Newsletter #283 - No Explanation Needed

01 Nov 2017

 Newsletter #283 

November 2, 2017


  • WineReview: No Explanation Needed

  • Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch: New & Noteworthy Wines

  • Weekly Wine Video SeriesA Recap of The Latest Videos

  • Ontario Wine UpdatesRe-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

WineReview:  No Explanation Needed

Let’s start this month off with what’s In the News …

Cave Spring sells their holdings (that’s all) … I heard a rumour this week that Cave Spring “sold their winery” – IT IS NOT TRUE – Cave Spring’s owner Len Pennachetti divested his holdings in the town of Jordan (meaning he is no longer the defacto mayor – listen to our Podcast with Len to understand that statement) … and then read the article about what happened in Jordan here.

Coyote’s Run to be closed by end of November … My podcast partner Andre Proulx did a little digging over the past few weeks and learned that rumours surrounding Coyote’s Run are false, they will not turn into a weed farm … but other rumours currently circulating seem to betrue (according to multiple sources), the winery will be closing at the end of November, if not sooner.  I think it is also important to note that it was Mr. Proulx who did the digging to find out the current ownership of Coyote’s Run and shared his findings with a number of writers interested in this story. So Far Mr. Proulx has not be cited or credited for this work (until now).

And now ...

While on a journalist junket in a foreign winemaking land (Italy) I found myself at a beautiful modern winery where Daddy had obviously made a lot of euros and he wanted his off-spring to have the best in their new endeavor … the winery was painfully modern and so were the levels of wines (earth, sky, air, etc) everything pointed to a winery that devotedly cared about the environment wherein it existed and did so with biodynamic winemaking technics and practices – even the tour dripped of kale-eating and moccasin-wearing.

Before I go any further in this story allow me to state that I like a good modern winery with all the bells and whistles – we have quite a few in Ontario – we also have the opposite … but for me it’s all about the wine that’s produced, the how and why are secondary (but still of interest because a good story always sells at least one bottle of wine). Second, the moment it was announced on the bus that we would be visiting this “surprise extra” winery, most were confused as to why, but once it was revealed they were a bio-dynamic winery buzz of excitement went through the bus … but to me I go back to my earlier statement, “it’s all about the wine that’s produced” … let’s continue:

When it came time to taste the wines, we all sat at a long elaborate table, everything was set to impress. We started with a bottle of barely choke-downable sparkling wine … it was off-putting and oxidized, and that’s putting it mildly. I looked around the table but everybody seemed to be okay with what was in their glass. Next we tried both the whites and red from the various lines previously mentioned, with each wine seemingly worse than the next.

I turned to an older colleague and said, “Do you like any of these wines?” To which he went into an explanation about how the wines are not “typical” but laudable: “In competition these wines would not show well because they have something different about them – but once they are explained, to either the judges or eventually the consumer, these wines would show much better.”

My mind screamed “NO” while I nodded so as not to start a huge argument in front of the winemaker who had returned with yet another bottle … How in the world could this logic be true?  In what world is this even right?  Wine is good or it is bad and that decision is in the palate of the beholder (so to speak), but to make an argument that a wine needs a full dissertation before one can enjoy it is absurd to me and blatantly false.  I’m not saying that some explanation doesn’t help in the understanding of a wine, but you should not need to fully explain a wine to make it palatable; and just because it’s bio-dynamic doesn’t automatically give the wine a pass or extra marks for trying to make the world a better place; bad wine is bad wine and no amount of explanation is going to make it better.

If you like fruit in your wine then something with lots of minerality or over the top acidity will not appeal to you, that’s a taste profile – but poorly made, off-putting, faulty or oxidized wines don’t get an A for effort just because somebody lets a white sit on skins longer, bury a poop-filled rams horn in the ground at low tide (or whatever your bio-dynamic practice may be), or because you have a fountain that swirls water in ornate patterns from a 2000 year old cistern. Ultimately taste is king.

What I’m getting at is this: Don’t be bullied into liking a wine because it was made special or feel you will be black-balled for disliking something because you feel it is off – and don’t, for anyone, swallow the Kool-Aid into believing something you are not 100% comfortable with. Wine is about taste, your taste, make sure your wine doesn’t need extra explanation just to make it taste better.

Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch:  New & Noteworthy Wines

Creekside 2015 Laura’s Red - $22.00 (W)
Always a staple to get whenever you walk through the doors at Creekside, in this bottle you know you’re getting good wine making that will age 7+ years; and this 2015 version delivers again. A blend of 37% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Franc and 9% Syrah aged 18 months in oak and has developed wonderful layered aromas and flavours. Rich black fruit, hints of blue with wood smoke, vanilla and black cherry on the finish … also look for a little red peppercorn for added enjoyment.  Price: $22.00 – Rating: ****+

London Born Wine Co. 2012 Cabernet Franc, Aure - $19.95 (W)
A name change is always interesting and this family owned winery (formerly known as Aure) has decided to flash us their London Born roots right in their name; but the Aure name lingers on certain bottles, like this one. Using 10-20% new wood and a great vintage worth of grapes this Franc has lovely smoky, spicy and black pepper notes along with some mocha, raspberry and strawberry. Pick up what is soon to be a collector’s item, but drink what’s inside now through 2019.  Price: $19.95 – Rating: ****

Magnotta 2012 Merlot, Limited Edition - $19.95 (W)
This wine has a lovely mid-palate which helps carry the wine through to a standout finish: black cherry, blackberry, vanilla, cinnamon and clove all make an appearance – sure there’s a little chalkiness to the finish, but it should resolve itself in a big glass and taste great sipped in front of the fire.  Price: $19.95 - Rating: ****

Meldville 2016 Pinot Noir, 1st Edition - $27.00 (W)
Derek Barnett is known for many wines from his time at Lailey and Pinot Noir would definitely be at the top of that list (or at least top 3) … his first edition under his own virtual winery label is a wild yeast endeavor aged 10 months in 2 year old pre-California used French oak and has naturally gone through malo. The resulting wine is a fruit forward version of Pinot that shows pretty floral and earthy notes that helps to back-up the fruit.  Price: $27.00 – Rating: ****

Wayne Gretzky 2013 Chardonnay, Estate Series - $27.95 (W)
A sur lee / barrel fermented Chardonnay aged 12 months in 100% French oak of which 30% is new and no malolactic fermentation … nice buttery-vanilla aromas followed by peach puree, caramel apple and balancing acidity to keep that seeming-sweetness in check.  Price: $27.95 – Rating: ****

Availability legend:  W (Winery) – L (LCBO/Vintages) –  OL (On-Line)

Wine Meme of the Month ...

The Weekly Wine Video Series: A Recap of the Latest Videos

The Weekly Wine Videos
Every week I'll introduce you to another fabulous wine that you've just gotta try – Check out the YouTube Channel Now

Weekly Ontario Wine Videos

Video #247 - Honsberger 2015 Cabernet Franc (Niagara)
Video #246 - Inniskillin 2016 Viognier Reserve (Niagara)
Video #245 - KEW Vineyards 2012 Tradition (Niagara)
Video #244Fielding 2015 Cabernet Franc (Niagara)


National & International Wines Series ... 

Kandea 2014 Bolla D'oro (Italy)
Valdivieso 2010 Eclat (Chile)
Santo Brut (Greece)
Frog's Leap 2014 Zinfandel (California)

Subscribe to the YouTube channel by clicking here

Ontario Wine Updates Re-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds


On the Road:  Mark Anthony: Trail Blazers & Terroirs
On the Road:  Australia Up Close
Taste it Again:  An Ontario 3-pack
Taste it Again:  Lailey 2006 Merlot

From the Cellar (blog)
When it’s not an Ontario wine, here’s what I’m pulling out of the cellar
New Posts Added


PODCAST:  Two Guys Talking Wine ... NOW WEEKLY
Join me and my co-host Andre Proulx as we discuss all things wine, and sometimes we're not afraid to go off topic
Episode 65:  Talkin' Is the VQA A-Okay
Episode 64:  Talkin' Old Chateau des Charmes Wines
Episode 63: Talkin' Franciacorta
Episode 62:  Talkin' with the Count of Buena Vista


Vintages Release (blog)
Saturday October 28, 2017 - See it Here
Saturday October 14, 2017 - See it Here

OntarioWineReview’s bi-weekly newsletter is devoted to the love, enjoyment and promotion of the wines of Ontario and the wineries that make them.

What can the Grape Guy do for you … Michael Pinkus (Grape Guy) provides a variety of wine related services that you might be interested in taking advantage of:  he gives lectures, leads seminars, conducts tastings, sets up tours; consults, selects and judges.  He also gives interviews, broadcasts, podcasts and writes.  Contact the Grape Guy if you require any of these services or have any questions.

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