Last weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Niagara for Twasting 1.0 at Chateau des Charmes. The tasting was organised on Twitter by CdC’s director of marketing Michèle Bosc (@MBosc). Yes, it’s a borderline ridiculous name for an event but that’s not at all Michèle’s fault. Blame the geniuses who named the most recent social media tool Twitter and not Jake Rock Fighter (my suggested, less-effeminate alternative).
The concept is quite excellent, I think. Use a new technology to invite potential customers to sample your product in a sociable environment with other wine drinkers. It helped that they supplied some excellent artisanal Canadian cheese. The large and diverse group that attended the tasting proved that those using Twitter aren’t just anti-social under-25 year-olds.
On to the wine. At Chateau des Charmes we started with their 2006 sparkling rosé that is made from a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. An appropriately festive way to lead off. It was the only sparkling we had all day (three other wineries, including lunch at the Ravine deli, made our itinerary but those are posts of their own) and also the only rosé. With a touch of sweetness and unobtrusive bubbles this wine is worthy of consideration for the regular summer rotation.
Update: It appears that I mistakenly noted the second wine as a sauvignon blanc when it actually was a sauvignon gris. Apparently Chateau des Charmes is the only Canadian winery to produce a sauvignon gris. The correction was provided–through Twitter of course–by @laurendorphin and @rickwine. Both wise people that are definitely worth following there.
Next up for me was the 2008 sauvignon gris from which I detected melon and a pleasant, flinty minerality on the nose. On the palette I found this white leans towards lemon.
Moving to the reds I tried their 2007 Pinot Noir with its enchanting nose of strawberries and wet limestone. The palate, for me, was more about blueberries with some good tannin support. This would be a nice special occasion wine or for contemplative sipping on its own.
The final red I tasted was the 2007 Equuleus (about as difficult to pronounce as it is to spell) which along with the Pinot Noir is from the Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard line. A bourdeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot the Equuleus is only made in particularly good years from grapes that grow close to the Boscs’ stables–hence the name. This wine offers blackcurrant and vanilla on the nose and a good tannin structure on the palette. Another excellent candidate for cellaring or special occasions now.
More information, including retail prices and professional tasting notes, about the wines can be found on the Chateau des Charmes website.
As well as the wide selection of wine the success of this event was really how it demonstrated that a very new technology can be used to help market a very old product. Chateau des Charmes is not the only Ontario winery on Twitter, though. Below is the list of others that I follow. I’m pretty sure it’s not an exhaustive list so let me know if there are wineries to add to it in the comment section, please.
Ontario Wineries on Twitter:
- Coyote’s Run (@coyotesrun)
- Vineland Estates (@benchwineguy)
- Fielding Winery (@FieldingWinery)
- Creekside (@CreeksideWine)
- Wayne Gretzky Estate (@99wine)
- Ravine (@AlexRavine)
- Southbrook Vineyards (@SouthbrookWine)
- Lailey (@Laileywinemakr)
- Tawse Winery (@Tawse_Winery)
- Stratus Wines (@Stratuswines)
- Black Prince Winery (@blackprincewine)
- Rosewood Estates (@rosewoodestates)
- Marynissen (@Marynissen)
- Hillebrand (@hillebrandwine)