A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 838: Celebrating the Taste of Home (and Away)

Monday, April 25th: A tasting of Ontario wines at the renovated Park Hyatt Hotel in Toronto. Fifty selected wines in the press room with 200 in the main ballroom. It was quite like pre-COVID times! An air of celebration in the room. (It proved what a magnificent vintage 2020 is!)

The Top wines I tasted (90 points or over) were:

  • ICellars Pinot Noir 2019
  • ICellars Sauvignon Blanc 2019
  • Westcott Estate Chardonnay 2020
  • Fogolar Hanck Vineyard Riesling
  • Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Chardonnay 2019
  • Jackson-Triggs White Meritage 2020
  • Southbrook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
  • Stonebridge Chardonnay 2019
  • Tawes Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2019
  • Closson Chase Churchside Pinot Noir 2019
  • 180 Estate Gamay Noir 2019
  • Two Sisters Eleventh Post 2017
  • Southbrook Poetica Red 2019
  • Kacaba Meritage 2017

Then on to the Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting with 37 stands featuring 42 wineries. Tasted selectively and really enjoyed Maria Bonita Vinho Verde Loureiro 2020, Casa Santos Lima Valcatrina 2020 (a Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet and Syrah blend from the Alentej), Symington Family Estates Florão 2018 and Quinta da Fonte Souto Vinha do Souto 2018, both from the Alentej, and Boas Quintas Opta Dão Gran Reserva 2017. Best value: Vidigal Porta 6 2020 (Tinta Roriz, Castelao, Touriga Nacional blend – $13.95). And some delicious Kranemann 10 Year Old Tawny.

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 837: Big Wines from Big Head

Andrzej Lipinski

Deborah and I visited Big Head’s new facility in Niagara-on-the-Lake and tasted a few of the 42 wines that Andrzej Lipinski has on the market. The new winery is 7,000 square feet and Andrzej showed us the plans for an expansion to 28,000 square feet. The winery now houses a goodly number of cement and clay fermenters as well as stainless steel. His RAW series are wines made in concrete tanks. Continue reading

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 836: Rosehall Run

Rosehall Run wines

My office, according to my wife, is a mess. There are papers everywhere and I confess that one pile concealed notes I have written on wines kindly sent to me by Rosehall Run in Prince Edward County – wines I tasted several weeks ago but my notes went AWOL. Mea culpa.

But here they are… finally.

Rosehall Run Sauvignon Blanc Hungry Point 2020 ($28)
Bright, straw colour; grassy, grapefruit and green plum bouquet; medium-bodied, crisply dry, lemony, green pear and grapefruit flavours. Rounded mouth-feel from barrel-fermenting in “older, large barriques… one new Acacia barrel to the 6-months of barrel fermented elevage.” (89)

Rosehall Run Hungry Point Pinot Gris 2020 ($26)
Bright, straw colour; white peach bouquet with a mineral note and a touch of oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, white peach flavour; beautifully balanced, ending on a saline note. (90)

Rosehall Run JCR Chardonnay 2019 ($36)
Straw colour; spicy, toasty, apple nose; medium-bodied, dry, clove, lemon and apple flavours, beautifully balanced and well-structured. (91)

Rosehall Run Gewürztraminer Nedelko Vineyard 2020 ($28)
Bright, straw colour; aromatic nose of ginger and lychee; medium-bodied, dry, lychee and grapefruit flavours with a honeysuckle note. Lovely mouth-feel. (90)

Rosehall Run Small Lots “UV” Nedelko Vineyard 2019 (Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, $39)
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot. Deep purple ruby in colour; cedary, plum and blackcurrant nose with new oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, juicy plum and blackcurrant flavours with ripe and pliant tannins. 20% aged in new French oak. (90)

I’ve also tasted some other wines recently:

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Speck Brothers Family Tree “The Goat Lady” Chardonnay 2021 (Niagara Peninsula, $16.95)
Bright, pale gold in colour with a greenish tint; spicy, toasty nose of peach and green pineapple; medium-bodied, dry, creamy, clove, vanilla and pineapple flavours with well-integrated oak. Good value. (89) Continue reading

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 835: Glorious Gamays

Bachelder 2020 Gamays

Thomas Bachelder left his heart in Burgundy; luckily, for the rest of us, he brought his winemaking talents to Niagara. Thomas thinks like a Burgundian. He only makes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay. This week is his La Violette Release (honouring his daughter Violette’s birthday). Rick VanSickle and I were invited to Thomas’ tasting room (in what he calls The Bat Cave) to sample the release: Continue reading

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The Definitive Guide to Wine Education

There’s plenty of material out there to help you learn about wine, including several formalized courses. Now there’s something to help you learn about how to learn about wine: Marieke van der Gulick has written a well-researched guide to wine education, taking you through all the major qualifications available, the learning processes and what you can expect from each:


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