On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Ontario Wine Reviews: 57 Wines from 23 Wineries

28 May 2020

Not all reviews make the newsletter, there's just so many good wines and not enough space ... so every three to six months (or so) I clear out the backlog of wines ... here are the reviews that were written but until now have never seen the light of day. 

(click on the wine name to link to the full review)

Lake Erie North Shore

North 42 Degrees 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Sparkling Extra Dry
Pelee Island 2018 Pinot Grigio, Lola


Niagara Escarpment

16 Mile Cellar 2016 Chardonnay, Rebel
2027 Cellars 2019 Pinot Gris, Falls Vineyard
Bachelder 2017 Chardonnay, Saunders – Haut Vineyard
Bachelder 2017 Chardonnay, Wismer-Wingfield Ouest Vineyard
Bachelder 2017 Pinot Noir “Les Villages”
Bachelder 2017 Pinot Noir, Wismer-Parke “Ouest Vineyard”
Bachelder 2018 Gamay Noir, Willms “Les Naturalistes” Niagara Cru

Cave Spring 2017 Riesling Estate
Cloudsley Cellars 2016 Pinot Noir
Cloudsley Cellars 2017 Chardonnay
Cloudsley Cellars 2017 Chardonnay, Wingfield Vineyard
Featherstone 2018 Gamay Noir
Featherstone 2019 Four Feathers
Featherstone 2019 Phoenix

Fielding 2018 White Conception
Flat Rock Cellars 2018 Riesling
Flat Rock Cellars 2018 Twisted Sparkling
Henry of Pelham 2018 Chardonnay, Speck Family Reserve
Henry of Pelham 2019 Pinot Noir
Kacaba 2017 Chardonnay – Barrel Fermented, Escarpment Series
Kacaba 2017 Syrah, Terraced Vineyard

Rockway 2017 Riesling, Fergie Jenkins
Westcott 2016 Pinot Noir Estate
Westcott 2016 Pinot Noir Reserve
Westcott 2018 Chardonnay Reserve
Westcott 2019 Chardonnay, Lillias
Westcott 2019 Riesling, Butler’s Grant



iCellars 2018 Chardonnay
iCellars 2018 Reserve Red
Marynissen 2019 Charmed, Heritage Collection
Pondview 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Burnt Ship Bay
Pondview 2019 Skipping Stone White
Trius 2019 Sauvignon Blanc


  Prince Edward County

Broken Stone 2018 Pinot Noir, Estate Grown
Karlo Estates 2017 Pinot Noir Estate
Karlo Estates 2017 Quintus
Karlo Estates 2018 Marquette, Property Grown
Lacey Estates 2016 Cabernet Franc, Lot 9


Other Regions & Virtual Wineries

Adamo 2015 Chardonnay, Oaked “Wild Ferment”
Adamo 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vines
Adamo 2016 Chardonnay Oaked, Barrel Select – Willms Vineyard
Adamo 2016 Pinot Noir, Lowrey Vineyard
Adamo 2017 Cabernet Franc, Huebel Grape Estates
Adamo 2017 Chardonnay Oaked
Adamo 2017 Gamay Noir Oak Reserve, Huebel Grapes Estates
Adamo 2017 Merlot, Lepp Embers Path Vineyard
Adamo 2018 Gamay Rosé
Adamo 2018 Legacy White
Adamo 2018 Pinot Noir Rosé, Underdog
Adamo 2018 Riesling, Lepp David’s Vineyard
Adamo 2019 Riesling
Adamo 2018 Sogno
Adamo 2019 Gamay Noir, Pet Nat
Adamo 2019 Malbrusco, Pet Nat

Windrush 2018 Pinot Noir Vintner’s Reserve




Avignonesi Tasting (in Italy)

16 May 2020

(February 2020) ... The winery was established in 1974 and is a proud supporter of the Montepulciano region and a staunch believer in its uniqueness … they are also great ambassadors for Italy’s first, and oldest, DOCG – before they even start to talk about Avignonesi, first they start at the beginning, the region itself.

The Region: Montepulciano …

Montepulciano is just 1200 hectares; the vineyards lie between 210 and 500 meters above sea level with the average being about 300m. There is a move afoot to call the wines “Nobile” to avoid the confusion with the Montepulciano grape (which is Italy’s second most widely planted red grape, next to Sangiovese).

The Winery Make Up … Avignonessi Sign

At Avignonesi they grow mainly Sangiovese (80%) along with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Canaiolo … and while Canaiolo is disease prone and tough to keep in the vineyard what it adds to the wine (soft tannins / deep colour) is worth keeping it around … it is similar to Merlot but it brings with it a sense of place and Italian origins.

Their production is about 600,000 bottles: 400,00 of Vino Nobile and 200,00 IGT wines. The property is 300 hectares in total … made up of 15 hectares of grain/corn and woods; 175 hectares of grapes, spread out between Nobile (100 hec) and Cortona (75 hec) plus 200 olive trees.

In 2015 Avignonesi started a single vineyard project with 5 different vineyards making 100% Sangiovese wines, 4000 bottles of each wine and comparing them to each vineyard … a true terroir driven experiment:

The Vineyard Project – vineyard characteristics …

Sopra – 40-year-old vines, clay-limestone and sandy soils, 380m above sea level, located in the Poggetti area.
Oceano – 20-year-old vines, 380m above sea level, high density planting, different vine shapes with less bunches per vine, clay-limestone-sandy soils, also in the Pogetti area.
La Stella – 20 years old vines, high density plantings, 250m above sea level, mainly clay and sandy soils, but also has an element of saltiness.
La Banditella – north facing southern vineyard with mainly clay soils and vigorous vines, 300m above sea level, and average vine age of about 25 years old.
La Badella – most southerly vineyard of Montepulciano, 15-year-old vines located at 300m above sea level and clay dominated soils.

The Project Wines Tasted (samples from the 2017 vintage) …

Sopra … ripe fruit with good acidity and structure, there is quite a bit of power on the palate in the form of tannins and fruit.
Oceano … delicate red fruits, soft and supple with an easy drinkability, delicate tannin structure, good acidity and a chalky-mineral note to the finish.
La Stella … a saline-like note is the backbone of this wine, there’s also a softness here, almost to the point of thinness, but there is some nice red fruit character that pulls the wine back from the abyss of being watery.
La Baditella … red fruit dominates, supple and elegant with nice acidity and good balance of fruit – very quaffable.
La Badella … hard tannins, ballsy dark fruit notes with a rawness and harshness that screams of cedar and high acidity clashing.

Cloud the DogFinished Wines …

2016 Nobile
100% Sangiovese, 24 months in barrel / 6 months in bottle. Big tannins and acidity with floral, red currants, subtle cherry and gentle oak nuances.  (*** ½+)

2015 Nobile “Poggetto di Sopra”
Fruit taken from 40 year old vines; aged 24 months in big barrels and tonneau – then 6 months in bottle before release: slight VA note, rich and robust and fairly harsh; needs time to round out.  (*** ½)

2016 Nobile “Poggetto di Sopra”
See above for age of vines and barrel aging: elegant and fruit driven with good acidity, smoky nature with good tannin structure – hints of anise, herbal and spice help to round this wine out … a true delight.  (****+)



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