Revisting the Niagara Wine region, Canada, part 2

Queylus was started by a group of 12 wine geeks from Quebec. Initially they wanted to invest in Burgundy, but they were inspired by the success of the wines from Clos Jordanne, made by Thomas Bachelder. So they decided to work in Niagara, with Thomas at the helm. He's been with them from the start. They planted the Queylus vineyard in 2007, and 2010 was the debut vintage. The first few vintages were made in the Southbrook winery, but in 2013 Queylus built their own winery, which is where I caught up with Thomas and winemaker Kelly Mason.

Thomas Bachelder 

Kelly Mason

There are two vineyard sites: the Queylus vineyard, and a leased 3.26 hectare vineyard that Thomas calls Neudorf, which used to be Clos Jordanne's La Petite Colline. Queylus is below the bench and has deeper soils, making richer wines, while Neudorf is above the bench and makes wines with what Thomas describes as 'limestone minerality.' He divides both vineyards into sections. 'We are trying to capture different parts of the vineyard and discuss what they taste like,' he says.


Queylus is a largely red wine winery, and 60% of production is Pinot Noir. The remainder is Bordeaux varieties, chiefly Cabernet Franc which does so well in Niagara. Vineyards are managed organically and all ferments are wild yeast. Everything is destemmed. 'We are trying to learn our vineyard,' Thomas says. 'The zeitgeist of the new world is not to have everything separate. Everything is contiguous. If you have 10 varieties then you never learn about your terroir.'


'The new world has wasted 40 years in selecting the biggest barrels,' says Thomas. 'We select what is light on its feet and has flavour interest.' He adds that, 'these wines have to have some elegance to them. Concentration can be bought at $15 now.'



Queylus Reserve Pinot Noir 2011 Niagara, Canada
Fresh and structured with fine spiciness and a bit of mineral character. Lovely cherry and plum fruit but also very fine savoury spiciness. Quite serious. 94/100

Queylus La Grande Reserve Pinot Noir 2011 Niagara, Canada
Savoury and fine-grained with some spicy warmth. Real elegance to the cherry and plum fruit. Finesse with some savoury depth. There's a lovely savoury elegance to this wine. 95/100

Queylus Pinot Noir Tradition 2012 Niagara, Canada
Pure red cherry and plum fruit with some spiciness. There's sweetness to this fruit. Smoothly textured with some breadth. 92/100

Queylus Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 Niagara, Canada
Sweet and bold with nice depth. Has plenty of flavour but it stays light on its feet. Fresh, sweet, juicy cherry fruit with nice grip and good tannic structure. Has finesse, and just a hint of iodine. 93/100

Queylus La Grande Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 Niagara, Canada
Fine, expressive, with nice savoury spiciness, along with fine but grippy structure. Detail and finesse with taut, grippy backing to the fruit. Complex with potential to develop. 94/100

Queylus Pinot Noir Tradition 2013 Niagara, Canada
Sweet, warm and slightly herbal on the nose with fine spiciness. The palate is sweet, warm and fresh with ripe fruit. 90/100

Queylus Reserve Pinot Noir 2013 Niagara, Canada
Warm, fresh and spicy on the nose with ripe, sweet cherry and plum fruit. Berryish with nice texture and some spiciness. Rounded, juicy and grippy with good acidity. 92/100

Queylus La Grande Reserve Pinot Noir 2013 Niagara, Canada
Very pure with sappy cherry fruit elegance. Such finesse. Floral, fine, supple and juicy with lovely freshness. Has a really fine spiciness and nice finesse. Lovely grip and potential for development. 95/100

(We also tasted 2014 Pinots from barrel. This is looking like a very exciting vintage.)

Queylus Cabernet Franc Merlot Reserve 2011 Niagara, Canada
Fine with aromatic cherries, plums and blackcurrant with a hint of gravel. Sweet, silky and rounded. 92/100

Queylus Cabernet Franc Merlot Reserve 2012 Niagara, Canada
Sweet, warm and ripe with a slightly herbal note son the nose. Warm, rich, rounded palate with ripe blackberries and spice. 92/100

Queylus La Grande Reserve Merlot Cabernet Franc 2012 Niagara, Canada
A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Fresh, vivid and pure with lovely aromatics of black cherries and plums. Fine, fresh and expressive on the palate with an almost saline quality, showing lovely structure and depth. Real purity of fruit: this is fabulous. 95/100

Queylus La Grande Reserve Merlot Cabernet Franc 2013 Niagara, Canada
Sweet and spicy with lovely black fruits. Smooth, rich, sweet and intense with nice silkiness and some spiciness. Has lovely texture and nice depth. 93/100

Queylus Chardonnay Tradition 2013 Niagara, Canada
Fresh and a bit nutty with nice citrus, pear and a bit of peach. Nice focus with a bit of spicy minerality. Very attractive. 89/100

Queylus Chardonnay Reserve 2013 Niagara, Canada
Rounded, textured and nutty with nice finesse and a bit of spiciness. Nice pear and peach fruit with lovely depth. Finesse coupled with richness. 90/100

Queylus Pinot Noir Rosť 2014 Niagara, Canada
10 barrels made. Nice texture and purity here with cherries, plums and pear, as well as some spiciness. A bit stony, too, this is classy stuff. 90/100


Pearl Morissette
Hidden Bench


Closson Chase
Huff Estates
Rosehall Run
Norman Hardie

Wines tasted 06/15  
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