Newsletter #282 - Thank You September

04 Oct 2017

 Newsletter #282 

October 5, 2017


  • WineReview: Thank You September

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

  • Weekly Wine Video SeriesA Recap of The Latest Videos

  • Ontario Wine UpdatesRe-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

WineReview:  Thank You September

What a difference a month makes ... Winemakers and grape growers are breathing a little easier after a hotter than normal September … if you read last month’s newsletter, written earlier in the month (Sept. 7), you know that Ontario, and particularly Niagara (Canada’s largest grape growing region) was facing some pretty tough conditions from a summer loaded with rainy days and lack of heat and dry days. Winemakers tried to put a brave face on it, but let’s face it; Niagara was in a tough spot.

As winemaker Adam Pearce of Two Sisters Vineyards remarked to me in late August: “The concern is will we have the degree days to fully ripen our Bordeaux varietals [Ed. Note: of which Two Sisters is exclusively planted].  Summer feels as though it is over, we will be hoping for a long, warm autumn.”  Well, it seems he got his wish – and the unseasonably warm conditions look like they will continue for Niagara well into October – which should be enough to rescue this vintage and raise it from catastrophic to (at least) good. Will grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah (and others that require longer hang times) be saved? Only Mother Nature knows for sure, but after tasting on-vine grapes with Adnan Icel at Icellars in Niagara-on-the-Lake (just this past weekend) I can say that Merlot is juicy and succulent, Cabernet Sauvignon still has a way to go and Malbec (yup he has two rows of that) is coming along.  Adnan was practically dancing down the rows of his vineyard while telling me about his recent Pinot Noir harvest, which he had just picked, it came off at just above 24 brix (three weeks prior he was struggling to reach 19 brix).

Kelly Mason, winemaker at Honsberger Estate, was giddy as a school girl as she looked over the Franc and Riesling vines growing on that property.  While grinning from ear-to-ear she said, “Amazing, these last few weeks have just been amazing for grape development.”  And Craig McDonald, head-winemaker at Trius, hinted that September could be what saves this vintage.

There’s still time left in this harvest seaosn and many have the words “let it hang” on their lips ... and while we are thanking September there is another entity we owe a debt to: so for all intense and purposes when you’re finally lifting a glass of 2017 vintage wine give a silent thank you to Hurricane Irma, who helped push the jet stream higher and helped out immensely in creating Ontario's heatwave; and while she devastated the Caribbean she saved our grapes … and that’s one positive outcome for us here in Ontario.


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

Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling - $29.95 (W, L)
2017 Tasting … Sure you could pick up a bottle of Champagne but why not pick up two of the equivalent and make the party last longer: toasty and biscuit with baked apple with a creamy mid-palate leading to a long luxurious finish; and for fun, see if anyone can tell it’s not Champagne, I bet they can’t.  Rating: ****+

Inniskillin 2016 Chardonnay Unoaked - $14.25 (W)
One of Inniskillin’s best effort in the unoaked Chardonnay field in years – aromas of melon, apple, peach and floral lead to a palate that screams refreshment: peach, apple and kiwi – sure it’s summery but it’s also great for those times in the winter when you want to remember summer (past and future).  Rating: ****

Meldville 2016 Chardonnay, 2nd Edition - $20.00 (W)
After winning the Ontario Wine Award for best Chardonnay under $20 Derek Barnett has big bottles to fill (so to speak) to duplicate the feat – and he may have gone one better with his 2016: 10 months in French oak and 100% full malolactic might all sound familiar from the 2015 specs … plus nice buttery nuances from nose to palate, and good acidity on the finish, but it’s the mid-palate that has it cranked up a notch: green apple, sweet peach, plus gentle but persistent spice … it’s all there: texture, balance and a long finish.  Might be even better than last year’s model.  Rating: ****+

Thirty Bench 2015 Chardonnay, Winemaker’s Blend - $19.95 (W)
A new addition to the Thirty Bench line-up, this is the wine that does not make it into the Small Lot, but does find a home here in a winemaker’s blend, and shows that even “discarded” wine can be something special. Hints of butter along with apple and spice finished off with the taste of caramel apple, but all balanced with that typical Ontario acidity.  Rating: ****

Trius 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon - $15.95 (W)
There is no way, for this price, this wine should be this good – but it is, and we here in Ontario benefit from it.  Instead of the details of how here are the details of what: chocolate-mocha lead things off with black cherry, vanilla and a silky, juicy finish that lingers with blue and black fruit.  Rating: ****+

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


See all the details of how you can get involved by clicking the image above

The Weekly Wine Video Series: A Recap of the Latest 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 #243 - Malivoire 2016 Small Lot Gamay (Niagara)
Video #242 - Two Sisters 2013 Cabernet Franc (Niagara)
Video #241 - Creekside 2014 Iconoclast Syrah (Niagara)
Video #240 - Lacey Estates 2012 Cabernet Franc (Prince Edward County)


National & International Wines Series ... 

Seven Falls Cellars 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington)
Vina Cobos 2015 Felino Chardonnay (Argentina)
Domaine Roche Audran 2012 Cesar (France)
Cono Sur 2014 20 Barrels Pinot Noir (Chile)

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Ontario Wine Updates Re-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds


Lost & Found: Jackson-Triggs 2011 Delaine Syrah
Taste it Again: Sparkling Wine Friday Chardonnays
Taste it Again: Wines on Canada Day 2016


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


PODCAST:  Two Guys Talking Wine ... NOW WEEKLY
Join me and my co-host Andre Proulx as we discuss all things wine, and sometimes we're not afraid to go off topic
Episode 61: Talkin' Wine Scoring
Episode 60: Talkin' with 4 BC Winemakers
Episode 59: Talkin' with Herbert Konzelmann (Legacy #7)
Episode 58: Talkin' is Riesling Passe


Vintages Release (blog)
Saturday September 30, 2017 - See it Here
Saturday September 16, 2017 - See it Here

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.

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