Saturday’s Vintages release of Ontario wines features a couple of Bench Rieslings, a nice Pinot from Prince Edward County and stellar Burgundian red from Niagara-based, multi-regional winemaker Thomas Bachelder.
There’s also a trio of wines from Stoney Ridge reviewed at the bottom of this post featuring the new saignee-style rose that should work well all summer long.
Released Saturday at Vintages:
Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2013 ($24, 89 points) — Hidden Bench releases the regular cuvee Riesling a year before its single-vineyard wines. It’s a blend of Locust Lane, Felseck and Rosomel vineyards and displays a rich nose of lime, peach preserve, quince, minerals and honey. It has slightly more residual sugar but is balanced out by the racy acidity of the vintage. Hidden Bench owner Harald Thiel is pictured above.
Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2012 ($19, 89 points) — From the estate’s Limestone Vineyard South on the Twenty Mile Bench. The fruit from the Riesling in this vineyard is split between north and south with half going to Tawse and half going to Redstone. The nose shows penetrating notes of lime, grapefruit, quince and a lovely floral note. It’s round and succulent on the palate with honey-kissed grapefruit and lemon-lime flavours that find balance from the acidity.
Note: The Redstone winery is now complete and the retail facility is open. I am touring the winery and tasting on Friday with Tawse winemaker Paul Pender and will post photos, story and reviews of the new releases soon.
Rosehall Run Hungry Point Pinot Noir 2013, Prince Edward County ($25, 91 points) — A nose of swirling cherry, savoury spice, red plum and a core of minerality. It’s gorgeous on the palate, though shy at first, it opens up to brambly cherry-raspberry fruit, fine oak spice, layers of fruit and crisp acidity. Classic County Pinot Noir.
Bachelder La Petite Charmotte Nuits-Saint-Georges 2011, Burgundy ($59, at flagship stores only, 93 points) — The Thomas Bachelder style shines through all his Pinots from Niagara to Oregon to Burgundy. They are never overdone, always a sense of graceful power and finesse. This gorgeous wine shows fruits of anise, raspberry, ripe cherry and cassis with pretty floral and incense notes. The tannins are evident but smooth and the ripe fruits are bolstered by crunchy minerality and light savoury spice through a long finish. Buy, hold and enjoy years down the road.
Released Saturday but not reviewed:
• Lailey Unoaked Chardonnay 2013 ($15)
• Creekside Queenston Road Pinot Noir 2013 ($19)
• Raven’s Roost Pinot Noir 2013 ($23)
• Peninsula Ridge Beal Vineyard Cabernet Rose 2014 ($12)
• Peninsula Ridge Beal Vineyard Inox Reserve Chardonnay 2013 ($19, only in flagship stores)
Stoney Ridge new releases
Stoney Ridge Rose Saignee 2014 ($25, 89 points) — True “saignee” style where the fully-ripened fruit that’s destined for the 2014 estate-grown Pinot Noir is bled off until the free run juice reaches optimal colour. From there it’s made just like a white wine and the remaining skins and juice moved back into the red wine fermenter for the 2014 “Excellence” Pinot Noir to be released next year. Winemaker Jeff Hundertmark, above, likes to think of this as Tavel-style but with a touch of sweetness (10 g/l). It has pretty aromas of violets, raspberries, cherries and subtle herb notes. It’s clean and crisp on the palate with only 11% alcohol and a mélange of red fruits. I could drink this is all summer long.
Stoney Ridge Excellence Pinot Noir 2013 ($30, 89 points) — This Pinot is made from Pinot Noir grown in the vineyard on the estate. The nose shows cran-cherry, beetroot, raspberry, earth and spice. It is a complex and fruit-driven on the palate with soft tannins and integrated spice through a clean, smooth finish.
Stoney Ridge Excellence Meritage 2013 ($35, 90 points) — Perhaps the secret ingredient in this red blend is the Lot 66 Cabernet Sauvignon that Hundertmark was able to source from his former place of employment — Marynissen. The famous, old-vine vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake is now owned by the Wiens family, but Hundertmark was able to source some of the grapes for this wine that also has Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Twenty Mile Bench. It shows bright cherry, cassis, currants, plums and loads of spice on the nose. The palate reveals crunchy blackberry, dark cherry, cassis and plenty of ripe tannins, licorice and spice. Good cellar candidate.