Niagara wines

By Rick VanSickle

Every thing is coming up white at the Vintages Niagara wine release this Saturday.

We can recommend a range of sparkling, Riesling, Chardonnay and rosé wines from the May 13 release.

Here’s what we suggest, plus a delicious Prosesso, for good measure.

Flat Rock Cellars Riddled Sparkling 2010 ($30, 92 points) — This is a traditionally made 100% Chardonnay sparkler that is aged on the lees for 5+ years in bottle before disgorging last spring. It’s fermented and aged in neutral oak barrels prior to blending and tirage in the spring of 2011 with a dosage of 12 g/l is added for balance. All that and finished with a cool crown cap for easy access. Not a lot of wineries are going to all this trouble for a well-made sparkling wine, but we are going to start seeing a lot more of them as the category gains traction with consumers. It possesses a lovely nose of brioche, yeasty-toasty notes, soft lemon and creamy apple with a mousse that starts vigorously then mellows into a gentle bead. It is fresh, lively and complex on the palate with pear and apple flavours, bright and zesty citrus and electric acidity driving the back end.

Chateau des Charmes St. David’s Bench Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 ($22, 89 points) — This Chardonnay, according to Chateau des Charmes, is made “the way Paul Bosc Sr. was taught to make it back in school in Dijon — barrel fermented, barrel aged with regular lees stirring.” It has a rich and concentrated nose of spicy pear, Meyer lemon, vanilla and toast, and baked apple notes. It’s lovely on the palate with juicy ripe fruit, elegant spice notes, minerality and a pinch of zesty citrus on the finish.

Vintages recommendations

David Hearn Limited Edition Chardonnay/Riesling 2015 ($18, 88 points) — Taking its cue from both the Chardonnay and Riesling, this first effort from Hearn and the winemaking team at Rockway Vineyards is a nice, refreshing blend with a nose of citrus, apple, peach and just a touch of ginger. It’s friendly on the palate with flavours of grapefruit, white peach and mineral with fresh and lively citrus on the finish.

Ontario winesFlat Rock Cellars Riesling 2015 ($18, 88 points) — Made from estate fruit primarily from a single block planted in 2004. The nose shows zippy lime, grapefruit and apple with mineral and a touch of ginger. It’s mouth-filling with river-rock minerality to go with rich apple, citrus, lime and grapefruit notes through the fresh and lively finish.

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé 2016 ($18, 87 points) — A blend of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Gamay, look for myriad aromas of strawberries, watermelon and grapefruit with a squirt of apple and lemon. It’s relatively dry on the palate with ripe red fruits and good acidity. Nice summer quaffer.

Also released Saturday, but not reviewed:

• Chateau des Charmes Brut Sparkling Rosé 2015 ($15 for 375 mL)
• Cave Springs CSV Riesling 2015 ($30)
• Inniskillin Reserve Riesling 2014 ($19)
• Konzelmann Late Harvest Gewurztraminer 2014 ($15)
• Fielding Estate Rosé 2016 ($16)
• North 43° Merlot 2014 ($15)

A Prosecco to try

Mionetto Prestige Prosecco Treviso DOC Brut ($17, 88 points) — A tasty and friendly Prosecco released this month. It shows bright apple aromas with a gentle, persistent bubble with subtle citrus and white flower notes. It’s fresh and lively on the palate with baked apple, lemon and a touch of sweetness on the palate. A wonderful summer sparkler.