Took the train into Toronto from Burlington to attend this first major tasting of Ontario wines since the pandemic. It was great to see a lot of old friends and fellow wine writers. We were privileged to have two rooms set aside for us – one for white wines, one for reds, so that we could taste and make notes sitting down. I spent an hour in the white room before heading to the 17th floor of the newly-renovated Park Plaza Hotel for a seminar by British Master of Wine Nick Jackson, based on his book, Beyond Flavour.
Nick’s thesis is that every grape variety has a consistent structure wherever it is grown – whatever the climate and winemaking brought to bear on the fruit. Zeroing in on the acid structure in white wines and the tannin structure in reds can help you identify the wine in blind tastings.
He also showed diagrams to illustrate his concepts while we tasted the following Ontario wines:
- Trius Showcase Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2019
- Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2019
- Closson Chase Vineyards Chardonnay 2020
- Bachelder Wismer Parke ‘Wild West End; Pinot Noir 2020
- Stratus Vineyards Gamay 2021
- Westcott Vineyards Butler’s Grant Cabernet Franc 2019
Some of the best wines I tasted were made with Pinot Gris grapes – particularly Niagara-on-the-Lake’s AMO Winery Pinot Gris 2020 and Prince Edward County’s Closson Chase K. J. Watson Pinot Gris 2022 and Casa-Dea Estates Winery Melon de Bourgogne 2021.
My other top-scoring wines were:
- Ferox Fabian Reis Riesling 2020
- Meldville Wines Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Select 2021
- The Foreign Affair Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
- Icellars Syrah 2020
I was also delighted to discover the Creemore-based winery, Therianthropy Inc. Very taken by their Le Maillot Cabernet Franc 2021 and their attractive labels.