Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Collection of Wine Reviews

Every now and then I try to look back over past wine reviews, pick out some of my favourites and repost them in a collective blog entry. This particular entry will focus on my favourite Ontario wines – some from Prince Edward County, some from Niagara and some from Lake Erie North Shore. If you happen to be a winery owner and would like to get in on these or other blog entries that I post, feel free to get in touch with me and I will give you the details on how to get wine to me so I can review them. In the case where these wines are older vintages, due to the consistency of these wineries, I highly recommend that you seek them out and try them – you will not be disappointed.

33 Vines Winery 2007 Cabernet Franc

Wines are few and far between where I can say “I Love that colour” – this particular wine is inky purple and you could easily just sit there admiring the shade and nuances but then you would be missing something much more spectacular.

The aromas scream blackberry jam, violets, currants with a slight herbal quality to the end. It begs for chocolate before we even taste the wine. Without the chocolate there is a hint of spice at the tip of the tongue. The flavours are mostly jammy but with currants and black fruit sharing the palate.

We tried to pair it with 65 percent chocolate which was a little too light. The conclusion was that it was a better pair with the 99 percent. If you are not a chocolate fan (I understand that some people are not) you could try pairing it with goat cheese. We had a cheese from Georgia called Drunken Goat that it paired with rather well.

33 Vines Winery currently does not sell their wines in the LCBO so if you would like to get your hands on this particular wine – and I highly recommend that you do – please contact the winery directly at:

Telephone: 613-373-1133

Bergeron Estate Winery 2007 Gamay Noir

Gamay is one of those grapes that is very light and a lot of people turn their noses down at. If you are not a light red wine drinker, 30 minutes or so open will change this wine immensely.
In the beginning (of the glass) there were aromas of currant, red berry and the palate had a bit of spice and hints of leather but it is predominately red fruit. At the very bottom of the glass, on the very last sip, something very earthy comes through - mushroom. If you let the wine air even longer there is a distinctive Chinese Gunpowder Tea present in the flavours.

This is one of those wines that works well with a variety of dishes - light goat cheeses, pasta with meat sauce, white fish. The list is endless so be creative and find your perfect pairing. Bergeron Estate Winery is another winery that is not available in the LCBO – which is something I appreciate about the smaller wineries – but you can pick up their wines at their retail store outside of Adolphustown. Free delivery is available to Kingston or contact the winery to place an order:

To order by phone please call 613.373.0181 or

Featherstone Estate Winery 2005 Estate Bottled Canadian Oak Chardonnay

The oak has been coming from the same farm outside of Brantford for the past four vintages but the cooperage house initially used to craft the barrels was not a perfect match. David Johnson, Winemaker, reworked the formula and ended up switching to a California based cooperage house which has resulted in a far superior Chardonnay using oak that comes from our fair lands.

The aromas are mostly pear with toasty undertones but every now and then you get a faint whiff of apples. The palate, although David admitted to the wine being over chilled at the time he served it to me, was extremely powerful with a lot of caramel and buttery notes. Equally predominant was the crème fraiche flavours which I am sure would have been even more powerful had this been served a few degrees warmer.

Featherstone Estate Winery does not sell any of their wines in the LCBO and there are no current plans to do so. To pick up any of their wines (please note the minimum bottle amounts and shipping costs), go to the following link and print out the order form:

Joseph's Estate Wines 2001 Cabernet Franc Icewine

Amazing light brown colour - like that of a Tawny Port.
Nose is strawberry, a bit of raspberry and some honey.
Palate is lots of honey with a slight hint of lemon on the finish. Has great balance and, despite this particular vintage, it shows no sign of Ladybug taint.
We have a theory that this would be great in an Icewine Martini. If you have a chance to try it out, let me know. To purchase wines from Joseph's Estate Wines, go to the following link for ordering information:

Lacey Estates Vineyard & Winery 2007 Chardonnay

Have you ever encountered someone who likes to eat steak but insists on drinking only white wine? I have and let me tell you - this is THE WINE for them.

Chardonnay is the most full bodied of white wines and this one more than delivers. Just enough creaminess to perfectly compliment the green apple and stone fruit flavours and aromas. It has this wonderful, slightly lingering finish that leaves you wanting more and more.

Aside from being a perfect partner to steak done on a summer BBQ, try mixing this up with Veal or Pork Tenderloin as well. Lacey Estates Vineyard & Winery just opened this past May so to get you hands on their amazing wines, contact the winery directly at:

Rosehall Run Vineyards 2006 Sullyzwicker VQA

An interesting blend of three grapes with an equally interesting name – 49% Ehrenfelser, 46% Riesling and 5% Gewurztraminer. Ehrenfelser was developed at the Geisenheim Research Station in Germany in 1929 and is, essentially, a frost resistant substitute for the Riesling grape. Due to the fact that it is a winter hardy version, it makes it a perfect grape to grow in the cold winters that Prince Edward County receive every year. The Riesling came from vineyards in both Prince Edward County and Niagara while the Gewurztraminer comes solely from grape growers in Niagara. All three grapes were fermented separately and than blended just before bottling giving this particular vintage a sugar code of 1 (or off-dry) and alcohol at 10%.

That 10% alcohol translates into a lighter, easy drinking white that is perfect by the patio or with light food dishes including seafood (I keep picturing grilled shrimp fresh off the BBQ) and grilled vegetables. As I carried my glass of wine upstairs with me tonight I kept getting magnificently strong aromas of flowers but with undertones of apple and peach. The flowery aromas carried over onto the palate where they mixed with a lot of mineral qualities that seemed to keep going on forever and ever.

Rosehall Run Vineyards is not available at this point in the LCBO so to get your hands on this wonderful wine, you can make a trip out to Prince Edward County between May and November, phone 1-888-399-1183 or e-mail Lynn Sullivan at

Smith & Wilson Estate Wines 2004 Frambuesa

The Spanish word for Raspberry is Frambuesa and that is exactly what this wine is! There are some wines out there that can only be described using one word – WOW! This is definitely one of them – a dessert style raspberry wine that will pair amazingly well with most kinds of desserts. Anything chocolate is highly recommended to pair with this wine but my favourite pairing is a glass of this with classic crème brulee. Available directly through the winery, in 500 mL bottles, this is one wine that should be bought and enjoyed frequently.
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