Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Taste Ontario 2013 !

  Once again it was a great display of Ontario wines and vintner expertise at the Taste Ontario! media event held on February 11 2013 at the National Art Gallery on Sussex drive in Ottawa. It may have been freezing rain, ice pellets and snow outside but inside the atrium at the NAG everyone was all smiles while tasting some exceptional Ontario wines.  I managed to sample some wines plus talk with a few of the wine producers which is a real treat for me because they talk so passionately about their craft and they don't mind the constant barrage of questions.
 I tried to find a selection of wines that are not in the general list at the LCBO or wines that I don't always see at the local LCBO / Vintages because they are produced in limited supply, sold only to restaurants or only available through the vineyard. It's encouraging to see some wine producers are experimenting with non-traditional Ontario varietals like Gruner Veltliner, Semillon and Zinfandel. It shows that Ontario wineries are not afraid to think outside the box and try new grape varietals. I look forward to seeing and tasting those wines at future Taste Ontario! events.

So here's a few wines that I thought were exceptional.

2010 Reif Estates Meritage - Niagara River VQA

A nice blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. This Meritage was stored mostly in French oak and some Hungarian oak and reveals flavours of dark fruit and some pepper. The tannins are a little more refined which gives it a nice softness. It's not overpowering but it has a full bodied feel to it.

Price - $24.95 - Vintages

2011 Rosewood Estates Semillon - Beamsville Bench VQA

This isn't a wine you see very much of in Ontario so I was curious to see what it offered. I was pleasantly surprised by it's abundant aroma of grapefruit and lemon. The wine has good acidity which gives a nice crisp mouthfeel but also a slight sweetness to offset the acidity. This wine is only available at the Rosewood Estate vineyard ( or in some restaurants. It would pair well with most white fish dishes or a cheese and fruit plate.

Price - $15.00 - Rosewood Estate vineyard

2010 Vineland Elevation Cabernet - Niagara Escarpment VQA

As the name implies, the grapes are sourced from the highest elevation in their vineyard. A nice blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot yields rich flavours of dark berries, cherry and some black pepper. The wine was aged in french oak for 16 months which gives it some tannic structure but it's not harsh. A good match with beef or simply on it's own.

Price - $25 - LCBO  

Cheers !!!