In Niagara: Rosewood

Ryan Corrigan and William Roman, Rosewood

Rosewood is a family run business. The vineyards were planted in 2003, the first harvest was 2006 and the doors opened in 2008. I visited with GM William Roman, and winemaker Ryan Corrigan. This visit was one of the big surprises of my Niagara trip, because quietly, since Ryan arrived, Rosewood have been making some of the most interesting wines in the region. He’s been here since 2016 and has changed the style of the wines, working in a more natural way, with impressive results. Rosewood is also a meadery, and Ryan has really got on board with making interesting mead.

They have 52 acres of vines on two sites, and total production is 6000 cases. In addition, Rosewood work with two growers to bring in Gamay and Pinot Noir. William’s father, Eugene, is a bee keeper, as was his father. Eugene was successful in the tech world, and began the meadery as well as planting vineyards. The Roman family is originally from Ukraine.

Bee wax!

‘We’re not trying to make wines that will appeal to everyone,’ says Ryan. ‘There’s so much mindless consumption.’ Ryan’s previous gig was with Pearl Morissette in Niagara, and although what he’s doing here isn’t exactly the same as Francois Morissette does, there’s clearly been some influence.

Terracotta amphorae

I think the wines are underpriced, but that’s great news for consumers. As it stands, William says that the honey business pays for everything else!

Rosewood Riesling AF 2017 (tank sample)
Picked first week in October, and aged on fine lees. Just 25 ppm total SO2. Arrested ferment, stainless steel, half inoculated half wild. Stony, bright and linear with good acidity. Very textural and complex with just a hint of sweetness (7 g/l). 91-93/100

Rosewood Follow The White Rabbit Chardonnay/Pinot Gris 2017
70% oak fermented with wild yeast in large puncheons, and 30% in stainless steel. Pinot Gris had 48 h skin contact. It will be unfiltered. Very mineral and a bit nutty with nice spiciness and some grainy structure. Has a bit of apple too. Textured and really mineral with some oxidative hints, but it works so well. Really textural. 91-93/100

Rosewood Renaceau Vineyard Riesling 2016 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
Neutral puncheon for two years on gross lees. 18 parts SO2 added over two years. Honeyed and textured with some apple notes and refined, textured citrus fruit. Slightly oxidative but with real detail and lovely weight. Juicy, lemony finish. Long and fine. 92/100

Rosewood Sans Heir Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Niagara Lakeshore, Canada
18 months on lees in barrel. Beautiful stuff: waxy, nutty, intense with finesse and character. Has lovely guava and grapefruit notes. So expressive and textural with lots of personality. Old world style, and very fine. 93/100

Rosewood Le Provacateur Gamay Rosé 2017 Creek Shores
This is an experiment in saignee, with each barrel having different lengths of skin contact. This is unsulfured, raised in neutral French oak. Full pink/red. Textured and sweetly fruited with some sweet and savoury notes. Textured with a buscuitty finish. Apples, cherries and pears. Very nutty on the finish. 88/100

Rosewood The Notorious PTG Niagara Peninsula, Canada
Gamay press wine (73%), 27% Pinot Noir, no sulfites added. Slightly cloudy with vivid colour. Lovely vibrant cherries and raspberries with some meaty hints. Textured and smooth but with nice fresh bite on the finish. Chilled down, this is smashable and delicious. Lovely stuff. 93/100

Rosewood Blackjack Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
Nice fine grained structure here with smooth strawberry and cherry fruit. On skins for 32 days with no stems. Soft and smooth with a refined red fruit character and some elegance. Soft and smooth. 90/100

Gamay 2017 (no name yet)
‘This was the worst sorting experience ever,’ recalls Ryan. ‘We had a plague of ladybirds, in the clusters of the Gamay. The sorting took ages.’ The resulting wine is supple and elegant with lovely finesse. Bright cherry and raspberry fruit with a lovely fruity quality. Tangy and lively with nice supple fruit. 92-93/100

Cabernet Franc Renaceau Vineyard 2016 (tank sample of final blend)
20 months in barrel, 10% new oak. Treated like Pinot Noir, 100% whole cluster. Very fine, supple and grainy with lovely black cherry and blackcurrant fruit. Nicely structured with purity and finesse, showing floral detail. Juicy, lively finish. A lovely wine. 93/100

Pyment (Chardonnay and Honey ferment in Cognac barrels)
Rich, sweet and textured with a nice graininess. So smooth with a lovely spiciness and a long finish. Has honey, spice and peach flavours. Pure. Very interesting. Will bring it up to 19% to keep it stable.

Ambrosia in a solera system. 100% mead. 20% alcohol. Nutty, sweet and intense with a nice spiciness. Honeyed and complex. Rich and very sweet.

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NIAGARA SERIES

2 comments to In Niagara, Canada: Rosewood

  • Alastair Green

    It’s Ukraine, and not the Ukraine.

  • Greg

    I visited Rosewood last week with my wife and a couple of friends. Of the 6 wineries we visited that day, Rosewood stood out. From the outgoing and completely non-pretensious host(ess) to the wonderful and interesting wines to taste, this was our best experience of the day. We left with several bottles of mead and a case of the riesling (which as you say was a tremendous value). I will add that the PTG was a bit too funky for me; I’ve never tasted a wine that shared a bouquet with my homemade sauerkraut :-). We’ll definitely be back.

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