Ontario Makes An Appearance – The Red Daily Slosh

10 Sep

This release features Ontario wines and what’s the best way to celebrate our province?  Fly the Royal Ensign from your passenger car side window? Nope. Spend your weekend sitting in Tim Horton’s debating the fate of Rob Ford and the demise of the Senate with really old people? Nope. Preparing for the endless sports media coverage of Da’ Leafs by renewing your Paxil script? Nope. Honeymoon Suite? You bet! A group from Niagara Falls is in order. Yes, I know that their hair reminds us all of the folly of being a slave to current and obviously doomed fashion. But still.

Shamefully, I haven’t had many of the featured Ontario wines. Let me explain. Many Ontario producers have a limited capacity and sell much of their premium product through cellar door operations, restaurants, and wine clubs. Without receiving samples (not so subtle a hint) or being on the LCBO tasting politbureau, I don’t get to see much of it unless I’m drinking and weaving along the roads of Ontario. This leaves limited opportunities to taste and experience Ontario wines not generally listed at the LCBO. I traveled recently to Niagara for some winery visits (posts to come) and will try and represent in my posts. That being said, I’ve written about the wines in this release that I’ve experienced and that I can recommend. I’m sure many more of the featured Ontario wines are worth a look and taste.

The wines:

triomphecabfrancI have mentioned Southbrook several times on these pages. Their adherence to organic and biodynamic practices is fascinating to me. Not sure what they were scrambling around doing this week but three nights in a row the moon was a ghostly galleon which must indicate something in biodynamic as well as poetic terms. Setting the sheep loose in the cab franc? Burying Aunt Marie feet-first between the Riesling and the raspberries? Their winemaking and cellaring facilities as well as their visitor centre are über cool and I’d place it among my ‘must visit’ wineries in Niagara on that score and the great staff (shout out to Rachel) alone. But, they are more than a pretty face and have great wines too. The wine this week is their 2012 Southbrook Tromphe Cabernet Franc #275958 $21.95. Niagara for me, particularly down by Niagara-On-The-Lake and Four Mile Creek, does great cab franc. The 2012 vintage was a good one overall for Bordeaux grapes in Niagara and this wine expresses good weather, good ground, and good winemaking. It has that Niagara thing in the glass – I used to experience it as a green note but in this case it’s herbal and cedary. Firm with a tannic streak that’s pretty balanced for this early on in development – dark fruits, and a bit of lip smack on the finish. I liked it a lot. I’d suggest that you don’t stand around with this but eat something with a bit of fat and burnt flesh.

angelsgatemerlotTo quote the late great Joan Rivers, “Can we talk?” Many of our first tastes of Ontario wines, post Cold Duck, were those from fledgling wineries whose vines were young and their wines somewhat………..well, non-descript. Not sure what I expected but I wasn’t impressed and effectively took a hiatus from Niagara for awhile. That was a mistake. A perfect example of this is Angel’s Gate Winery. I traveled there with The Director many years ago as they had just broken ground on their spectacular chateau-styled winery building. At that time, without considering the path that’s needed to get to great wine, I thought that they might have been a bit ambitious. No longer. Age of stock, experience or both have led them to making some of the nicer whites on the Beamsville Bench. But, I still didn’t give them any street cred with reds. While that changed with a sniff and sip of the 2012 Angel’s Gate Mountainview Merlot #299172 $18.95. I’m suggesting that, if you are a California cab lover, that this is not going to be ‘big’ enough for you. But, I believe that ‘big’ should be power not just heft. And, this wine has a nice balance of power (intensity of black fruit, complexity, solid nose) and bite without being heavy or ‘too’ full. I could stand around with this wine pre-dinner, drink with some porkish meat, or just have it with a cookie before bed. What type of cookie? Well, the merlot would play beautifully off a chewy white chocolate chip, macadamia nut cookie. Oreo? Don’t make me laugh. Well, unless you are one of those disgusting people that break them apart and then scrap off the filling with your teeth before eating the cookie wafer part by itself. I admit it might work with the deconstructed Oreo, if you’re so inclined.

cantineferriAnd, just ‘cause I can, another wine from Puglia that I had while there last year. 2008 Cantine Ferri Oblivio Nero di Troia #380600 $19.95 is a “deep somnabitch” or so my notes say. Just layer after layer of dark, herby, leathery stuff. A bit farm smelly for those that shy away from smelly wines – BTW, I love ‘em! If I was drinking this tonight, I’d open a bit early to gain some integration and then have with a Mediterranean veggie pizza (which I actually had last night, drat). Plus, remember, it would add uva di troia to your Century Wine List.


Recent Discovery:

DNmalbecWandering the aisles aimlessly the other day, attracting the attention of consultants, secret shoppers, and weird Buddy, I found what looked like a familiar friend – 2011 Nieto Senetiner Don Nicanor Malbec #178657 $18.95. I’m not sure why I thought that I’d had it in another movie. The name Don Nicanor just sounded familiar, is all. Sometime when I recommend Malbec, people give me feedback that it’s a bit too heavy for them. Maybe it’s the modern fruit forward style we usually find. Maybe it’s the high alcohol content which seems to accompany Malbec. Well, this one has a lighter profile despite ABV of 14.5% which is pretty high for me. In the mouth, it has ever present acidity, solid dark fruit, and a nice smoky finish. I was pleasantly surprised after being disappointed that Don Nicanor and I were not old friends. Drink this with some hearty fare. As I take another sip, I have it – it’s an Old World Malbec! That’s it. If you like Cahors, you’ll recognize it in this wine. Vineyard character, a bit of dirt on the nose.

Wine that I’m going to pick up:

queylusThomas Bachelder makes some of the more interesting pinots that I’ve had recently. He is a pinotphile in the greatest sense – making Burgundy pinots, Oregon pinots (very highly recommended here), and Niagara pinots under his eponymous label. He also makes pinots under the Queylus brand. I’ve never had these and am going to make sure I get a bottle of their 2011 Domaine QueylusTradition Pinot Noir #392738 $29.95. It’s reviewed well (Tony Aspler – 92) but more importantly, his style is what has impressed me. Now, we’ve all had and loved Meoimi pinot from Belle Glos and the Wagner family. But, our tastes have changed, haven’t they? Big, sugary, thick pinots don’t do it anymore, do they? Anyone out there? “Of course, they don’t Bill.” That’s better. I mean when Tony Aspler uses the terms “floral grace notes”, I’ve heard all I need to spring for this wine. Finding that $29.95 is a bit stiff? Well, if you’re like Ken, you just buy it and stash it for a special occasion.

Images courtesy of


Don Nicanor -www.nietosenetiner.com.ar

One Response to “Ontario Makes An Appearance – The Red Daily Slosh”

  1. Ken Boyle September 11, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    Love it! I may have met her (on the phone at least). Time will tell so one more to stash for that very special occasion! Thanks Bill.


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