Earlier in December I attended a sparkling wine tasting put on by Wine Country Ontario at Stock Restaurant in the Trump Hotel. It was one of those events that offered excellent company, great wine, and some useful information.
Angelo Pavan, Winemaker and Founding Partner at Cave Spring Cellars joined us for the educational and tasting portion of the lunch. Pavan identified two trends for Ontario sparkling wine that I think are worth examining from a consumer perspective. (more…)
The 2010 Canadian Wine Awards offered many superlative firsts that involved Niagara’s Tawse Winery on the Twenty Mile Bench. They were the first Ontario winery to be named Canadian winery of the year; they won the most gold medals ever (five) for 2008 Robyn’s Block Chardonnay, 2008 Quarry Road Chardonnay, 2008 Lauritzen Pinot Noir, 2008 Wismer Lakeview Vineyard Riesling, and the 2009 Tawse Riesling; and the Robyn’s Block Chardonnay was named white wine of the year and now the record for highest table wine score (93) at these awards. Last weekend I joined a group of Toronto wine food bloggers for an extensive tour of the fields and facilities at Tawse guided by winemaker Paul Pender and national sales manager Daniel Lafleur.
Tawse has practiced organic viticulture since Moray Tawse started the business in 2001 and has followed the tenets of biodynamic farming since 2006. This movement is based on the ideas set out in a series of speeches by Rudolf Steiner in 1924 that, in short, call on farmers to produce as many of their inputs on their own farm as possible; substitute a selection of organic preparations for synthetic fertilisers; and schedule farm activities to coincide with the appropriate phase of the lunar month. Corby Kummer wrote this outline of biodyamic winemaking for Techology Review. (more…)
Last week a group of friends and wine lovers–many of whom Twitter about food or wine–gathered to sample some of Ontario’s best Riesling. We tasted ten bottles from Niagara plus two surprise outsiders.
The identity of each wine was disguised during the tasting and at the end of the night a favourite and least favourite was selected based on a show of hands.
The results were, if not startling, eye-opening. Tasting blind the crowd managed to pick wines for our favourite and least favourite that are exactly the same $17.95 price. The 2009 Tawse “Sketches of Niagara” Riesling took top honours and my notes have it as flinty on the nose and tasting slightly sweet with notes of pineapple. Stripped of its clever packaging and catchy name the voters shunned the 2007 Megalomaniac Narcissist Riesling with whose nose I was particularly disappointed. More intriguing is that the two wineries, Tawse and John Howard Cellars of Distinction (who produce Megalomaniac) are directly across Cherry Avenue in Vineland from each other and apparently the lion’s share of grapes used for both wines were grown by the same growers on the same plot. Terroir-ists will, I’m sure, gasp in disbelief. (more…)