In Canada, day 1

canada from the road

In Canada, day 1

So, I am in Canada. For one night only, I’m staying in the very pretty resort town of Niagara on the Lake. I got here about 4 pm yesterday, arriving in beautiful sunshine and temperatures in the high 20s. The first thing I did was check the test match score (England pulled off a thrilling 14 run victory), then I went for a run. There’s a lovely recreation trail along the Niagara river, and you can run all the way to the falls if you want to (some 25 km).

Then I showered, changed and went out for dinner with Magdalena Kaiser-Smit of Wines of Ontario. We went to a lovely restaurant, Treadwells, where we alarmed fellow diners by opening far more bottles than is normal during the course of a meal, and only drinking a little bit of each. I was impressed: there were some lovely wines in this selection. Here are my full notes.

Hinterland Rosé 2010 Prince Edward County, Canada
This sparkling wine is pale salmon pink colour. It shows lovely precision with subtle cherry fruit, some ripe apple and a green herbal character in the background. Lovely fizz with delicate flavours and good acidity. 90/100

Flat Rock Cellars Riesling Nadja’s Vineyard 2010 Twenty Mile Bench VQA, Canada
12% alcohol. Delicate, fine and quite precise with lime and grapefruit pith notes. Dry with lovely fruit and just a hint of grippiness. Nice purity. 89/100

Château des Charmes Old Vines Riesling 2010 Niagara on the Lake VQA, Canada
12.5% alcohol. From vines around 30 years old, this has lovely ripe melon, pear and citrus aromas. The palate has more of this ripe fruit character with lovely purity, a rounded texture and a hint of sweetness. 91/100

Back 10 Cellars The Big Reach Riesling 2012 Lincoln Lakeshore VQA, Canada
10.5% alcohol. This is special. Lively, precise, pure grapefruit and lemon flavours with a hint of sweetness and some pear fruit richness. Very fine and beautifully balanced. 93/100

Bachelder Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 Twenty Mile Bench VQA, Canada
13.9% alcohol. Thomas Bachelder makes his wines from three regions: Burgundy, Oregon and Niagara. This is aromatic with a pear, peach and spice nose. There’s lovely depth on the palate, which is richly textured and spicy, showing fig, pear and peach notes. Very bold and full. 91/100

Stratus Chardonnay 2009 Niagara on the Lake VQA, Canada
14% alcohol. Ripe flavours of pear, apple and peach, with some toast and nut notes too. Broad and textured yet with good definition, and beginning to develop some aged characters. 90/100

Château des Charmes Chardonnay Musque 2010 Niagara on the Lake VQA, Canada
13.5% alcohol. This is clone 809 Chardonnay, one of the two clones of this variety that are ‘musque’, which means that are overtly terpenic, like Muscat. This is highly aromatic with a grapey, citrus pith, muscat-like edge to the nose. The palate is fruity, fresh, ripe and rounded with boiled sweets and grape jelly notes. 86/100

Coyote’s Run Red Paw Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 Four Mile Creek VQA, Canada
Lovely nose of sweet cherry, undergrowth and spice. The palate is ripe and quite dense with some spicy notes, good depth and nice texture. Very stylish. 90/100

The Old Third Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 Prince Edward County, Canada
12.5% alcohol. Supple, elegant nose, with notes of roses, red cherries and subtle spice. The palate is  pure and elegant with beautifully textured red cherry fruit. Real finesse here. Such a lovely Pinot Noir. 93/100

Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir 2009 Twenty Mile Bench VQA, Canada
Some spice, roast coffee and black cherry on the subtly reductive nose. The palate shows nice density and some structure, and is taut with a bit of grip under the ripe fruit. Surprisingly Burgundian with this structure. I think it will age well. 92/100

Hidden Bench Pinot Noir 2010 Beamsville Bench VQA, Canada
Supple and fresh with lovely cherry and berry fruit. Nice texture and lovely balance, with sweet, rounded fruit. So easy to drink but with more than a hint of seriousness. 92/100

Stratus Gamay 2009 Niagara on the Lake, Canada
Sweet black fruits nose leads to a rich, sweetly fruited palate that’s much denser and richer than you’d expect from Gamay. Supple, smooth, pure, ripe and full. 89/100

Ravine Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Franc Picone Vineyard 2010 Vinemount Ridge VQA, Canada
Seductive ripe, sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit. Sweet, pure and textured with lovely ripeness, but also great definition. Impressive. 93/100

Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Franc 2010 Four Mile Creek VQA, Canada
14.5% alcohol. Ripe, sweet, seductive blackberry fruit with some vanilla. Sweet, bold and ripe with some spicy oak influence. This is a big, ripe style. 88/100

Southbrook Poetica Red 2010 Niagara Peninsula VQA, Canada
Biodynamic. Dense, spicy, rich and subtly tarry with lovely brooding ripe black fruits. Rich, full and ripe with generous flavours. Lovely wine. 92/100

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