REPORT ON NEW WINES FROM FEATHERSTONE ESTATE WINERY – April 22 2022 Earth Day
1.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 Vintages on May 21 and again on November 19: a summer social sipper or quaffer (and for Thanksgiving too), combining 54% riesling and 18% chardonnay with 15% pinot grigio and 13% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1282 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 14g/L residual sugar. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Featherstone Estate Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 +80234 Vintages Essential: more in the Mosel mode than Rhine wine, this delicious sipper is loaded with a nose of citrus highlights (lemon, plentiful lime, grapefruit) evolving to Ontario orchard fruit on the mid-palate with some minerality and a long lean-ish finish which also makes it nifty food wine for many Asiatic dishes. Medium body, off-dry. Suitable for aging, to get that "petrol" character. 2573 cases made. 10.5% ABV. RS 20.7g/L. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages April 30 and and again on October 8: 20% of this wine went into neutral Canadian oak barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 542 cases. 4g/L residual sugar, 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Featherstone Estate Winery Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $24.95 +149302 Vintages October 8: one of my faves. Over the years it has simply gotten better as the grapevines matured. Wild indigenous yeast is used. Good mid-tone oaky component (it is very easy to say it is mid-way between French and US oak) from the use of nearby Canadian oak trees. 10% new oak, 90% 1 to 5 year old. Terrific ripe orchard fruit aromas and palate. Plus vanillin and cream after the mid-palate leading to citric food- friendly finish. Needs more time for balancing, but then at that moment it will be awesome. 14% ABV. 1.69g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Featherstone Estate Winery Pinot Grigio 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +20599 Vintages August 13: this is a highly competitive category, but Featherstone goes up very well against the other PGs in Ontario, especially with its slight yellow colour. It's colour and even its taste can slot it into the rose category, or even the "orange" wine area. Typical nuances include off-dry orchard fruit (peach, pear, apple) with some aromatic melon-ish overtones. It is refreshing on the mid-palate, finishing with slightly bitter citric notes. That makes it both a sipper and a food wine, suitable as a pre-prandial in the summer. There is some Ontario cranberry tartness and some melon sweetness, but also with some peach notes. Stainless steel all the way, with half being pressed immediately and half left to soak on skins before pressing. 10g/L residual sugar. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages May 21 and again on September 10: over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, chardonnay, and cabernet franc. This latest vintage (2021) has cabernet sauvignon 33.3%, gamay noir 60%, and pinot noir 6.7%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/backyard/porch/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace (as I did just this week when the snow dropped in High Park North a few days before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones in its deliciousness. Great price. 1662 cases. 7g/L residual sugar, 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +64618 Vintages Essential: a blend of 95% cabernet franc and 5% merlot. All US oak was used – 25% new, balance into 1 to 4 year old barrels. Full malolactic fermentation. Medium-bodied with an assortment of tastes of cherry-berries and plums, leafy qualities. Black pepper. Long, long finish showing tart-ish food-loving acid balances. Vegan. Should go well with BBQ veggies. Keep for another few years (I tasted one bottle over a week). 2106 cases. 2.59g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
8.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 Vintages April 30 and again on Nov 5: Merlot is still recovering from its dissing by Pinot Noir in the movie "Sideways". But a lot of wineries are still making it. David Johnson the winemaker has here produced a delightfully fruity but dryish (RS 2g/L) drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by cassis. Both a patio sipper and a food wine, and ready now for current drinking and accompanying any kind of comfort food. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.