In the Niagara wine region, Canada, day 2

flat rock

Another day of visits. And they were all good. First of all, I headed off to Flat Rock cellars, hosted by winemaker Jay Johnston. Flat Rock are Riesling specialists, but also make very good Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. And the wines are very reasonably priced.

Jay Johnston

Jay Johnston

After two brutal winters they’ve decided to replant 24 acres of their 69, because certain bits of the vineyard got hit very hard by the cold damage. Both the regular Riesling and also the Nadja’s Riesling are very pure, and we tried an older bottle of the Nadja’s, the 2004, which was lovely. The total bargain here is the regular 2013 Pinot Noir, which for just $20 seriously over-delivers.

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Then it was off to Redstone. This is a relatively new project by Moray Tawse, and I had lunch at their brand new, beautiful restaurant with winemaker Paul Pender (pictured below; he’s the Tawse winemaker, but their team are also involved in Redstone).

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They bought the vineyard and have been making wines here since the 2010 vintage, and the highlights here were the 2010 Merlot and the 2011 Syrah, which were just superb. It was a really enjoyable lunch.

Ilya Senchuk and Ryan Corrigan, Leaning Post

Ilya Senchuk and Ryan Corrigan, Leaning Post

The final visit was a really good one. Leaning Post is a boutique winery owned by Ilya Senchuk, who works with small, interesting vineyards from some of the best terroirs in Niagara, out of a beautiful small winery in Winona, right at the eastern end of the wine region.

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The wines here are great, with lots of personality. I really liked the Gamay, the single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and the Riesling. But the real star was the Keczan Vineyard Syrah: 12 in bottle and 13 from barrel were quite profound.

These visits were eye-openers. I knew that Niagara was capable of making world class wine. It’s just there are so many people now doing this – not just a few. It’s a tough place to work from a climate point of view, but it seems that some of the leading terroirs are now beginning to emerge, and winegrowers are starting to recognize the particular talents of the top sites.

3 comments to In the Niagara wine region, Canada, day 2

  • Gordon Richens

    I find it interesting that so little malbec is produced in the Niagara region. One of the best examples I have encountered in the New-World comes from less than 1/3 ha of vineyard at Stratus on the outskirts of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

    Stratus employs Paul Hobbs as the consulting vineron for their small release of the varietal. So maybe some would write the Stratus malbec off as a ginned-up attempt at Hobbs’ Viña Cabos. But side-by-side, I have found the Niagara wine considerably more complex. It’s tough to obtain though.

  • David Brodati

    I’m glad you found your way to Leaning Post – excellent wines and run by a great couple, Ilya and Nadia Senchuk.

    I liked your description of Niagara Falls, Jamie. While the Falls are spectacular, it is generally a place that Southern Ontario residents only visit when they are hosting guests from far away.

    BTW, I had the good fortune of spending a couple of days working alongside your younger son as a volunteer at the NWAC in Niagara Falls – he’s a fine young gentleman, quiet but very bright, polite and hard working.

  • Gordon – agree, Malbec is generally underrated. But it can be frost prone. Winter hardiness is a necessary feature in Niagara.

    David, that is so kind of you to say. He really enjoyed his time. Thanks for helping to make him feel welcome

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