A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 801: The Newest Ontario Winery: Wending Home

Wending Home samples

After a successful career as Henry of Pelham’s winemaker and a Professor at Niagara College, Canadian Food and Wine Institute, Ron Giesbrecht has opened his own winery. He sent me samples of his 2020 wines (an auspicious year for a maiden vintage).

Wending Home Riesling 2020
Bright, pale straw in colour; minerally, slightly smoky, grapefruit zest nose; light to medium-bodied, crisply dry, lemon-grapefruit flavour with an engaging touch of bitterness on the finish. (88)

Wending Home Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Bright, pale straw colour; grassy, green plum nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry, gooseberry and green plum flavours with racy acidity and a long finish. (90)

Wending Home Pinot Gris 2020
Light straw in colour; peach pit nose; medium-bodied, dry, round on the palate; generous white peach flavour with lemony acidity. Lovely mouth-feel and good length. (89.5)

Wending Home Wending North 2020
Bright, pale straw colour; minerally, lightly floral, citrus and green herbs; medium-bodied, dry, peachy flavour with a touch of spice; well-balanced and harmonious with a long, graceful finish. (89)

Wending Home Rosé 2020
Palest pink in colour with a bluish tint; lightly floral, watermelon and raspberry bouquet; dry, strawberry and lemon flavours with palate-freshening acidity. (89)

Wending Home Cabernet Franc 2019
Deep purple colour with a violet rim; lightly cedary, blackcurrant with a floral top note and oak spice; medium-bodied, spicy, black plum and curranty flavours carried on lively acidity. (89)

Monday, June 21st: Tasted the 2019 On Seven Chardonnays with the winery owner, Vittorio de Stefano, and winemaker Peter Gamble at the Airbnb on the site of the vineyard.

Vittorio de Stefano with his two 2018 Chardonnays: Pursuit and Devotion

On Seven The Pursuit Chardonnay 2018 (Niagara-on-the-Lake, $45, release date August 22nd)
Light gold in colour; apple nose and vanilla with a toasty note and a touch of barnyard (lightly reductive); medium-bodied dry, apple and peach flavours with orange-like acidity; very Burgundian in style (Puligny-Montrachet-esque) with well-integrated oak and driving acidity that gives the wine great length, finishing on a minerally note of crushed stones. (92–93)

On Seven The Devotion Chardonnay 2018 ($65)
A little deeper golden colour than Pursuit; toasty, apple butter nose with that Burgundian reductive note; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, apple, pear and lemon flavours; beautifully balanced, lovely mouth-feel with a long, mouth-freshening finish. Great length, will age well. A wine to make Niagara proud. (94–95)

Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Brut ($29.95, Vintages #234161)
Bright straw colour, with tiny bubbles; toasty, creamy, apple nose; medium-bodied, dry, apple flavour; crisp on the palate, well-balanced and elegant with good length. (90)

Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Brut

Niagara College Viognier 2020
Lemon yellow in colour; minerally, peach pit nose; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted ripe peach and lemon flavours; well-balanced and persistent on the palate. (90)

Niagara College Botrytis-Affected Chardonnay 2019
Bright straw colour; lightly toasty, apple puree bouquet; medium to full-bodied, honeyed mango flavour, beautifully balanced with lively acidity, giving the wine great length on the palate, ending on a note of dried apricot. (92)

Winemaker’s note: “The 2019 Botrytis-affected Chardonnay was spotted by my colleague Ron Giesbrecht when he visited a vineyard he used to work with when he was at Henry of Pelham: Nokara Farms, farmed by grower Joe Ferretti. Interestingly this was Joe’s last vintage on the property before retiring and selling. The light soils down there seems to be holding just enough water late in the harvest season to give off a steady trickle of humidity and feed the botrytis, and it was holding up beautifully with lots of raisining and almost no grey rot. We hand-picked at 29.1 brix with a few students then crushed and destemmed and macerated on skins for 12 hours before pressing. We settled the juice then fermented using a Sauternes yeast in a single, new, medium-long toast 228L Billon barrique plus 200L in stainless steel. Fermentation stopped right around 13% alcohol leaving 68g/L Residual Sugar. The wine was aged on lees for 16 months then racked and blended is now stabilizing and will be bottled in August.”

Niagara College Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2020
Light ruby colour with a reddish-orange tint; lightly toasty, strawberry and struck flint bouquet with a note of dried leaves; unctuous, candied strawberry flavour, kept in check and balanced by fresh acidity giving and end taste of tangerine. Lovely mouth feel. (92).  

“The 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine was hand-harvested at 38.4 brix ion January 29th, 2021. Fermented in older oak plus one second fill Mercurey barrel, aged on lees through the winter months before racking, stabilizing and filtering.”

Other wines tasted:

Luigi Bosca Single Vineyard Malbec 2018 (Argentina, $29.95, Vintages #74922)
Deep purple-ruby in colour; lightly cedary, spicy, blackberry nose with well-integrated oak; full-bodied, dry, richly extracted black fruit flavours carried on lively acidity to a warm, firm finish of ripe tannins. (90)

Luigi Bosca Single Vineyard Malbec 2018

Château Larroque Bordeaux Supérieure 2016 ($17.95, Vintages #92536)
Ruby-purple in colour; cedary, plum bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, savoury plum and blackcurrant flavours; firmly structured and well balanced. (89)

Château Larroque Bordeaux Supérieure 2016

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