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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Aug 16/11: Some new Ontario wines found on a FAM tour to Niagara

The Time and Date: Tuesday, August 16, 2011   8AM to 6:30 PM

The Event: FAM bus tour of Niagara Peninsula wineries, supported by the Wine Council of Ontario.

The Venue: five wineries in Niagara – Pondview, Colaneri, Good Earth, Rosewood, Stoney Ridge.

The Target Audience: Wine Writers Circle of Canada plus some guests, about 16 in all.

The Availability/Catalogue: most wines we tasted are only at the winery. Orders can be placed at websites,,,, and

The Quote/Background: Every year the WWCC goes somewhere in Ontario and looks in at WCO member wineries. This year it was back to Niagara: two before lunch, one at lunch, and two after lunch. It was long but unlike other years not grueling. Each winery gave us a talk on micro-history and some recent events and awards. More details can be found at their websites. Tastings were led by winemakers and/or owners.

The Wines: Quite an impressive haul; the wines of Niagara get better and better each year. Of note are the Colaneri wines: most of them use appassimento (grape shriveling) and French oak aging for added complexity. All grape wines here are, of course, VQA.


**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Colaneri Insiemi 2009 VQA, $34.95 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% appassimento), merlot, and syrah blend. 400 cases.

-Pondview Gewurztraminer 2010, $24.95

-Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Franc 2009, $28 Double Gold ACWC 2011

-Stoney Ridge Excellence Chardonnay 2009, $32 ISD Oct 29/11 +254243

-Stoney Ridge Excellence Pinot Noir 2009, $29 Classics Oct 25/11 +254250

-Colaneri Cavallone Pinot Grigio 2010, $25 French barrel-aged, 20% appassimento

-Colaneri Mistera Gewurztraminer 2010, $25  30% appassimento, French barrel aging

-Colaneri Paese Chardonnay 2009, $34.95 60% new French oak

-Colaneri Unita Cabernet Franc 2009, $25


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-The Good Wine Dry Riesling 2010 Lincoln Lakeshore, $20

-The Good Wine Rose 2010 Lincoln Lakeshore, $18  [cabernet franc]

-Pondview Gewurztraminer/Riesling 2010, $14  [51/49 split] 2009 at Vintages now

-Pondview Chardonnay 2010, $17

-Rosewood Natalie's Sussreserve Riesling 2009 Beamsville Bench Renaceau Vineyard, $15  Vintages Jan 2012 +164483

-Rosewood Chardonnay Reserve Natural [Wild] Ferment 2010 Beamsville Bench Renaceau Vineyard, $28

-Rosewood Pinot Noir 2009 Twenty Mile Bench Wismer Vineyard, $20 +112177 Vintages

-Rosewood Merlot 2009 Niagara Escarpment, $20 Vintages Jan 2012 +167772

-Rosewood Cabernet Franc Barrel #86 2009 Beamsville Bench Renaceau Vineyard, $36  [25 cases total = I barrel]

-Rosewood Mead Royale 2008, $18 for half-litre. It would have been great with the Good Earth's dessert (see below). Oak aged.

-Stoney Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Niagara Kasper Vineyard, $16.95 Vintages October 29 2011 +513705

-Stoney Ridge Warren Classic Pinot Noir 2009 Niagara, $13.95 LCBO +156125

-Stoney Ridge Warren Classic Cabernet Franc 2009, $18

-Colaneri Visione Syrah 2009, $30 50% appassimento, Moldovan oak

-Colaneri Pensiere Merlot 2009, $29.95


*** Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-The Good Wine Chardonnay 2008 Lincoln Lakeshore, $19

-The Good Wine Medium-Dry Riesling 2009 Twenty Mile Bench, $20

-The Good Wine Pinot Noir 2009 Lincoln Lakeshore, $25

-Pondview Cabernet Franc Rose 2010, $15  +241802 LCBO

-Pondview Pinot Grigio 2010, $17.95

-Rosewood Semillon Beamsville Bench Renaceau Vineyard, $18

-Rosewood Long Rows White Blend 2010 [chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, Semillon], $12 licensees only.

-Stoney Ridge Simply White 2009 Niagara, $13.95 LCBO +234476 [95% chardonnay]

-Colaneri Fumoso Bianco Sauvignon Blanc 2010, $24.95 appassimento, 15.6% ABV !

-Colaneri Virtuoso Pinot Noir 2009, $34


The Food: We had a marvelous lunch at The Good Earth Food and Wine Co. with wines by Andrea Glass and food by Chef Michael Pasto, one of three chefs working the establishment. Foods and wine were paired. Apps were goat's cheese and chive omelette (chardonnay), pork rillette with quince jam (dry riesling), and shrimp cake with sriracha (med-dry riesling). First main was sockeye salmon with corn salsa and tomato (rose) followed by grilled lamb sirloin and quinoa with goat cheddar (pinot noir). Dessert was an enticing peach and late summer berry crumble (no wine but would have been great with mead).

The Downside: constant traveling all day

The Upside: tasting Ontario appassimento wines

The Contact Person:

The Marketing Effectiveness/Execution of the Event(numerical grade): 92.

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at

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