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Happy birthday to us! Canadian Rosé roundup, plus reviews for Tawse, Redstone, Malivoire, Peninsula Ridge

Rick VanSickle

Nothing says Happy Canada Day like a great Canadian red or white wine, unless, of course, you can combine the two colours of our glorious country into one, like the melting pot we are, and pour yourself a lovely rosé from Ontario or B.C.

In that vein, we offer you a selection of newly released rosés from B.C. and Ontario tasted by Wines In Niagara in the last week or so.

Also in this report: We review new Niagara wines from Redstone, Tawse, Sketches of Niagara, Malivoire and Peninsula Ridge.

First, a mini rosé extravaganza:

B.C. Rosés

Mt. Boucherie Rosé 2019, Okanagan Valley ($22, 90 points) — An Okanagan field blend of Zweigelt, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer with a nose of summer strawberries, watermelon, raspberries, citrus zest and a pinch of spice. It’s bone dry on the palate with refreshing red berries, lemon zest and mouth-watering acidity through the finish. Glug, glug, glug!

Note: More Mt. Boucherie reviews coming soon.

Castoro de Oro Pinot Duetto Rosé 2017, Okanagan Valley ($9 for a 250 mL can, 90 points) — Packaging wine in cans is just a smart idea for those wanting to pack a cooler full of ice and wine and head to the beach, cottage or pool deck for summer chilling. Technology has advanced to the point where you can’t even tell the difference between a wine bottled in glass or can. This delightful canned rosé is a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc with an enticing nose of black cherries, fresh raspberries and wild Okanagan herbs. It’s a touch off-dry on the palate and big on flavours of red berries with savoury herb accents and plenty of juicy acidity on the finish.

Note: More Castoro de Oro reviews coming soon.

Township 7 Rosé 2019, Okanagan Valley ($25, 91 points) — A blend of Okanagan Cabernet Franc and Merlot with a pale salmon colour in the glass, the nose shows fresh strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb and citrus accents. It’s all nicely integrated on the palate with the full range of crushed red berries, subtle tannins and refreshingly dry through the finish.

Note: More Township 7 reviews coming soon.

Ontario Rosés

Fielding Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2019, Niagara ($26, winery, 92 points) — The estate Pinot Noir grapes for this rosé are purposely grown to achieve the style winemaker Richie Roberts is looking for. It was just released at the estate, and if last year is any indication, it won’t last long; he only made four barrels. It’s aged in neutral French oak barrels to give it texture and shows a light colour in the glass. It has a pretty nose of tart cran-cherries, brambly raspberries and floral notes. It has gorgeous texture on the palate and shows subtle red berries in a dry succulent style that is fresh from start to finish. Great job here on this second iteration of the top estate rosé. Highly crushable!

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé 2019, Niagara ($18, Vintages Essential, 87 points) — The blend for this rosé is 58% Pinot Noir, 20% Cabernet Franc, 9% Gamay Noir, 8% Merlot and 5% Cab Sauv. It’s a bit darker in the glass than the Redstone rosé below with a more forward nose of ripe cherries, brambly raspberries, watermelon, peach and citrus zest. There is some sweetness on the palate with confected red berries, peach and lemon zest on the finish.

Redstone Rosé 2019, Niagara ($18, Vintages Aug. 8, 89 points) — The blend is 50% Cab Franc, 25% Merlot and 25% Syrah. This has a pale pink colour in the glass and is a more subtle rosé on the nose with notes of strawberries, rhubarb, cherries, melon and just a hint of citrus. It’s a dry impression on the palate with succulent red berries, some juicy watermelon and a pinch of herbs on a vibrant finish.

Note: More Tawse/Redstone reviews below.

Malivoire Ladybug Rosé 2018, Niagara ($15, Vintages, 90 points) — The modern-day Ladybug is much lighter in colour and drier than its origins and more inline with today’s consumers’ tastes. The label has also been given a makeover with this vintage. It’s a blend of 65% Cabernet Franc, 27% Gamay and 8% Pinot Noir that has an inviting nose of field raspberries, strawberries, subtle citrus and herbs. It’s just a shade off bone-dry on the palate and made in a refreshing, vibrant style with succulent red berries, herbs and watermelon through an electric finish. It’s an every-day backyard rosé.

Note: More Malivoire reviews below.

Tawse, Redstone and
Sketches of Niagara wines

The whites

Tawse Lawrie Vineyard Pinot Gris 2019 ($27, winery, 89 points) — Sourced from the Lawrie Vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this highly aromatic Gris shows notes of peach, crisp apple, melon and fresh nectarine. It has a rounded texture on the palate with mouth-filling orchard fruits, pinch of spice and a juicy, dry finish.

Redstone Pinot Gris 2019 ($25, winery, 88 points) — Sourced from a selection of Niagara vineyards, including the estate Redstone Vineyard, this is a leaner style than above with more subtle aromatics of melon, citrus and apple. It’s also made in a super dry style with notes of apple pith and lime/grapefruit with a fresh, vibrant finish.

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Chardonnay 2017 ($20, Vintages Essential, 88 points) — Sourced from select Niagara vineyards and estate vineyards, this Chard was barrel fermented and barrel aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, 20% of which was new oak. This is a smart buy with a creamy nose of pineapple, pear, guava, lemon and toasty oak spices notes. It’s rounded and mellow on the palate with a creamy texture, juicy tropical fruits and pinch of citrus followed by toasted vanilla bean and oak spice notes.

Tawse Quarry Road Chardonnay 2016 ($37, winery, LCBO direct delivery, 93 points) — Planted in 1998 on mixed limestone and clay soils, the Quarry Road estate vineyard in the Vinemount Ridge sub-app is farmed organically and biodynamically. It was barrel-fermented with wild yeast and aged in French oak for 12 months (20% new). What a stunner, as usual, with a minerally nose of wet stones, pear, peach, honeycrisp apple, nectarine and elegant oak spices. It shows ripe, pristine stone fruits, lemon zest, flinty/stony minerality, gorgeous spice notes, lovely texture and depth though a lifted finish. Should cellar well for another 5+ years, but you should take note, Tawse likes to release its wines when they are ready to drink, hence the 2016 vintage.

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2017 ($19, Vintages Essential, 92 points) — This is the best Sketches of Niagara Riesling I have tasted with a complex and interesting nose of grapefruit, petrol, lime, tangerine and apricot. There’s tension on the palate between the sweet and tart fruit with flavours that range from sweet petrol to grapefruit, lime and apricot with tingling acidity through the bright finish. Off-dry, but balanced and ready to drink now unless you like those petrol notes amplified even more. Bravo!

Redstone Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ($22, winery, 89 points) — Sourced from select vineyards, including the Estate’s Limestone Ridge Vineyard, this stainless steel aged Savvy has a nose of grapefruit, herbs, peach, passion fruit and kiwi. It’s rounded on the palate with rich flavours of guava, passion fruit, grapefruit, fresh herbs and a touch of wet grass on a refreshing finish.

Redstone Gewurztraminer 2019 ($22, winery, 91 points) — Such an expressive nose of grapefruit, pear, potpourri, ginger, lychee and apricot. It’s honeyed on the palate with a fleshy, unctuous texture that highlights grapefruit, lychee, poached pear and ginger with enough acid to keep it all somewhat poised on the finish.

The Pinot Noirs

Tawse Quarry Road Pinot Noir 2017 ($36, winery now, 93 points) — The Tawse Quarry Road Vineyard on the Vinemount Ridge has yielded some spectacular wines over the years. Add this one to the list. The vineyard is farmed biodynamically and is organically and the wine spends 12 months in French oak, 20% of which is new. It has a beautiful nose of pure black cherries, cranberries, violets, forest floor and elegant spice notes. It’s rich and meaty on the palate with crunchy red berries, earth, anise, fine tannins, soft texture, minerals and length through a vibrant finish.

Tawse Tintern Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 ($45, winery now, 92 points) — Sourced from the youngest of the Tawse vineyards planted in 2010. It follows the usual oak regime — 12 months in French oak, 20% of which is new oak. It has an enticing nose of brambly raspberries, dark cherries, cassis, violets, cigar box cedar and spice. It’s rich and spicy on the palate with firm tannic structure and complexity and highlights red berries, some darker fruits, minerals and juicy acidity on a long finish.

A trio from Malivoire Wine

Malivoire Moira Chardonnay 2018 ($35, 93 points) — This hand harvested Chardonnay from the Moira Vineyard, the birthplace of Malivoire’s original wines purchased on the Beamsville Bench in 1995, was whole cluster pressed with half the fruit going to French oak barrels and the other half straight into stainless steel for fermentation and aging for 20 months. Just 62 cases were made. It has a lovely and enticing nose of creamy pear, ripe apple, stony minerality, spicy oak notes, buttered toast and vanilla. It’s rich and creamy on the palate and laced with wet stone minerality, ripe pear, quince, toasted vanilla/almond, elegant spice notes and touch of lemon zest on the finish. Really beautiful Chardonnay that I’m sure Moira Saganski, the wife of Martin Malivoire, will be very happy with.

Malivoire Stouck Viognier 2019 ($25, 90 points) — The Stouck Vineyard is just down the road from Malivoire, located on the north side of Highway 8 and therefore in the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-app. What a lovely nose of peach preserves, apricots, delicious apple, pineapple and nectarine. It’s ripe and broad on the palate with apricots, limes, nectarines, mineral and citrus zest on the finish.

Malivoire Cabernet Franc 2018 ($27, 91 points) — The fruit was sourced from the Wismer Vineyard on the Twenty Mile Bench with 95% of the juice aged in oak for 16 months and 5% aged in a ceramic orb. The nose leans more toward black currants, anise and blackberries than red fruits with earthy/brambly notes, lovely oak spices and subtle herbs. It’s supple and bright on the palate with plums, currants, anise/licorice, nutmeg/spices and a vibrant, juicy finish.

A pair from Peninsula Ridge

Peninsula Ridge Vintner’s Private Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($25, 90 points) — This wine was aged on its lees in French and American oak barrels for nine months and has a pronounced nose of bright citrus, grapefruit, kiwi/lime pie, tangerine and spice notes. It’s more rounded on the palate, more tropical with mango, spices, lime and grapefruit in the background. It’s quite lush through the finish but aided by racy acidity.

Peninsula Ridge Beal Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay 2017 ($25, 92 points) — This Chardonnay was aged on the lees in French and American oak barrels for 14 months and has a flinty/minerally nose of spicy pear, ripe apple, toasted vanilla and caramel. It’s rich and juicy on the palate with mouth-filling pear, apple, lemon zest, elegant oak spice notes and a juicy, finessed finish. A lovely Beamsville Bench Chardonnay.