In Niagara, Canada: Leaning Post

Ilya Senchuk, Leaning Post

Ilya Senchuk has been making wines in Niagara for a while now. He started off with Daniel Lencko, then went to Foreign Affairs, and then started his own virtual winery, Leaning Post, specializing in making wines from interesting vineyards across the region. Seven years ago he and his wife Nadia purchased a property in Winona, which is the first town in Niagara, near Hamilton, which is now the physical home of Leaning Post. It’s an interesting site, 800 metres from the Lake and 800 metres from the escarpment, and is cool and windswept. They planted a vineyard here of 2 hectares (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), and the now 6 year old vines are producing wine, which is a very exciting development. There’s another couple of hectares that are plantable.

I visited here back in 2015, so it was nice to be back to see the progress. The production has more than doubled from 1400 cases to 4000, and in 2018 it should hit 5000. And as well as the first wines from the home vineyard, there is also a range called ‘Freaks and Geeks’, with more off the wall and experimental wines.

Pinot Noir in the home vineyard

I think that Ilya is a smart, thoughtful winemaker and that Leaning Post is one of Niagara’s most exciting wineries.

Leaning Post Wismer Foxcroft Vineyard Riesling 2016 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
12% alcohol, 10 g/l sugar, then aged on lees for 9 months, all in tank. Inoculated. Very fine and fresh with lovely purity to the intense limey, lemony fruit. Pure and fine. 92/100

Leaning Post The Geek Riesling 2015 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
The inspiration for this came at 2 am in the morning. Ilya created a tank in the winery to capture all the white wine lees. He used Riesling to keep the lees, and these lees are kept two years. Then the Riesling is bottled adding back in the lees from previous vintage of this wine. Bone dry and linear with fresh citrus fruit. Subtle waxy and nutty notes here alongside the fine-grained, textured citrus fruit. Long finish. 92/100

Leaning Post Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Niagara Peninsula, Canada
Half in barrel for 3 months. Two vineyards. Exotic tropical fruit nose with some fine herb and grapefruit notes. Fresh with lively citrus fruit on the palate and nice grassy edges, some herbs, and good texture. Deliciously expressive, in between old and new world in style. 91/100

Leaning Post The Fifty Chardonnay 2016 Niagara Peninsula, Canada
Barrel fermented then stainless steel aged on lees, made in a fresher style. Fruit forward with pear and apple notes, and a subtle nuttiness. Quite rounded and grainy with nice richness, but stays fresh and detailed. Great value at $22. 89/100

Leaning Post Wismer Foxcroft Chardonnay 2015 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
Nutty and complex with a nice rounded character. Ripe peach fruit with some straw/hay character. Has depth but also good focus with fine spiciness. Big but balanced. 92/100

Leaning Post Senchuk Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara, Canada
The plan was to make 180 cases from 9 barrels, but when they came to blend the wine, they looked at the barrels together and didn’t like it. So they ended up making two bottlings, largely along clonal differences. They have 548 clone and 96 clone, and Ilya bottled them separately, and the two wines were different but excellent on their own. The 96 is from the siltier, gravelly soils. This is 75% 548 and 25% 96. Complex and nutty with lovely citrus fruit and a fennel-like savouriness. Waxy and mineral with a slight saline twist. Lovely complexity here. 94/100

Leaning Post Clone 96 Chardonnay 2016 Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara, Canada
Fresh, open, expressive and quite detailed with some sweetness to the tangerine and apple fruit. Has a hint of marmalade even. Lively and bright with a very open character. Tangy finish. 92/100

Unnamed Sauvignon skin contact wine
Whole cluster ferment on skins for 33 days. Tangy, juicy and intense with a bit of lift. Has some green herby notes. Really tight with refined structure and good acidity. Has some weedy notes. Very interesting. 90-92/100

Leaning Post Wismer Armbrust Vineyard Gamay 2016 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
Destemmed. Pale in colour. 1.3 acre block looking over Balls Falls. Has a slight lift on the nose, as well as floral, spicy red fruits. Rounded, smooth and fresh with lovely texture and elegance. Has a fine, savoury spiciness. Such lovely weight. Has a warmth on the mid palate. Delicate. 93/100

Leaning Post The Natural Gamay 2016 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
No sulfites, no filtration, whole cluster. From Wismer Armbrust vineyard. Cloudy. Savoury, spicy and tangy with a sour cherry edge. Earthy and murky with nice savoury detail and keen acidity. Distinctive and natural. 90/100

Leaning Post Senchuk Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara, Canada
First wine from the vineyard. Two barrels. Pale in colour. Fine, delicate and textured with lovely elegance but also a broad, quite rich midpalate. Supple red cherries with slight sappy greenness hiding under the fruit. Nice acidity and mouthfeel. 93/100

Leaning Post Senchuk Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara, Canada (tank sample of final blend)
85% new oak, which integrates really well. 10% whole cluster. Pale in colour but rich, sweetly fruited and quite dense with nice grainy, mineral structure. Sweet red cherries, strawberries and plums, with nice sweet, mouthfilling flavours on the midpalate. Very appealing. 92-94/100

Leaning Post The Freak Pinot Noir 2016 Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara, Canada
Naturally made with 50% whole cluster. Lifted nose. Juicy, grainy and cloudy with some spiciness and hints of earth, as well as sour cherries and plums. Grippy and grainy, and quite distinctive with a very savoury twist. Some green tea character with freshness and structure. 90/100

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NIAGARA SERIES

1 comment to In Niagara, Canada: Leaning Post

  • Nellie

    Two hard working Ukrainian kids who left their home town of Winnipeg to pursue their dream of making incredible wine. The Peg is proud of you.

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