning Post (that’s winemaker and owner Ilya Senchuk in top photo).
Coming to Vintages Sept. 27
Southbrook Triomphe Sauvignon Blanc 2013 ($22, 88 points) — This wine is made from certified organic grapes and is “vegan friendly.” It has a lifted nose of lime and grapefruit with light grass and herb accents. It’s fresh on the palate with citrus, lime and herbs and delivered with a clean, mouthwatering finish.
Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Meritage 2011 ($20, winery, 88 points) — This red blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot shows raspberry, spice, cassis and earthy bits on the nose. It holds the fruit quite well on the palate and the structure is built around a bed of firm tannins.
Flat Rock Cellars Good Kharma Chardonnay 2013 ($17, 88 points) — Flat Rock made this wine to support the Ontario Association of Food Banks with a portion of the sales going to the association. It’s made in a ripe, opulent style with a nose of peach, tropical fruits, citrus and oaky spices. It has a lush feel on the palate with ripe fruits combing with soft spices but still enough acidity to keep it balanced.
King’s Court Wild Blueberry Sweet Fruit Wine 2010 ($18 for 375 ml, 90 points) — A nose of thick blueberry, currants and other sweet dark fruits. It is rich with concentrated blueberry and bramble with a touch of cassis and kirsch. Not crazy-sweet, but just right. A well-made fruit wine.
Other Niagara wines being released but not reviewed:
• Pillitteri Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2011 ($18 for 200 ml)
• Stoney Ridge Cranberry Wine 2011 ($18)
• Chateau des Charmes Paul Bosc Estate Chardonnay 2012 ($22)
• Henry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2012 ($18)
• Organized Crime Sauvignon Blanc 2013 ($19)
• Creekside Estate Laura’s Red 2011 ($20)
• Rancourt Meritage 2009 ($20)
Other Niagara wines recently tasted:
Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2012 ($22, release is TBA, 90 points) — A wonderful organic/biodynamic Cab Franc with a nose of bright cherry, sweet spicy oak, fine herbs and spice. The palate shows dominating rich cherry fruit to go with savoury spices, bramble and vibrant acidity.
Cattail Creek Estate Series Stainless Chardonnay 2013 ($15, LCBO, winery, 88 points) — A well-crafted unoaked Chardonnay that shows pure notes of pineapple, crisp apple, pear and citrus on the nose. Clean and fresh on the palate with apple and citrus that’s persistent through the juicy finish.
Cattail Creek Small Lot Series Cabernet Franc 2012 ($30, winery only, 91 points) — A gorgeous Cab Franc from the Four Mile Creek sub-appellation that has a nose of black currants, crushed raspberries, sandalwood, tobacco and violets. Such a mélange of fruit on the nose — raspberry, anise and currants — to go with cloves, cinnamon, cedar and herbs all bolstered by lovely tannins and juicy acidity. Drinking really nice right now but can cellar for up to five years.
Leaning Post Gamay 2013 ($25, 89 points) — I am now up to date on pretty much everything Ilya Senchuk has produced from his tiny winery in Winona, an exciting project that has grown from a virtual winery to a fully licenced facility (meaning he now makes the wine there and grows grapes) and tasting room. The last two releases in his 2014 portfolio, the Gamay and Syrah, round out a small but excellent selection of what Niagara does well if you source the right grapes in the right vintage. Senchuk also released a Merlot, both an oaked and unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling earlier this year. This Gamay, from Wismer Vineyard, is a fine example of what Gamay is all about. Made in a lighter style but jam-packed with cherry, raspberry and a lovely note of violets on the nose. The palate shows highly flavourful raspberry-cherry fruit on a silky smooth frame. Just chill this slightly and quaff.
Leaning Post Keczan Vineyard Syrah 2012 ($42, 92 points) — Just how Senchuk likes his Syrah: Northern Rhone in spirit but pure Niagara in essence. The nose is complex with white pepper, cassis, savoury cherry, roasted meats and bacon fat. There is a rustic feel to this wine on the palate, like old-school Syrah, with smoky-peppery notes, cherries, bramble, herbs, currants and firm tannins that will melt away with a) a good prime rib roast or b) sock it away in the cellar for a few years. Lovely.