Newsletter #265 - The 411 On Canadian Wine

22 Oct 2015

MichaelPinkusWineReview Newsletter #265

            October 22, 2015

  • WineReview: The 411 On Canadian Wine

  • Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch: New & Noteworthy Wines

  • Weekly Wine Video Series:  A Recap of The Week in Videos

  • Ontario Wine UpdatesRe-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

  • Grape Guy Events:  Make The Most of Your Trip to Wine Country

WineReview:  The 411 On Canadian Wine

It seems like it has only been a few years ago (but maybe it’s more now) we had three national wine magazines – since then one has closed up shop – but they had one of the most innovative editions of all three magazines: The Canadian Winery Annual.  In that edition they wrote up every winery that populated this country … Now, because wineries seem to be popping up all the time, I am sure it was out of date the moment it hit shelves, but it was a good snap shot of what was going on winery-wise in Canada; but since the shuttering of Wine Access, no magazine has really taken the time to give us a look at how the wine industry is doing here in Canada winery by winery … until now.

I have been following the progress of the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) for some time now, as they have been putting together the Canadian Online Wine Directory – and finally on September 22 they announced, and launched, it – to surprisingly very little fanfare. If you’re a wine-lover in this country this is a site you should bookmark and check often (if you’re a winery you should make sure you’re part of the directory).  The directory boasts “800 grape and fruit wineries as well as cideries and meaderies”, broken down by province and, in the cases of Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario, by regions.

From this new website-directory I learned that British Columbia has 265 wineries spread out over 18 regions, while Ontario has 184 in only 8 regions, and surprisingly Quebec has 136 in 9 regions (who knew they were so prolific).  Manitoba has the least with only one, while Nova Scotia has the most outside the big three with 18, and who knew that Alberta has 6 and Saskatchewan has 2 (what are they making out there, wheat wine?)

According to numbers from the CVA there are “more than 3 million visitors to Canadian wineries annually” which impacts the economy to the tune of 6.8 billion dollars from grape wine alone – again, take note that these numbers don’t take the fruit and mead producers into account.

Part of the press release reads as follows:

“Few, if any countries in the world have a resource like, which is a user-friendly, visually impressive directory and intended for use by wineries, travellers and anyone interested in Canadian wineries and wine regions. It is organized by province and geographical region, providing winery contact information, production volumes, varietals and awards received, as well as consumer-friendly data on visitor facilities, social media links, wine club information and more. 

“While there is no cost or membership requirement for wineries to have a listing on; wineries are requested to review their information for accuracy.”

I would have to say I was pretty impressed with the website and its ease of navigation.  Check out and get hooked on learning about where wine is being made, and where to take your next wine-cation in Canada. 

Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch:  New & Noteworthy Wines

Big Head 2013 Chenin Blanc - $22.00 (W)
There is no one more a proponent of Chenin Blanc in Ontario than Andrzej Lipinski … he makes such delightful Chenin you wonder why more people aren’t flocking to make one as well.  For Andrzej the fermentation of this grape takes a whopping 7 months, using wild fermentation practices, but the results are truly magical.  Aromas of floral, pineapple and peach lead to a palate that shows off that pineapple, peach with mineral backing – very seductive and sexy, it’s truly summertime in a glass; also a winter wine for how it’ll bring you back to summer.  Price:  $22.00 – Rating: ****+

Coyote’s Run 2014 Pinot Gris, Estate - $19.95 (W)
Damn it, I’m almost sure Jeff Aubry (owner) instructs Dave Sheppard (winemaker) to make a Pinot Gris to prove me wrong. I am always saying that Pinot Gris is one of the most boring and bland grape varieites, but Aubry and Sheppard are on some kind of mission to prove that maybe there is something special about this grape.  Fifty percent of this Pinot Gris saw five months of neutral oak, which has helped to really round out the mouthfeel.  Aromas are grapefruit, peach pit and lime zest while the palate has a certain richness yet with balancing acidity along with some spice notes that do spark some interest … and yes there’s a hint of sweetness in the middle, but that white pepper finish really brings this Gris into the realm of BANG! Instead of BLAH.  Price: $19.95 – Rating: ****

Creekside 2014 Riesling, Marianne Hill Vineyard - $21.95 (W)
If you’re gonna take an 8 year hiatus from making Riesling you’d better come back into the game with a big splash – and Creekside has done just that. This beauty is lively, zippy, zingy and all together what the doctor ordered for a comeback.  Nose has lemon and pink grapefruit playing amongst the peach, apricot and delicious apple.  On the palate there’s an amazing acid to sweetness ratio and the fruit is of the apricot, white peach and green apple variety.  This one’s really beautiful from start to finish; and speaking of finish you’ll find a little lemon drop amongst the long apricot and green apple in that lengthy linger … not perfect but damn close.  Price: $21.95 – Rating: **** ½+

Karlo 2012 Gilmour ‘Corazon’ - $23.00 (W, L)
As a Habs fan I never thought I would ever say anything nice about Doug Gilmour (even though he did play for my team in the twilight of his career), and if I had to admit, my hand is hurting to write these words; but when Richard Karlo and Dougie got together they knew they were on the same page: wine-wise.  This Bordeaux-red with its Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc has a spiced cherry/cranberry nose with plenty on the palate to keep you interested: raspberry, black cherry, spice, cassis, anise seed, tobacco … the list goes on. There’s a complexity here with plenty of nuance as well as overt fruit and some secondary characteristics which it picked from the 3rd to 6th fill barrels it aged in; so as not to overwhelm the fruit with new oak; though there does still seem to be some woodiness on the finish.  This one shows elements of ageability for a good long career in your cellar.  Price: $23.00 – Rating: ****

Southbrook 2012 Chardonnay, Whimsy! “Minerality” - $34.95 (W)
A well named Chardonnay because it’s the minerality that really carries this wine.  41% new oak in a warm vintage has helped with the freshness of this wine which has lots of peach, apple and apricot notes; mid-palate is where the minerality really kicks in and drives the palate-train to the finish.  This is a real winner of a Chardonnay especially for those Riesling drinkers who’ll dig on those stony-mineral aspects they love within a Chardonnay.  Price: $34.95 – Rating: ****

Vineland Estates 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Elevation: Bo Teek Vineyard - $19.95 (W)
While I doubt we’ll ever get as prolific with Sauvingon Blanc as the Kiwis it is good to see that there are times Ontario can hold its own with this grape.  Here the nose is full-on grapefruit zest and pith with some grassy notes … the palate shows a real zip with its high acidity where both the grassy and citrus comes through and a touch of minerality tying it all together … good citrus-style fruit, zippy, zingy and refreshingly mouthwatering; what more do you want from your Savvy B.  Price: $19.95 – Rating: ****

Availability legend:  W (Winery) – L (LCBO/Vintages) –  OL (On-Line)

Get the FREE Grape Guy Events App - Plus there are plenty of prizes to be won ...

 Get FREE the Grape Guy Events App - Plus there are plenty of prizes to be won

The Weekly Wine Video Series: A Recap of the Week in Videos

The Weekly Wine Videos
Every week I'll introduce you to another fabulous wine that you've just gotta try – Check out the YouTube Channel Now

Weekly Ontario Wine Videos

Video #148 - Calamus 2012 Merlot (Niagara)
Video #149 - Bench Trial Wines 2010 Subpoena (Niagara)

Subscribe to the YouTube channel by clicking here

Ontario Wine Updates Re-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

Taste it Again / Lost & Found (blog):  the two blogs have merged
(Find out what happened to some favourites and to those that never were tasted) 
Taste it Again:  Pondview 2009 Bella Terra Cabernet Franc
Lost & Found:  Hillebrand 2007 Showcase Pinot Noir, Clark Farm

Uncorked Tonight (blog)
When it’s not an Ontario wine, here’s what I’m pulling out of the cellar
New Posts Added

Vintages Release (blog)
October 17, 2015 - Available Now
October 31, 2015 - Available Now

 GRAPE GUY EVENTS Spotlight:  Make the Most of Your Trip to Wine Country

Grape Guy Events, highlights from the APP - points to be had:

Three new winey partners will be joining Grape Guy Events this month, look for their events on the app coming soon.

And look on the app for more tasting events from our current partners: Southbrook Vineyards, Flat Rock Cellars, Mike Weir Estate Winery and Stoney Ridge.

Don't have the APP? Click here to get it, it's FREE and you could win some great prizes just for downloading.

Want to become a partner in Grape Guy Events? Contact Michael Pinkus or Glen Brown directly.

OntarioWineReview’s bi-weekly newsletter is devoted to the love, enjoyment and promotion of the wines of Ontario and the wineries that make them.

What can the Grape Guy do for you … Michael Pinkus (Grape Guy) provides a variety of wine related services that you might be interested in taking advantage of:  he gives lectures, leads seminars, conducts tastings, sets up tours; consults, selects and judges.  He also gives interviews, broadcasts, podcasts and writes.  Contact the Grape Guy if you require any of these services or have any questions.

Psst, Pass It On
… keep the good wine flowing. Forward this newsletter to your mom in Milton, your son in Smith Falls, or any other family member or loved one that you know needs good wine advice.

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