On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Ontario Wine Reviews: 58 Wines from 25 Wineries - Fall 2021

10 Nov 2021

Not all reviews make the newsletter, there's just so many good wines and not enough space ... so every three to six months (or so) I clear out the backlog of wines ... here are the reviews that were written but until now have never seen the light of day. 

This time there are 58 wines reviewed from 25 wineries

(click on the wine name to link to the full review)


Niagara Escarpment

16 Mile 2016 Pinot Noir, Rebel
Cornerstone Estate 2017 Peach
Featherstone 2019 Gamay
Featherstone 2019 Merlot, Red Tail
Flat Rock Cellars 2020 Chardonnay Unplugged / Unoaked
Flat Rock Cellars 2020 Twisted Sparkling
Henry of Pelham 2019 Baco Noir, Speck Family Reserve HoP
Henry of Pelham 2019 Cabernet Merlot - Speck Family Reserve
Henry of Pelham 2020 Baco Noir
Henry of Pelham 2020 Pinot Grigio
Henry of Pelham 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Fumé

KacabaKacaba 2019 Pinot Noir, Select Series
Kacaba 2020 Cabernet
Kacaba 2020 Chardonnay, Unoaked
Kacaba 2020 Pinot Gris, Jennifer's
Leaning Post 2019 Cuvee Winona
Leaning Post 2019 Pinot Noir - The Fifty
London Born 2020 Siegerrebe
Malivoire 2018 Red Stock Farmstead
Malivoire 2019 Chardonnay, Moira
Malivoire 2019 Pinot Noir, Rosehall Run Vineyard
Malivoire 2020 Musque Spritz
Malivoire 2020 Pinot Gris

Organized Crime 2019 The MischiefOrganized Crime
Organized Crime 2020 Pinot Gris
Organized Crime 2020 Sacrilege - Skin Fermented White
Speck Bros 2019 Cabernet Merlot - Family Tree, The Padre
Speck Bros 2020 Baco Noir - Family Tree, The Bootlegger
Speck Bros 2020 Chardonnay - Family Tree, The Goat Lady
Speck Bros 2020 Three of Hearts Rosé
Sue-Ann Staff 2019 Gamay Noir, Split Rail



Amo Wines 2020 Pinot GrisAmo Wines
Amo Wines 2020 Rosé
Chateau des Charmes 2016 Blanc de Blancs
Chateau des Charmes 2017 Pinot Noir “Old Vines”
Chateau des Charmes 2018 Gamay Noir Droit
Strewn 2017 Meritage, Canadian Oak - Distinctive Small Lot
Strewn 2019 White, Nurture


  Prince Edward County

Closson ChaseClosson Chase 2019 Chardonnay, The Brock
Closson Chase 2019 Chardonnay, The Loyalist
Closson Chase 2020 Pinot Gris, Ridge Vineyard
Del-Gatto 2020 Dragonfly
Huff Estates 2019 Chardonnay, Catharine's South Bay
Huff Estates 2019 Vidal, Vacay
Huff Estates 2020 Pinot Gris, Buried Vine
Keint-he 2016 Chardonnay, PortageKeint-he
Keint-he 2020 Arrow-Matic White
Keint-he 2020 Chardonnay, Vacay
Redtail Vineyards 2018 Pinot Noir - 20 Mile Bench
Rosehall Run 2019 Chardonnay, JCR Rosehall Vineyard


Other Regions & Virtual Wineries

Black Bear Farms 2013 Pear
CornerfieldCornerfield Wine 2018 Cabernet Merlot
Cornerfield Wine 2019 Power & Grace
Cornerfield Wine 2020 Chardonnay
Cornerfield Wine 2020 Farmer and Frenchman White
Garage Wine Company 2019 Chardonnay, Popcorn
Nyarai Cellars 2020 Field Blender's White
Nyarai Cellars 2020 Folklore Sparkling






Antinori Chianti Classico Estate (Tuscany, Italy)

05 Nov 2021

Tasting Room above the cellar(September 2021) ... One of the most impressive winery buildings and it consistently makes the list of the best / must visit wineries in Italy.

The Antinori family entered the wine business back in 1385 and since then at least one member of the family has been involved every generation (a total of 26 generations). This building was excavated (and started) in 2005 and finished in 2012 - it was the first Antinori property ever conceived to host guests (all other properties were never designed that way). In the building planning, making and conceiving, lots of browns, terracotta and steel were the main elements used so it would blend into its surrounding - to that end the building is actually covered with a “living roof” that grows grape vines right on top of the winery. Antinori has just recently started experimenting with those vines to make a special cuvee of the wine produced from these grapes.

The Wines ...

Laughing with wine2020 Bramito (Umbria)
From the Castello della Sala property purchased in 1940 ... This 100% Chardonnay is a 50/50 blend of stainless steel and barrel fermented; then it spends a further 5 months in barrel - well 50% of it does - the rest remains in steel to preserve the freshness. The good news is that that freshness translates on to the nose and the palate: pear, apple, melon with some spicy and even some butteriness. The palate does show a little richness, which does end up dominating the freshness factor here: The nose ranks a 6 out of 10 in that department, while the palate takes it down to a 5 out of 10.  (*** ½)

2018 Villa Antinori - Chianti Classico
Fruit comes primarily from the Tenuta di Sansano near Siena ... As per regulations it's primarily Sangiovese with 10% international varieties (mainly Cabernet Sauvignon). The international grapes age in barrique, while the Sangiovese spends one year in big casks. Smoky black fruit dominates this year with notes of balsamic, floral and spice - tannins prove to be mainly silky with a touch of grit.  (*** ½+)

Le Mortelle Wines2018 Botrosecco - Le Mortelle
The Southern Maremma is ideal for international varieties, which is exactly where this vineyard is located and what this wine is made from. It's a big dose of Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc playing backup. The wine is age 12 months in barrique barrels, no new oak, and the first vintage of this wine appeared in 2007. Silky red fruit with plum and cherry dominating there’s also hints of smoke and spice on the finish. Good structure and nice tannins round this wine off.  (****)

2018 Poggio all Nane - Le Mortelle
The "Le Mortelle" property was purchased in 1999, consisting of 170 acres and is home to three whites (Viognier / Vermentino / Ansomica) and three reds (Cabernet Sauvignon / Cabernet Franc / Carmenere) - you read that last one correctly, the grape that Chile is attempting to make famous also resides in an Antinori vineyard in Maremma, Italy. This Cabernet Franc dominated blend has Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere in the mix, which was added for the first time in the 2016 vintage, after 5-to-6 years of research to see if the variety was viable in this location - obviously it was, and is. The first vintage of Poggio Alle Nane was in 2009 - but was certainly made better with the addition of Carmenere in 2016. It is age 16 months in barrique, of which ⅓ is new. This was my favorite wine of the tasting with a complexity that blew me away: mocha and black fruit on the nose with a palate that delivers dark fruit, pepper, tobacco and the promise of so much more to come. It's a wild wine from its make up to its aromas right down to the flavours. I walked out thinking "Carmenere in Italy, who 'da thunk it?" - well Antinori obviously.  (**** ½)

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