Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers! - Bethany

Friday, October 19, 2012

Outstanding in their Fields

Yet another fab night out courtesy of the fine folks at Savvy Company. Tonight's 'do at the NAC featured wineries from the Twenty Valley region of the Niagara Peninsula. Despite my late arrival (oh, you cursed parking in downtown Ottawa) and not being on "the list" (I was all, like, whAAaaat? Ok, not really) I managed to get in a good hour and a half of prime sampling.

Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery 2010 Baco Noir - If there was a "nouveau" style to Baco, this would be a prime example. According to Sue-Ann (who is simply marvy, by the way) the hot vintage of 2010 has a lot to do with this atypical version of the varietal. Light and fruity: big, juicy raspberries and blueberries up front with an undercurrent of tobacco. Mellow tannins that make it an easy-pleaser. Sue-Ann recommends trying it with milk chocolate, which sounds like a fine idea to me.

Aure 2010 Cabernet Franc - I had pretty much written off Niagara (well, except for Lailey) as being a hub for well-made cabernet franc; so many of them were doomed to green-pepper bitterness and very little fruit. Again, the hotter-than-usual 2010 vintage seems to have made the difference. This cab gives off heady, port-like aromas of cloves, cinnamon and orange peel. It brought to mind heartwarming memories of New Year's Day back home, when Mum would bring in red wine and fruitcake while we were still in bed, in the Scottish tradition of ensuring good luck throughout the coming year.

Angel's Gate 2011 Sauvignon Blanc - A richer and fuller version of the gooseberry-bush classic, achieved by using 100% botrytis-affected grapes and resting the juice for six months on French oak. Lots of spice and a lingering pineapple finish with just the right amount of zip.

Rennie Estate Winery 2010 Scarpa - A Ripasso-style Bordeaux blend of cabs sauvignon and franc blended with the skins of appassimento'd merlot. On the nose, a kind of charcoal/burnt sugar, smoked meat and aged cheese aroma profile (complex, to say the least.) This is a big, beefy wine with all sorts of attitude, peppery flavours and muscular tannins. Could easily handle five years aging or at least two hours of decanting if you want to drink it now.

Trying new things are what these tasting events are all about, but I have to admit to having a soft spot for my favourites, especially those that I only get to have once in a while. Calamus Winery had their stunning Pinot Gris on hand, which I introduced to the lovely Jodi Larivière of SimplyFreshOttawa (her response: "[smacks lips repeatedly] Ooooo, that's goooooooood.") Also got a memory-jogger of just how good the Baco Noir is at Henry of Pelham. Their multiple-award winning formula is as amazing as I remember it, easily the best Baco in Ontario. 'Nuff said.

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