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Tragically Hip — the wine — takes centre stage at Vintages release Saturday

STONEY RIDGE ESTATE WINERY - The Tragically Hip Release Limited

The Tragically Hip wine made by Niagara’s Stoney Ridge is finally arriving on Vintages shelves as part of the March 21 release.

The iconic Canadian rockers (with band members Rob Baker and Paul Langlois along with Stoney Ridge Estate Winery owner, Bob McCown and head winemaker, Jeff Hundertmark in top photo) created the premium Fully Completely Reserve Red 2012 to commemorate the Hip’s re-release of their legendary album Fully Completely and 2015 North American Tour.

The wine was co-created by band members Gord Downie, Langlois, Baker, Gord Sinclair, and Johnny Fay in conjunction with Hundertmark.

The wine is an ultra-premium VQA blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc from the acclaimed 2012 vintage and is a traditional Bordeaux-style red.

It quickly sold out at the winery when it was released at the winery last summer. The LCBO snagged an allotment to be released Saturday, which, I assume, will sell out quickly.

The bottle features an exact replication of the original artwork that first appeared on the Fully Completely album cover. Stoney Ridge Estate Winery was founded in 1985 and was purchased in the summer of 2013 by Canadian TV and radio personality Bob McCown of the fan 590 and Sportsnet Television.

“We are proud to partner with The Tragically Hip in continuing to raise the awareness and acceptance of premium Niagara VQA wines and we look forward to working with the Band, their legendary fan base and all Canadians on the distribution of their incredible wine.” said Barry Katzman, president of Stoney Ridge Estate Winery, at the time of the release.

“Over the years we have watched and tasted with enthusiasm as the quality of Niagara wines continued to increase and we are excited to be working with such an acclaimed, multi award winning winery in Stoney Ridge on the release of this premium wine,” said Langlois on behalf of the band. “We think people will be blown away by it.

That wine leads off our picks of the Niagara wines being released Saturday.


The Tragically Hip Fully Completely Reserve Red 2012 ($25, 90 points) — This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc shows off the warm vintage in Ontario in 2012. It has a bold nose of cherries, currants, cigar leaf, spice and blackberries. It’s rich on the palate with an array of red and dark fruits, interesting spice notes and a smooth delivery.

vineland-estates-elevation-st-urban-vineyard-riesling-2012-207271-label-1408453189-197x300Vineland Estates Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling 2012 ($20, 93 points) — With this release of the Elevation St. Urban Riesling, Vineland has merged two classic bottlings at the estate into one. It is a beauty and, in my mind, the best St. Urban at this level I have tasted. Classic limestone minerality is the first note on the nose followed by grapefruit, citrus, and a touch of peach skin. It is simply gorgeous on the palate with fresh, pristine citrus-grapefruit, river rock minerality and light peach notes that are delivered on a taut and electric backbone of searing acidity. Power and complexity will serve this Riesling well for many years to come.

13th Street June’s Vineyard Chardonnay 2013 ($20, 90 points) — Such an interesting expression of unoaked Chardonnay from this personable, distinct vineyard. A nose of pear, apple and lovely wet-stone minerality. There’s a creamy feel on the palate with apple and pear fruits bolstered by subtle notes of almond paste, stoney minerality and refreshing, mouth-watering acidity.

2010-pinot-noir-traditionDomaine Queylus Pinot Noir Tradition 2011 ($30, 89 points) — A lighter style than the 2010 with bright red fruits, bramble and spice. The tannins provide good structure that plays nicely with the persistent red fruits, touch of cassis and wood spices.

Coyote’s Run Black Paw Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 ($33, available at flagship Vintages stores only, 91 points) — The heavier, dark Toledo clay loam of the Black Paw Vineyard is more common in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is (relatively speaking) a newer soil (15,000 years old) that was formed from lake-bed deposits from glacial Lake Iroquois, the same lake that carved the Niagara Escarpment. The Toledo clay contains more organic matter than the Trafalgar clay, and as a result, this soil holds more water and has higher heat retention. It’s quite tricky to grow vines on this soil, but the resulting fruit develops distinct character. The nose shows concentrated black cherry, violets, cassis, strawberry with subtle spice and foraged morels. I love the balance on the palate to go with complexity and layers of interesting fruit and spice. More evident tannins here than the Red Paw. Funky Niagara Pinot with its own unique personality.

Also released, but not reviewed:

Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay Musque 2013 ($16)
Fielding Estate Riesling 2014 ($19)
Organized Crime Chardonnay 2012 ($20)
Flat Rock Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling 2013 ($20)
Pondview Reserve Cabernet/Merlot 2012 ($19)