Maker: Cave Spring, Jordan, Ontario, Canada
Grape: Gamay Noir (at least 85%)
Place of origin: Niagara Escarpment VQA, Ontario, Canada
Price: $12.50 USD ($17 Canadian, LCBO)
Appearance: Dark burgundy.
Nose: Black pepper, earth, blackberry jam, peony.
Palate: Semi-dry and full-flavored. Reminiscent of Cru Chénas or Cru Juliénas. Earthy but fruity. Blackberry, mushroom.
Finish: Tart with a little spice. Fades pretty quickly.
Parting words: This is the last wine I have left from my last trip to the LCBO a few months ago. It was a part of my effort to give myself a crash course in Gamay. I expected it to be similar to the Gamay produced by Chateau Grand Traverse or Hawthorne on Old Mission Peninsula in Northern Michigan, but it was not like those at all. Cave Spring’s was fruity but “darker” and spicier than I expected. I found that quality off-putting at first, but I grew to enjoy it over the time it was open. That’s where the comparison to Chénas comes in. I remember the first time I tasted one, I was shocked at how unlike it was from any other Beaujolais I had tasted before. I was intrigued, though, and at that moment began planning the crash course.
At any rate, this is a Gamay that one can easily drink with any sort of cuisine and at $12.50 (plus border toll) it’s affordable enough to be in weeknight rotation. 2015 Cave Spring Gamay is recommended.
Maker: Cave Spring Cellars, Jordan, Ontario, Canada.
Place of origin: Cave Spring Vineyard, Cave Spring Estate, Beamsville Bench VQA, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada.
Style: Off dry
Purchased for $17 from Red Wagon Wine Shoppe, Rochester, Michigan. $18 Canadian from the LCBO.
Appearance: Medium gold.
Nose: Fresh thyme, sage, orange-flavored spring water.
Palate: Minerals, marjoram, peach skins, lime juice, car wheels on a gravel road.
Finish: Tart but slightly herbal.
Parting words: Not many Ontario wineries get distribution in Michigan. Luckily one of them is Cave Spring. Cave Spring is famous for Gamay and most of all for its world class Rieslings. The estate bottled Cave Spring Wineyard Riesling is consistantly one of their best and best values. The herbs and fruit and acid are all in perfect counterpoint like a JS Bach concerto. Cave Spring’s 2013 Cave Spring Vineyard Riesling is highly recommended.
Maker: Pelee Island, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Place of origin: Ontario VQA.
Purchased for $13 (Hollywood Market, Madison Heights)
Other information: Residual sugar: 36.1 g/ltr. Harvested at 23.1 Brix.
Appearance: Golden straw with thick, even legs and a few crystals.
Nose: Thyme, cut white peach, Bartlett pear, lychee, whiff of gasoline.
Palate: Full bodied. Lychee, oregano, Meyer lemon, mango, orange marmalade.
Finish: Peachy and sweet. Lasts a long time before fading into herbal flavors.
Parting words: I was pleasantly surprised by this wine. The last Pelee Island wine I had was the crummy Pinot Noir I reviewed a few months ago. This wine was on sale and from a good white vintage in Michigan, so I figured it was probably a good one in Ontario too so it was worth a try.
It’s an Ontario VQA (as opposed to Pelee Island) so one probably wouldn’t expect much in the way of terroir influence, but there is some broad terroir character. The time in the bottle has benefited it greatly as well. It is rich and sweet but still carries a lot of typically dry flavors and aromas. This is a very good wine for a reasonable price. Pelee Island Winery Late Harvest Riesling, 2011 is recommended.