So, my Canadian adventure continues. And this is turning into an epic trip. Such great people, and some seriously good wines. Day 3 was spent in Prince Edward County, which is a bit cooler than Niagara (for example, in winter it gets so cold here that the vines have to be covered in earth, so the head is trained very close to the ground). The strength here is a combination of slightly cooler growing seasons, and superb clay and limestone soils. This makes all the hassle of earthing up the vines worth it.
We started off at Hinterland. Vicki Samaras and Jonas Newman have built up a fantastic winery, specializing in sparkling wine, from scratch. Their winery is in a converted dairy shed, and their first vintage was as recently as 2007. The wines are really great, with my favourites being the 2011 Blanc de Blancs (not released yet), the 2009 Rose and the 2007 Les Etoiles. But you must try their Lacus if you get a chance: it’s a sparkling Cabernet Franc that perfectly captures the essence of this variety. We also got to see two-day old kittens on our visit. Impossibly cute. The first time for me.
Next, a double act: we tasted wines from Closson Chase and Huff Estates together. I really liked the Closson Chase Chardonnay 2010 which is rich but fresh at the same time. And the Huff Estates Cuvee Peter F Huff 2007 is a remarkably rich, complex, delicious sparkling wine.
Next up we visited Dan Sullivan at Rosehall Run. It’s a really nice vineyard, and I particularly liked the Chardonnays, with both 2009 and 2011 showing particularly well. Dan is a cool guy who started out as an amateur winemaker.
Then, off to see the legend that is Norman Hardie. Here we had an extensive tasting going back to 2006 for both his Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This was a real highlight, and the wines here are properly good. Norm makes wine from both Prince Edward County and Niagara, and while the PEC wines are my preference, don’t discount the Niagara wines, because they are special too.
There was a good vibe here. There were quite a few of us gathered, and more joined for an informal dinner, with lots of different bottles open, and some good Canadian beer, too. I stayed overnight in the bunkhouse, which was a cool, communal thing to do. Such a fun experience. Prince Edward County is definitely a special wine region.