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Wild blends, quirky varietals all part of the Vintages release on Saturday for Niagara wines


The Vintages release on Saturday features some wild blends, quirky varietals and a couple of go-to Rieslings from Niagara.

Here’s what to look for in the first release of July at your neighbourhood monopoly.

2013-02-17+10.11.02Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir “Droit” St. Davids Bench Vineyard 2010 ($17, 89 points) — CdC has the patent to grow and bottle this unique Canadian vinifera grape they call Gamay Noir Droit. It is made without oak aging of any sort. Such an earthy and unique offering on the nose with roasted meats, wet loam, dark fruits and rustic aromas that take a different turn in the mouth. Lovely currant, blackberry, cherry, savour-smoky flavours that are supported by well-defined tannins in the mouth of this personable, quirky varietal.

Lailey Impromptu 2010 ($45, 90 points) — A blend of Syrah (75%), Malbec (13%) and Petit Verdot (12%) from estate-grown fruit with each variety vinified separately. It is aged in French and U.S. oak, 33% of it new. It is tightly wound (or it was when first reviewed over a year ago), but still shows good Syrah fruit on the nose, with spice and wood notes. It has beautiful texture, firm tannins and fruit intensity in the mouth. It needs (and deserves) time in the cellar.

Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2011 ($24, 88 points) — The estate Riesling is always released a year ahead of the single-vineyard Rieslings. It’s a blend of the three vineyards and shows plucky grapefruit and lemon citrus notes on the nose with just a whiff of stony minerality. This all about the fresh and vibrant citrus fruit on the palate with a subtle wet-stone minerality streaming through the core.

2010-familytree-whiteHenry of Pelham Family Tree White 2010 ($18, 88 points) — Wow, a lot going on in this wild blend of Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Viognier and Chardonnay-Musque that sees some oak aging. The nose is expressive with peach-pear, vanilla cream, lychee, grapefruit and nutmeg aromas. The palate shows ripe and exotic flavours ranging from white peach to tropical fruits with integrated butterscotch-vanilla and cream notes. A white blend that stands out in a crowd.

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2012 ($18, 88 points) – There’s a lot to like here in this friendly Riesling. Aromas of fresh cut apple, citrus, honeydew, honeysuckle and riverbed minerality. It’s vibrant and doesn’t feel like there’s 20 g/l of residual sugar, with peach fruit and citrus the main players on the vibrant palate.

Southbrook Triomphe Organic Cabernet Franc 2012 ($20)

Ravine Vineyard Gewurztraminer 2010 ($22)

Wildass White 2009 ($20)

Cattail Creek Pinot Noir 2010 ($19)