What are Winemakers drinking during the Harvest?

For this month’s column, we decided to visit 5 small local wineries that you usually do not find in the LCBO.  We wanted to find out what their winemakers were drinking with the local harvest and have provided reviews on some of their wines, including their harvest favourites.  These lovely wineries are all worth a day trip and you should visit them to experience their wines for yourself.

Heritage Estate Winery and Cidery (Barrie) – Known for their award winning apple ciders, they started making wine in 2016.  Patrick Garrett, their winemaker, likes their Frontenac Gris Rose, which is made with the cold hardy Frontenac Gris grape that grows well in their Barrie vineyard.

Adamo Estate Winery (Hockley Valley) – Their fruit is from their own beautiful estate situated on the Niagara Escarpment near Orangeville, as well as from select contracted growers in Niagara.  The two harvest favourites of winemaker Shauna White are their award winning Estate Riesling and Frank’s Corner Vidal, which both feature grapes from their Estate.

Holland Marsh Wineries (Newmarket) – This is a family run boutique winery located on their vineyard site in “the Marsh” just off Highway 9.  Their Ephemere Baco Noir Rose, made with grapes from their Estate, is the favourite of Norie Nersisyan, their winemaker.

The Roost Wine Co. (The Blue Mountains) – Situated on the heights above Georgian Bay in the Blue Mountains, this is a spectacular winery.  Jessica Maish is the winemaker and owner (with her husband, Michael). Their wines are mostly vinified from grapes grown on their own 5 acre estate including her harvest favourite, their award winning Frontenac White.

Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery (Annan, near Meaford) – The winery is a little further afield, but you should see it.  The winery sits on picturesque site overlooking their 20 acres of vineyards with Georgian Bay in the distance.  Winemaker Steve Byfield’s harvest favourite is their Into the Light White made from their own Estate fruit.

As customary, my ratings are based on a 5 star system developed by the British wine critic, Michael Broadbent: 5 stars: Outstanding; 4 stars: Very good; 3 stars: Good; 2 stars: Moderately good; 1 star: Not very good, but not bad; No stars: Poor.

Heritage Estate Frontenac Gris Rose 2017 ★★★ $15.95 (Winery) A pale pink wine with ripe apple, some peach and lemon, and a fair bit of residual sweetness. Enjoy it on warm afternoon on the patio.

Adamo Estate Riesling 2017 ★★★★ $29.00 (Winery) An excellent refreshing, aromatic, off dry Riesling that jumps with peaches, apricots, limes, lemons, and minerals. Try it with East Asian cuisine or Thanksgiving dinner.

Adamo Estate Frank’s Corner Vidal 2017 ★★★½ $19.95 (Winery) This wine demonstrates that serendipity works in your favour sometimes.  They grapes were frozen on the vine due to a freak early November cold snap resulting in a wine that has some resemblance to ice wine.  Enticing golden yellow in colour it exudes peaches, apricots, lemons, and honey with uplifting acidity.  It is quite nice to drink on its own, but would also be good with washed rind cheeses.

Adamo Estate Sogno Unoaked Chardonnay 2017 ★★★ $17.25 (Winery) Attractive aromatic white made with Chardonnay sourced from Niagara. Aged on the lees, it has creamy lemon, stony minerals, a hint of sweetess, and refreshing acidity. Look no further for a versatile end of summer wine.

Holland March Ephemere Baco Noir Rose 2017 ★★★+ $17.00 (Winery) Early grape harvest preserved this wine’s acidity and kept the alcohol low.  It has floral rose notes, strawberry, cherry, and cranberry.  Good match for a veggie thin crust pizza.

The Roost Wine Co. Frontenac 2017 ★★★½ $24.95 (Winery) A blend of 50% Frontenac Gris and 50% Frontenac Blanc grapes, it’s a pretty lemon yellow with honeyed apricot, wet stones, and green apple acidity to give it balance.  It would be good with aged cheeses.

The Roost Wine Co. L’Acadie Reserve 2017 ★★★ $26.95 (Winery) L’Acadie is a grape that I’ve seen in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, but this is the first sighting for me in Ontario.  It’s enjoyably crisp, lemony, and reveals some minerals from the limestone soil that sustains their Estate fruit.  It would be nice with some Thai food or appetizers.

The Roost Wine Co. Siegerrebe 2017 ★★★½ $19.95 (Winery) Made in the Süssreserve style (sweetened by the addition of unfermented grape juice) with a grape rarely seen outside its home in Germany, this is very good wine for your desserts.  The wine has generous lychee, citrus, stone fruits, and honey to match with your sweets. Available in ½ bottles.

Coffin Ridge Into the Light White 2016 ★★★½ $20.45 (Winery) This wine is a blend of 5 different varietals that reminds me of Gewurztraminer.  It has viscous, thick mouth feel with plenty of citrus, peaches, apricots, and spice.  It would make a charming wine for a mild curry dinner.

Coffin Ridge Back From the Dead Red 2016 ★★★ $19.95 (Winery and Vintages) A red blend made from Marechal Foch and Baco Noir from their own Estate, along with fruit from other Grey-Bruce County vineyards, and a little Merlot and Cabernet from Niagara.  Medium red in colour it shows red fruit, floral notes, and vanilla.  If you are planning a late season BBQ, this would be quite tasty with your steak.