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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Some new Ontario wines recently tasted...

1. From Chateau des Charmes,
* Chateau des Charmes Aligote 2010 VQA St. David's Bench, $13.55,
+296848 LCBO: made from a rare French vinifera (seldom seen outside
Burgundy) that Chat. des Charmes has cultivated since 1978, loaded with
orchard fruit (apples and pears) and ending with a crisp finishing
acidity suggesting food more than sipping. 13% ABV.
* Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir 2009 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, $12.55,
+57349 LCBO: medium-bodied, suggestive of Beaujolais (same grape
variety). Easy drinking of cherry-berry flavours, patios, parties, BBQ.
Ready now, with some tannic structure to carry through a whole meal.
13% ABV.
* Chateau des Charmes Vidal Icewine 2009 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake,
$25.95 for 200 mL, +565861 Vintages: a nifty icewine with apricot as
the defining aroma and flavour, followed by honey tones. Read now, but
can be aged (but then it will taste different and, in my opinion,
better). Perfect for gifting.

2. From Huff Estates,
* Huff Estates Pinot Gris 2011 VQA Ontario, $19.95 at winery: from
vineyards in PEC and NOTL (hence the Ontario VQA designation). Stress
is on the French style (winemaker F. Picard is French) and uses the
"gris" descriptor rather than the more-common "grigio". "Gris" usually
indicates more aromatics and floral consistency right through to an
enticing finish. Body is firmer and colouring is more straw or
yellowish. Useful as an aperitif or first course wine, but it is more
demanding than a regular sipper. 12.5% ABV.
* Huff Estates Riesling Off Dry 2011 VQA Ontario, $17.95 at winery: I
did not find this "off-dry" at all, but rather a typical Ontario
Riesling with body and finishing acidity. More a first course or
aperitif than a sipper as the label may imply. Good balance of
sweetness and acidity. 12% ABV.
* Huff Estates Riesling Reserve Sculpture Series 2011 VQA Ontario,
$21.95 at winery: more stuffing in this Riesling, again with some
citric and peach tones, and a longer acidity on the finish. Definitely
food, and later in the meal. Good offset to fatty foods such as goose.
This one could be cellared for 5 years. 12.5% ABV.
* Huff Estates Chardonnay VQA Niagara, $17.95 at winery: described by
the winery as "clean and lean", and I would add "green" for its apple
tones. Some tropicality. Stainless steel fermentation, no oak.
Excellent food wine, main courses. 12.5% ABV.
* Huff Estates Merlot 2011 VQA Ontario, $19.95 at winery: very fruity,
maybe fruit gone wild, no oak or other aging – just stainless steel.
Typical red fruit style, cherry-berry even, some anise. First course or
cheese. 12.8% ABV.
* Huff Estates Merlot 2008 South Bay Vineyards VQA PEC, $29.95 at
winery: previous vintages have won Gold medals at Artevino, the PEC
food and wine festival. This has just been released, but the taste
profile follows the past, so there is no reason why it cannot win again
in its class! Definitely French-style Pomerol, 18 months in new French
oak, 13% ABV. Black fruit, plumy, some underbrush showing, wood tones.
Good for laying down until at least 2016. Or aerate.

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