(2023) It's around a decade since I had a big wine touring professional trip to Ontario, but having returned on holiday late in 2023 I discovered just how much the wine industry on the Niagara Peninsula had grown, and how good the wines were. Here's a Niagara Pinot were whole clusters where wild yeast-fermented before 23 months in French oak. And it is a lovely wine: pale and almost translucent, sous-bois and cherry, a gentle smokiness and a sappy touch of something herbal to add interest. In the mouth the coffee character from the barrels gives a really gentle and dark underpinning to the fruit. Tannins are elegant and acidity well-balanced, in a rather lovely Pinot.
(2020) Icewine is a realy Canadian speciality, the grapes harvested in sub-zero night-time temperatures so that much of the water content is dispelled when the fruit is pressed, leaving a super-sweet, thick and unctuous dessert wine. This is a very good example, made from Vidal which always gives a warming, golden, honeyed aroma of ripe apricot, here the engine-oil thickness of the wine on the palate sweet and exotic, like the ripest mango and lychee, a burnished toasty background, then very good lime jelly acidity to balance. A great wine in half-bottles, for very sweet desserts or to sip on its own after dinner.
(2014) Dense, crimson stuff from Ontario with lots of ripe black fruit appeal - cassis and plum with a touch of tobacco. The palate has sweetness and juiciness - this is like a big spoonful of blackcurrant jam, dipped in a pot of espresso, finishing with sweetness and still enough structure.
(2006) This 'mini-icewine' is harvested very late, well into the thick of winter frosts. It has lifted, glacial and sherbetty aromatics, with fine lemon and peachy sweetness on the palate.
(2006) A Bordeaux blend produced only in exceptional vintages, this has minty black fruit and a touch of silage on the nose, with real spice, flesh, grip and structure on the palate.
(2006) This Bordeaux blend has a complex nose with bloody notes, a cedary, meaty quality and a plush depth of cherry and raspberry fruit. Structured yet approachable, with fine balance.
(2006) Aged in American oak and with 15% Cabernet Franc in the blend, this is a big, spicy, crushed velvet style of wine, with masses of raisiny sweetness and a liquoricy, mouth-filling finish.
(2006) Very delicate colour and an earthy nose with touches of bracken and truffle, and redcurrant fruit. Soft, sweet, raspberry fruit on the palate with good balance and a savoury finish.
(2006) A Bordeaux blend aged in a combination of French and American oak, this has a cedar, black cherry and chocolate nose with a deep, plummy, bittersweet fruitiness and good length.
(2006) Spice, cracked pepper and schisty minerals join with a cherry bubblegum character in an intriguing wine. Finely honed blue/black fruit in the palate is lip-smacking and delicious.