at the winery only
Lake Erie North Shore
(Re-Tasted October 2011) ... This was my second bottle of Shiraz (or Syrah) on a night of disappointments. The good news, I guess, that the wine in this bottle was still alive. Now 2005 was a good year for reds in Ontario and the southern most point, Pelee Island, got some real nice flavours out of these grapes, as per my notes of September 2009 - but now looking back over them I see that there was all kinds of the same flavours back then that it has now, but with an element added and an element taken away. Some 4 years later the wine seems to be falling apart. Back then I was in love with the spicy-peppery notes in the wine and started to see some dark fruits emerge. But the nose has gone all cedary along with those black pepperish aromas; while the palate has the spice and black pepper there seems to be a real cedary flavour, and the thought of some fruit coming to the rescue is long gone ... there does not seem to be a spec of fruit left in this bottle. Granted the wine seemed to smooth out over the course of an hour, dropping some of the harsh tannins that also were prevalent in the bottle, but it remained all woody and black pepper in flavour. While it was drinkable it seems to work better with the food than on its own.
In my family, August is a big month – there are at least 2 birthdays and three anniversaries to contend with; that’s why somewhere in the middle of the month, we have “the family BBQ” to celebrate everything all at once. At this event, we sit around on the patio and everybody catches up, shoots the breeze and inevitably wine questions get thrown my way. Unfortunately, this year the outdoor part was rained out, but the wine questions flew fast and furious. One from my brother seemed well timed (as I had just returned from a Vintage Tasting in the Lake Erie North Shore region where I tasted this wine). He asked, “if I’ve had a good Ontario Shiraz?” I have tried quite a few, but none seems more true to the peppery-spiciness of this grape than this Pelee Island offering. The wine is aged 20 months in 5000L Hungarian raw oak barrels (no toasting/charring on the inside of the barrel) and hand harvested from the southern most grape growing point in Ontario – Pelee Island. The nose is all peppery and spicy – the taste kept the spicy aspect along with rich tannin-filled black fruit … there’s good ageabilty in this bottle and it’s limited to only 900 cases. It’s worth putting your hands on one or more of the 10,800 bottles available exclusively through the winery – it might sound like a lot but at $18.95 it’s a steal and should go quickly.