On Seven is Niagara’s newest winery, located on Line 3 in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The name speaks to the acreage that Vittorio De Stefano and his wife Sula purchased in 2009.
With consulting winemaker Peter Gamble, the couple replanted the vineyard (clay-loam soil with calcareous sediment) to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The goal was to produce “classic” (read Burgundian) wines. It took 8 years of hard work in the organically-farmed vineyard to achieve the first On Seven vintage – the 2017 Pursuit Chardonnay (107 cases of twelve bottles, priced at $45 a bottle, vinified at Southbrook Winery).
The plan, De Stefano explained, is to have three tiers of Chardonnay – “Dedication,” the entry level wine, “Pursuit” and the flagship wine, called “Devotion.”
The inaugural vintage of Chardonnay is most impressive. If I had tasted it blind I would have thought it was a Chassagne-Montrachet.
My notes read: “Old gold colour; spicy, toasty, apple nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, rich, lemon, apple, peach and caramel flavours with well-integrated French oak carried on racy acidity A seamless sine with a lovely mouth-feel and great length, ending on a delightful floral note. (94)”
Now I can’t wait to taste the debut Pinot Noir.
Other wines tasted:
Kacaba Sustainable Cabernet 2017 (Niagara Escarpment – $24.95)
63% Cabernet Franc, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep ruby in colour; spicy, blackcurrant nose with a smoky note; medium-bodied, dry, minty, smoky currant flavour, ending on supple, ripe tannins. (89)
Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2017 (Niagara – $44.95)
Bright straw in colour; spicy, peach and apple bouquet with a touch of oak; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted apple and pear flavours with well-integrated oak; lovely mouth-feel and a seamless integration of oak. Great length. (93)
Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir 2017 (Niagara Peninsula – $44.95)
Medium ruby colour; minerally, raspberry with oak spice and a note of violets; medium-bodied, dry, Volnay-style; elegant, beautifully balanced, finely textured with ripe tannins that give structure on the finish. (92)
Lakeside Cellars Portage Red 2016 (Okanagan Valley – 44% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot; $24)
Deep ruby-purple in colour; cedary, spicy, plum and currants on the nose with a savoury-herbal note; medium-bodied, dry, mouth-filling, plum, blueberry and blackcurrant flavours; firmly structured with gripping tannins on the finish. (88.5)
Lakeside Cellars Cabernet Franc 2016 (Okanagan Valley – $26)
Deep ruby in colour; cedary, toasty, baked plum tart nose; medium-bodied, dry, blueberry flavour with balancing acidity and nicely integrated oak. Firmly structured, with ripe, grainy tannins. Reminiscent of Saint-Emilion. (90)
Lakeside Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Okanagan Valley – $26)
Deep ruby in colour; cedary, plum and blackcurrant nose with vanilla oak notes; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, blackcurrant and black raspberry flavours; lovely mouth-feel with ripe tannins. A beautifully balanced wine with ripe tannins and a coffee bean note on the finish. (91)
Lakeside Cellars Syrah 2016 (Okanagan Valley – $26)
Deep purple-ruby in colour; cedary, lightly smoky nose of blackberries and toasty oak; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, plum, blackberry and dried herb flavours; beautifully balanced with lively acidity and finishing on ripe tannins. Great length. (90)