I write today sitting in the heart of Canada’s largest wine region; Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The amazing thing about spending time in any wine region is that it seems like wine is only made in the most beautiful places on earth, and to me that makes perfect sense. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a historic town in the far south east corner of Canada, just across the Niagara River from the U.S.A. And one of our countries warmest regions.
It benefits from some very unique and conveniently perfect geographical characteristics for growing kick-ass grapes for winemaking. Today I spent the better part of my day tasting through the barely finished fermenting 2017 wines from the ultra impressive Two Sisters Vineyards winery, with virtuoso winemaker Adam Pearce. 2017 was not necessarily what you would call a “good vintage” in Niagara, and by all accounts, I would have guessed that the red wines would be lean and light compared to last decade or so. Holy smokes was I wrong! Since the weather was cooler and much more wet than ideal this past summer in Niagara, Adam decided to pick much less fruit than usual, ending up with less wine than previous years, but the result is barely short of a miracle. When I arrived at the winery today I fully expected to hear the typical lines of “I’m really happy with how the wines are coming along, they are more elegant this year and much more approachable”… “elegant” being code word for not quite what we were hoping for and “approachable” being code word for not as exciting.
That is a bit harsh and not always true, but after a tough vintage it is unfortunately the case, but not today – not today at all! The reds of Two Sisters Vineyards for the 2017 vintage are already showing their trademark big, rich and powerful characters barely out of fermentation. What the dedication of a passionate winemaker can do when performing their art is sometimes hard to believe, but today it was on full display. It is not surprising that Two Sisters Vineyards Cabernet Franc was just awarded the best overall red wine at the Intervin International Wine Awards out of over 2000 wines from 17 countries, a feat that a Canadian wine has never achieved. So, after tasting yet another year of wildly impressive creations from one of Canada’s top wineries, it has once again cemented my confidence in the future of Canadian wines.
By: TJ Harstine/Certified Sommelier
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