Stratus Riesling 2021 (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
Bright, straw colour; minerally, grapefruit nose with a hint of petrol; medium-bodied, a shade off-dry with citrus and honeyed flavours, finishing on a long green apple note. Drink now but can be held for 5+ years. (90)
Stratus Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Pale straw in colour; lightly toasty, grassy, gooseberry nose with oak spice; medium-bodied, crisply dry, pear and lemon flavours; well-balanced, dramatic acidity and a long citrus finish. Lovely mouth-feel. Drink now and through 2024. (91)
Stratus Chardonnay 2021
Straw colour; Lightly toasty nose of apple and lemon zest with a leesy note; medium-bodied, dry, apple and hazel nut flavours; caressingly rich and round on the palate with great length. (92)
Stratus Alto 2021
A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Semillon, Syrah, Sangiovese. Shining ruby colour; spicy, cherry and plum bouquet with vanilla oak notes; earthy, rustic flavours of black fruits, firmly structured with evident tannins. Can be consumed now but another year in bottle will soften the tannins. (89–90)
Stratus Merlot 2019
Deep ruby in colour; cedary, spicy, black plum bouquet with vanilla oak notes; medium to full-bodied, dry, somewhat austere and savoury as if the fruit is still sleeping; firmly structured; needs cellaring for a couple of years. (89–91)
Stratus Red 2021
A stunning blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Tannat and Syrah. Deep purple in colour; cedary, slightly smoky nose of black fruits; full-bodied, dry, richly extracted flavours of plum, blackberry and blackcurrant; beautifully balanced and harmonious, with ripe tannins. Can be consumed with pleasure now but will reward cellaring for 2–3 years. (93–95)
Tuesday, November 14th: Thomas Bachelder brought over his 2021 single-vineyard Pinot Noirs (as well as his Chardonnay 2021, which we will taste together at a later date). Thomas has explored the effects of micro-terroir more than any other winemaker in the Niagara region.
Bachelder Bator Pinot Noir 2021 (Four Mile Creek)
Light ruby in colour; lifted minerally, cherry bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, viscous, cranberry and raspberry flavours. Well-integrated oak. Great length. (90)
Bachelder Patte Rouge Pinot Noir 2021 (Four Mile Creek)
Light ruby colour; fragrant, vanilla, raspberry nose; medium-bodied, dry, high-toned, Volnay style. (92)
Bachelder Lawry Pinot Noir 2021 (St. David’s Bench)
Light ruby in colour; minerally, raspberry and cranberry on the nose; beautifully balanced, with well-integrated oak. Very elegant, very Burgundian. (93)
Bachelder Lowry Old Easter Block Pinot Noir 2021 (St. David’s Bench)
Crimson colour; minerally, floral, raspberry nose with a honeyed note; medium-bodied, dry, creamy, red berry flavours. Beautifully balanced and elegant. (94)
Bachelder Hanck Pinot Noir 2021 (20 Mile Bench)
Light ruby in colour; a tad volatile: spicy, toasty, vanilla, elderberry nose; medium-bodied, dry, red meat and raspberry flavours; great mouth-feel. (93)
Bachelder Wismer Park Pinot Noir 2021 (20 Mile Bench)
Solid ruby colour; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted flavours of red fruits with iron notes. Firmly structured. (92)
Bachelder Wismer Park Wild West End Pinot Noir 2021 (20 Mile Bench)
Ruby colour; minerally, red meat bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted black raspberry flavour; beautifully balanced with well-integrated oak. A seamless wine. (94)
Bachelder Ivy & Warren Saunders Pinot Noir 2021 (Beamsville Bench)
Ruby colour; floral, iron, peppery red berry fruit on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, spicy, richly extracted strawberry flavour; firmly structured with ripe tannins. (93)
Bachelder Beam City Pinot Noir 2021 (Beamsville Bench)
Ruby colour; earth, floral, peppery nose of raspberries with vanilla oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, firmly structured and sinuous. Beautifully balanced. (92)
Thursday, November 16th: I was invited as a guest of the PDU (Port Dalhousie Underground), who put on beautifully curated themed tastings. Tonight, it’s the Sagrantino grape from Umbria which Ian D’Agata, in his book, Native Wine Grapes of Italy, describes as “a very ancient variety, possibly the Hirtiola described by Martial and Pliny the Elder as typical of the territory of Mevania (once located in the area between the modern-day towns of Bevagna and Montefalco). Considered the most tannic grape in Italy which can only be released after 37 months in barrel and bottle.” There were 22 of us seated at tables in Thomas Bachelder’s “bat cave.” We were served 1 oz portions of the following wines:
I had tasted many of these wines at the Sagrantino Anteprima in Montefalco in April 2023 (see A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 878).
The highlight of the evening was the Tili Sacreterre 2004. This is a rare wine that my friend Brian had brought back from a trip we made to Umbria in May 2014. On that trip, our group had tasted Tili Rosso Assisi Sangiovese 1997 in a local wine store in Spello. My notes then were: “Dense ruby with a tawny rim; barnyard nose, balsamic, leather with a spicy note; elegant but possibly going through a dumb phase, as the length seemed truncated.” The 2004 Tili this evening was just perfect!
The tannins had softened to make a beautifully balanced and elegant wine.
We finished the tasting with the sweet wine, Antonelli Passito 2009.
Other wines tasted:
Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir 2020 (Twenty Mile Bench, $49.95, Vintages #184549)
Ruby colour; cedary, raspberry nose with a white pepper note and a thread of minerality; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, beautifully balanced raspberry flavours with well-integrated oak and a lovely mouth-feel. Very Burgundian in style. (92)
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