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Monday, May 2, 2011

New Wines at Stoney Ridge, Niagara VQA

1. Stoney Ridge 2009 Excellence Chardonnay VQA Niagara, $26 at winery:
a line of wines made only in better years by winemaker Gordon Robert,
the Excellence series concentrates on reasonable affordability, mostly
just over $20. Here, the juice has been barrel fermented in French oak,
and put into 400 litre French oak barrels for 13 months (sur lie for 9
months). Results: an excellent classic Burgundian style of hazelnuts,
balance, limes and lemons, and refreshing fruit on the finish. 13.6%
2. Stoney Ridge 2009 Excellence Pinot Noir VQA Niagara, $29 at winery:
black fruit, extractive, Burgundian style of beetroot, cherries, and
even some cranberries. A keeper. Aged 11 months in French oak. 13.3%
3. Stoney Ridge 2009 Warren Classic Pinot Noir VQA Niagara, $14.95
LCBO: "Classic" is the second tier wine series. Another Burgundian
styled pinot, but a bit lighter with more cranberries, pepper, and
light mocha. Good value. Aged in French and American oak for 9 months.
12.8% ABV.
4. Stoney Ridge 2009 Warren Classic Chardonnay VQA Niagara, $15 winery:
formerly known as Bench Chardonnay at Stoney Ridge. I drank tons of the
2004 vintage. This one is almost as good, but does need a year more to
balance. Malic apples, citrus, tropical zest, pineapples, some toasty
wood on the finish. Longer finish. 13% ABV.
5. Stoney Ridge Cabernet Merlot VQA Niagara, $17 at winery: fruit
forward, friendly red wine now ready, have with food or just sip.
Cabernet Franc 50%, Cab Sauvignon 24%, and Merlot 26%. Mocha flavours
with the black fruit. French and US oak for 11 months. 12.5% ABV.
6. Stoney Ridge 2009 Unoaked Charlotte's Chardonnay FSC VQA Twenty Mile
Bench, $14.95 LCBO: a juicy winner, about 80% chardonnay musque and the
rest chardonnay. Extremely aromatic and peachy, excellent for summer or
as an aperitif. Charlotte is Jim Warren's wife; she doesn't like oak in
her chardonnay. 12.5% ABV. Gold Medal at All Canadian Competition 2010.
7. Stoney Ridge 2009 Warren Classic Cabernet Franc VQA Niagara, $17 at
winery. Berryish (both red and black), finishes with herbs. Definite
food wine. Can be aged to bring out the vanilla-cedar finish. 13% ABV.
From three Niagara vineyards, French and US oak barrels for 10 months.
8. Stoney Ridge Forte 2009 VQA Ontario, $20 at winery: among the 7,021
different wines that Jim Warren has made over an illustrious career,
there is Forte – his version of port, with notes of figs, raisins,
mocha, plums, toffee, molasses, and all those dark syrups. Comprised of
Baco Noir, Late Harvest Vidal, and Cabernet Sauvignon. 19.5% ABV
(distilled spirits added). Oak aged.
9. Stoney Ridge Passion NV VQA Ontario, $25 at winery: and an
innovation on top of Forte – an equal blend of Forte and Cabernet Franc
icewine. Only the Forte has been fortified, so the resulting wine is
about 15.5% ABV, and full of Forte dark flavours tempered by fresh
strawberries. Think chocolate and strawbs (chocolate-coated strawbs?).
An engaging wine, and affordable. Made with Baco Noir, Late Harvest
Vidal, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.

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