TNs--Quarterly Niagara Trip

Good friend Nick Christie from North Carolina was in town for a week and it provided a very nice excuse to get out to Niagara for a day trip. It is becoming harder and harder to visit all the wineries even in a 2 year cycle now.


2007 Southbrook Estate Chardonnay
Plenty of vanilla, but without oak. Nougat too. Spicy somewhat but not bad—flavourful….but without being exceptionally memorable

2008 Southbrook Whimsy Cabernet Franc
Earthy, some mushrooms, bits of green pepper and tapenade. This is quite delicate, mists away quickly and focusses on raspberry, bilberry and some cedar notes. Decent

2009 Southbrook Estate Syrah
11 months in oak. Flowery and, I want to say, mossiness with blueberry and plum. Very thin to taste, just a bit of strawberry and raspberry no depth at all. Tingly yes, but without structure

2007 Southbrook Poetia Cabernet Merlot
This does smell nice, lots of spicecake, plum, sweet blackberry and mocha. Le gout is still stern, but the fruit is still there. I like the feel, it does grip. Would like more complexity, but enjoyable for its bright red fruit.


2008 Stratus Sauvignon Blanc
Partially barrel fermented for 18 months. All French Oak, 60% new. Nettles, lemon and white pepper here. Rather soft and fruity, back-end of sour cream. Citrus and touches of papaya and kiwi

2007 Stratus Cabernet Franc
A fine bouquet of lavender and chocolate and cassis. Some meats too. This is strong stuff dans la bouche. Awfully good for now. I think it does have the fruit and staying power and a very fun back-end of sour crabapple that really accents cherry, raspberry and spice combo. Very good, 1 bottle bought

2007 Stratus Cabernet Sauvignon
A quite red licorice undercurrent to cherry fruit. Lots of pepper, cedar and spice on second sniff to dark cherry. Palate is tasty, but still gangly, good acidity…will the fruit last/ Hard to say and it’s hot at the back.

2008 Stratus Riesling Icewine
Quite pretty with golden delicious apple and slight apricot with flowers. Decent, not spectacular. Still syrupy, but with floral replays

2008 Stratus Icewine White
80% Semillon and Riesling. The ries profile is joined and buttressed by perfume and lime notes. While more individualistic on the tongue, this really leans to the syrupy side. Still, plenty of gooseberry, apricot, and pear flavor—and pear liqueur becomes more prevalent as time goes on.


2008 Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Chardonnay
Nutty and smoky, crisp apple and a bit of unripe bosc pear underneath. To taste, this is OK, has some wood and apple and pear components, but just thin and shallow, not any oomph. Definitely not at the level of Le Grand Clos.

2008 Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir
Dabs of merde—a bit, well, dirty. Secondary fair dollops of sage and black pepper. A “typical” Ontario pinot—bright red raspberry, tingly, a bit of candy at the back, but no velvet or depth


2008 Jackson Triggs Delaine Vineyard Pinot Noir
Quiet here, with bits of sugared cinnamon mixing with unripe cherry and currant. Mmm—not my speed, kind of stinky entry and fruit is disjointed. Pass

2008 Jackson Triggs Puncheon Pinot Noir
This is the same wine but it was left in the larger puncheon barrel for 8 months. Same alcohol level. It seems a little more “wholesome”. Darker fruit, cherry and currant, some spice. Better on palate too, at least it holds together with peppered cherry, raspberry and currant. Still has that irritable tang at the back though.


2010 Inniskillin Pinot Gris
Rosewater and nectarine sniffs. Actually, this is surprisingly decent—there’s an attractive pomegranate, apple and citrus mix and a real freshness. Not deep or extra-complex or long-lived by any means, but delivers pleasure…and that’s more than I’ve been able to say about just about any other Pinot Gris in this province that wasn’t an icewine.

2011 Inniskillin Rose
From Pinot Noir. Petrol notes and not a lot of fruit showing. Very, very light—only hints of watermelon and strawberry to lick off your cheeks. Ok, but no more, with a candyfloss aftertaste

2009 Inniskillin Merlot
15 months in French and American oak, 30% new. Very oaky profile on the nose. Difficult to get at the cherry and plum fruit through the dill and wood. Same in the mouth, all sticks and picks and not great balance, though plum and some pit fruit is there. Molasses perhaps?

1993 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine
Real treat to get to try this. Very amazing raisin but still some lime and apple counterpoint. Flows in a lovely way across the tongue, it doesn’t sit and sort of breaks apart on the tongue, but component parts are very nice—apple, pear, raisin and dab of petrol. Plenty of character even at this advanced age.


2007 Marynissen Solstice
16 months in oak, 53% merlot, 27% cab, 20% syrah. Some farmyard in the nuzzie, black cherry maybe. Quite light-bodied, fruit mists away. I do find myself needing more.

2007 Marynissen Merlot
Tends to some earch, sous-bois, perhaps some leaf smoke. Again, somewhat light. Sharp, but tasty red berry, maybe some coffee

2007 Marynissen Cabernet Franc
More on the mocha, coffee—almost raisined side Does seem pruny, but may have been open for over a day. It is a big boy, very cherry right now. Really tight for 5 years out, some sour cherry fruit…we’ll see.

2007 Marynissen Syrah
Only bits of cracked pepper and herbs in bouquet. Tastes of black cherry and sour cassis, a small amount of pepper and herbs. OK, but no more. This estate may not be in the extreme dumps of a few years ago but still has a ways to go to get back to its heights


2009 Tawse Quarry Road Chardonnay
Lots of oak here, citrus and apple sidebars. Le gout is a lot less characterful and masterful than the 08 I had. Tangy fruit, but not much else

2010 Tawse Carly’s Block Riesling
Whoa! Like a fresh-peeled fuji apple. Quite something in the proboscis. Just bottled, so very fruit-forward right now, but hints at balance. Still not truly the style of Riesling I like, but not bad

2008 Tawse Van Bers vineyard Cab franc
Some olive and herbs, but sweetened and mixed with cherry. Strange soapiness on the nose. And yes, that continues dans la bouche. Not for me. Light bodied too.

2009 Tawse Grower’s Blend Cab Franc
Bits more cocoa and coffee crisp in the aroma. Some campfire and nips of red fruit too. More grip here, but disjointed to a degree, and blackberry and currant pinging back and forth

2009 Tawse Laundry Vineyard Cab Franc
Here I get mincemeat blended with maraschino cherry. Well, this does have some carry and wholeness to it, more classic with olive and pepper tastes. Still, though, lacking any punch or extra character profile. I am still waiting to try a red I like from here.

The 07 Pinot Blanc and Chard icewines are showing very well right now. Ainsworth had a sample of the to-be-released 09 sauv Blanc

2009 Royal Demaria Sauvignon Blanc Icewine
Already has some walnut and almond to the bouquet. Nick describes the palate as melted jolly rancher. Very good catch—it may be that it’s just been bottled, but really juicy and tangy with orange, lemon, plenty of get-up-and-go. Very different, intrigued to track development