Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A week of Ontario wine…day 2

Okay, now for day two of tastings featuring great Ontario wines. Today – Monday – featured Closson Chase Vineyards from Prince Edward County and The Organized Crime Winery from Beamsville in the Niagara Peninsula. Whenever anyone hears the name Organized Crime Winery, it almost immediately conjures up visions of Mafia and other organized crime entities but that is not even remotely the case with this winery. With The Organized Crime Winery, it is not Mafia but Mennonite who are behind the story of how this winery got its name. Straight from their website, here is the story behind the winery’s name…

Sometime in the early to mid 1900's there were two quarreling Mennonite congregations who disagreed about the acquisition of a pipe organ.
The feud resulted in one congregation breaking into the other church, stealing the organ, and then tossing it down an embankment. Hence the Organized Crime Winery name.

Before we get into the main tasting, I need to make one honourable mention. Winemaker, Andrzej Lipinski, has done something intriguing with Cabernet Franc. Normally he just says the wine has been oaked in Eastern European oak but due to the general conversation at the table that day, Andrzej indicated to me that the oak for the barrels he used came specifically from Poland. I do believe this is the first time I have ever heard of a Canadian winery using Polish oak. I was not even aware that Polish oak existed in winemaking circles but it certainly made for an interesting and intriguing wine. Unfortunately, for me and for those of you reading this, others have discovered how great this wine is and Krystyna, owner of the winery, informs me that the 2007 vintage is currently sold out. Hopefully the 2008 vintage will be available soon and we will be able to get our hands on it now that we are aware of its existence.

Now onto some amazing wines that really impressed me at the tasting…

The Organized Crime Winery 2006 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
$15.00 per bottle
This wine spent six months in new barrels developing some major tropical fruit aromas and a slight smokiness in the flavours. There is not much to say about this wine except that it has great complexity and a long, lingering finish. Absolutely yummy would be the way I describe this wine…

The Organized Crime Winery 2008 Sauvignon Blanc
$16.00 per bottle
Sauvignon Blanc is generally a fairly clear coloured wine but in this particular case, it is so clear it could be mistaken for water. However, that is the furthest one could ever imagine this as being water because one smell of this wine and one taste from this glass makes it very clear that this is Sauvignon Blanc. It has the typical aromas of gooseberry and lemongrass and a rather tart tasting palate. While it is very in your face at the beginning it almost immediately mellows out with some lovely, fruity undertones. This is definitely an EXTREME Sauvignon Blanc and one not to be missed.

The Organized Crime Winery 2008 Viognier
$16.00 per bottle
Like most Viognier, this wine has a very aromatic nose – figs, honey and some lemon make up the majority of the aromas. The palate has a major fruit component – tropical and stone fruit mostly – with a base of tartness to give it complexity. Although most Viognier go with a variety of fish and seafood dishes, if you want to pair this particular example with fish or seafood I recommend you go with a heavier fish or spicier version to make a good pairing.

The Organized Crime Winery 2007 Pinot Noir
$22.00 per bottle
This wine spent thirteen months in the barrel and has developed a great set of aromatics. There is a large fruit component to those aromas – berry, black cherry and a bit of earthiness to round it out. The palate has almost perfect balance between the earthy and vegetal flavours and the smooth tannins making this a bottle of wine that is ready to be drunk in the next year.

The Organized Crime Winery 2007 Download
$25.00 per bottle
Their version of a Bordeaux blend, this wine contains Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petite Verdot, which gives the wine some added complexity that most Ontario Bordeaux blends do not contain. The aromas are mostly cherry, plums and other black fruits and the palate is just amazing. There is great complexity in the flavours which is mostly the same as what is in the aromas with an intermingling of spice working its way through the wine. It is silky smooth, has slight tannins and a great backbone making the aging potential on this wine anywhere from one to four years.

The Organized Crime Winery 2008 Riesling Reserve
$28.00 per bottle
Personally, I love really aromatic, flavourful Rieslings and this is definitely one to add to that list. The aromatics encompass honey, figs, citrus and tropical fruit while the palate just fills up your mouth with similar flavours. It is seamless, with just a little bit of residual sweetness and it is a very food friendly wine. It is definitely one of the best wines to finish the day with.

Having completed the wines from The Organized Crime Winery, we now move on to the wines from Closson Chase Vineyards.

Closson Chase Vineyards 2007 County Pinot Noir
$38 per bottle
The aromas on this wine do not really do justice to the wonderful flavours you find when you take that first sip of this wine. Some minerality with fruity undertones and slight hint of barnyard are the main aromas here but the flavours elevate this wine to a new level. The tannins are firm and there is a good fruit base to this wine. This wine definitely still needs some time to develop but it should really be shaping up in the next 2-3 years.

Closson Chase Vineyards 2007 CCV South Clos Chardonnay
$39.75 per bottle
To make this wine, Deborah Paskus selected ten barrels that held wine from the south side of Closson Road. The result was a wine that had wonderful aromatics of fruit, toastiness, cedar and a slight hint of taffy. There is a slight thread of spice in the backbone of this wine, a slight hit of creaminess and a slight minerality which comes from these vines being deep in County soil for the last ten years.

That brings this blog to a close…stay tuned for more entries on the other great Ontario wines I tasted this week. If you are interested in getting your hands on any of these wines, please see below for ordering information:

The Organized Crime Winery
(905) 563-9802

Closson Chase Vineyards
(613) 399-1418
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