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A Year in Review: 50 standout Ontario wines

December 23, 2021

Well, that was another year, wasn’t it? The highs and lows of 2021 have surely kept us on our toes, with protocols that had us beginning the year in a stage of renewed hope and ending it with a shuddered halt. It was another year of no international travel (at least in my household), and so that meant more time to explore Ontario, making the best of what’s right here.

A six-day trip to Essex County to explore the Lake Erie North Shore region of Ontario’s wine country produced another special wine report (last year, I completed one on Prince Edward County). In addition to my seemingly regular outings to Niagara, trips to Norfolk County, Huron County and Prince Edward County rounded out what turned out to be a pretty good year for further discovery of Ontario’s wine regions and wineries – some of which are off the beaten path.

Ontario's Top 20 Wineries

Learn what VineRoutes chose as Ontario’s Top 20 Wineries for 2021. Click the image above to read the story and see the complete list!

With hundreds of wines having been tasted from all of these regions, I’ve decided to narrow things down and focus on 50 of the most stand-out wines I tasted throughout the year. Most of these wines were previously included in various feature stories or reports written, but some have been included specifically for this year-end review.

And, like last year, if you want to know which of these 50 wines made my final Top 10 List for the best Ontario wines of the year, sign up for the VineRoutes Newsletter and find out what my top picks are (including overall best red wine and white wine of the year). If you’re already a subscriber, no worry, you’ll get your emailed list in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

In no particular order, and hitting an assortment of red, white, sparkling, rosé and dessert wines, this is my ultimate shopping list for every type of Ontario wine lover:

Meldville 2016 Cabernet Franc

From what can only be described as a terrific vintage, this cabernet franc is a gleaming example of what happens when you combine winemaking pedigree with a quality growing season. Add to that the fact that grapes sourced for this wine are all from the Lincoln Lakeshore sub appellation, lending to that focused expression that this wine demonstrates. I love this for its richness. Red and black fruit aromas intertwine with notes of plum and olive. The palate is plush and soft, with ripe dark fruit, earth and a sprinkle of pepper. Excellent full-bodied structure and a beautiful balance of tannin and acidity. Can certainly age for the next few years but why bother? This is a great wine to enjoy now with a hearty meal. How on earth can this be priced at such a bargain? ($24)

North 42 Degrees 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

So this is what cool-climate cabernet looks and tastes like when it’s made very well – even when it’s from a cooler, less forgiving vintage. Beautifully dense in colour, this is an impressive – not to mention expressive cabernet that further highlights the fact that this grape should be this particular region’s main talking point when looking at the broader picture of Ontario’s wide spectrum of varietal success. This cab is to be considered among the few that I would rate to be the provincial benchmark. There’s plum on both the nose and palate, along with black cherry and currant. There’s hints of tobacco and cigar box. Tannins are ever-present and grippy, indicative of a five to ten year cellaring potential. In fact, I highly recommend you be patient with this one. The reward will come. High marks for its quality to price ratio (QPR). ($44.95)

Ontario Wines

Ontario Wines: A tasting with Derek Barnett (right) back in September.

Closson Chase 2020 ‘Ridge Vineyard’ Pinot Gris

Less than 160 cases were made of this inaugural vintage of pinot gris. Not to be confused with their equally stunning KJ Watson Vineyard Pinot Gris – which is sourced from Niagara each year – the Ridge Vineyard is all Prince Edward County and according to winemaker Keith Tyers, it “has the potential to deliver rich fruit, almost marmalade like, with honeyed tones and that chalky finish that defines Prince Edward County.” Floral aromas, along with stone fruit, citrus and wet stone immediately foreshadow this wine’s complexity. Crisp and very focused, the palate flavours are refreshing, highlighting that trademark County acidity and limestone, all the way through the finish. ($29)

CREW 2016 Meritage

The three grape varieties of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc create a beautiful blend here. Rich and complex, this traditional wine features deep and rich flavours of dark and red fruits. The nice tannic tug shows that this wine will have the structure to cellar for the next three to six years if you can wait that long. Nicely balanced. Exceptional value. ($21.95)

Mastronardi 2017 Oaked Chardonnay

This oaked chardonnay spent six months in European oak and displays aromas of butterscotch. The mouthfeel is delicate and light, feeling like an unoaked wine, but that’s where the full malolactic fermentation plays a big part – its round and soft texture. An orchard fruit palate with a touch of butter and vanilla on the finish makes this a chardonnay worth spending some time with. Great value. ($21.95)

Muscedere 2020 Rosé

Made from 95 percent vidal and just five percent cabernet franc – providing that beautiful salmon colour bleed – this rosé is off-dry, with strawberry/cherry aroma and flavour. It’s clean and crisp, and best of all, it’s very refreshing. The bottle will be gone before you know it. ($17)

Karlo Estates 2018 ‘Estate’ Malbec

As proof would have it, malbec does grow in the cooler County environment and this is a wine that, unsurprisingly, has attracted some serious attention. Firstly, it’s important to know that it would be wrong to compare this to the Argentinian malbecs one can find readily available at the LCBO for a fraction of the price. Malbec was originally a cool climate varietal which gained fame amongst oenophiles when grown in the Cohors region in the southwest of France. So it is only natural that these vines have proven to be a delicious cool climate expression of this old world grape varietal. With this being the only two acres of malbec grown in Prince Edward County, what we get is a unique wine, with equally unique flavours. The colour is a deep, purplish maroon and it smells of an assembly of dark fruits, tar and spice. The palate flavours are definitely brooding, with peppercorn spice, black cherry, tobacco and stony minerality. Tannins are grippy and the finish is smooth with further flavours of vanilla and red licorice. If you let this sit in your glass long enough, it will continue to develop. The price point is understandable – in fact, I think it’s quite fair. ($39)

Flat Rock Cellars

Ontario Wines: The view from Flat Rock Cellars in Jordan, Ontario.

Flat Rock Cellars 2019 ‘Gravity’ Pinot Noir

Gravity reflects not only the gravity-flow design used to treat the grapes as gently as possible, but also the seriousness with which this winery makes its wine. The 2019 Gravity Pinot Noir is incredibly expressive, driven by classic Bench red fruit characteristics like tart cherries, ripe raspberries and stony minerality. Subtle spice is imparted from the French oak barrel-aging. Drink today or cellar for up to a decade. ($40)

Two Sisters Vineyards 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

Boasting a dominant black and blue fruit character of blackberries, blueberries and black currants, leather and licorice, this cabernet extends beyond the typical cool-climate variety aromas and unveils further complexities brought on, not just by the vintage, but by winemaker Adam Pearce’s artisanal handywork. The palate is rich, balanced and concentrated. Tannins are present and dusty, and the finish is earthy with a hint of dark chocolate. ($68)

Colio Estate Wines 2019 Bricklayer’s Reward ’20 Barrels’ Chardonnay

A lovely coloured chardonnay that’s orchard fresh on the nose and soft, round and clean on the palate. Barrel fermented, the oak adds just the right amount of complexity here, adding in those subtle toasty flavours to go along with grilled pineapple, honey and orchard fruits. Just 500 cases are produced each year. Sourced from a single vineyard within Niagara-on-the-Lake. Excellent value. ($18.95)

Cooper’s Hawk 2020 Riesling Reserve

Immediately one can’t help but notice the tropical and floral aromatics that leap from the glass. The palate is fresh and accentuates those tropical aromatics with notes of mandarin and vanilla. It’s refreshing and smooth with firm acids. The finish is bone dry. Should age well throughout this decade. ($24.95)

Cooper's Hawk

Ontario Wines: A summer tasting at Cooper’s Hawk in Essex County, Ontario.

Meldville 2018 ‘Barrel Select’ Chardonnay

The colour and aromatics of this chardonnay are indicative of a richer, fuller bodied expression, which could leave many assuming that this is a wine more suited for lovers of oaky and buttery California chardonnay. Yes, it’s rich and creamy in texture, but this is a far-away place from Napa Valley. Those aromas of pineapple, pear and warm butter lead to soothing and rounded flavours of vanilla nougat, slightly caramelized orchard fruits, minerality and baking spice, all kept in fine check with good and fresh acidity. There’s oak, but it’s not dominating. The Derek Barnett way is to stick with trusted methods, which in this case involves transferring the settled pre-fermented juice to third and fourth filled French oak barrels for fermentation, using a selected yeast, then a malolactic ferment before leaving the wine to rest on its lees with minimal stirring for 17 months. It’s then racked to a stainless steel tank before bottling. It all plays out so very well here with the wine coming across quite elegantly as a result. The price is a steal. ($26)

North 42 Degrees 2019 Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

This is an immediate palate cleanser with its cutting and fresh acidity, persistent bubbles and lemony fresh effervescence. I can probably count on one hand how many Ontario producers actually choose sauvignon blanc to make sparkling with. It works and this one is continued proof of that. Worthy of its recent double gold award win at the Greater American Wine Championship. ($24.95)

Jackson-Triggs 2020 ‘Grand Reserve’ White Meritage

A blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon, this has wonderful aromas of melon, grapefruit, and pineapple that immediately draw you into this wine. Palate flavours are lively, with a zesty combination of tropical fruit flavours (mango, passionfruit, pineapple) meddling nicely with stone minerality and a finish that’s refreshing. Aged on lees for four months before blended for maximum aromatic and structural impact and balance. The final wine was bottled young to preserve its fresh aromatics and crisp flavour. ($25.95)

Thirty Bench 2017 ‘Wild Cask’ Riesling

This is a fairly new experiment for Thirty Bench and winemaker Emma Garner. Made using fruit sourced from the property’s Muckle Vineyard (named after one of the founding owners of the winery), this ‘Wild Cask’ riesling is fermented with wild yeasts in neutral wood puncheons and held in bottle for a year. It’s medium-bodied and off-dry with a very textured mouthfeel and intriguing aromas of wet stone, lemon, pear and green apple. Refreshing mineral notes and pineapple linger on the finish. It’s hard to decide which riesling to favour more, but then again, that’s the whole point of this impressive lineup. ($29.95)

Karlo Estates 2018 ‘Property Grown’ Carménère

This wine is from the only carménère vines planted in all of eastern Canada. One might think that this wouldn’t work out in the cooler region of Prince Edward County, but to no surprise, Karlo Estates has once again defied the odds. Understandably a challenge to manage – and so the price seems to reflect this – every bottle seems somewhat like a limited edition collector’s item. Enjoy a nose of pepper and spiced cherry, with hints of cedar and some smoke. The mouthfeel is smooth and silky, with pepper and spicy fruit flavours and a minerally-inspired finish. It’s ready to drink now as opposed to later. ($42)

Ontario Wines

Ontario Wines: The patio at Muscedere Vineyards.

Closson Chase 2018 ‘Churchside’ Pinot Noir

This 2018 edition of the Churchside pinot noir expresses the warmth of the vintage with a softer profile of dark fruit flavours, beetroot, mushroom and earthy notes. It’s not nearly as funky and barnyard-esque as previous vintages of this wine were noted for. There’s an excellent spicy and mineral core here, not to mention it’s very balanced and smooth, leaving the palate feeling fresh and clean. Cellar it for up to five years. I’d say it has to be one of the better single vineyard offerings in the province for the price. Just 380 cases produced. ($42)

CREW 2019 Sauvignon Blanc

From the prized KJ Watson Vineyard in Niagara, this is a delicious and nicely complex expression of the varietal. Aromas of grapefruit and a hint of grass are met with flavours of gooseberry, pineapple, zesty citrus and fresh hay. The finish is excellent. ($16.95)

Inniskillin 2020 ‘Discovery Series’ Gamay Noir

Fruit for this gamay is sourced from specific Niagara vineyards. After fermentation, the wine is transferred into a combination of new and older French barrels where it is aged for six months, then racked into a stainless steel tank. There’s good structure here, with accents of raspberry, cranberry and hints of spice. A delicious choice to pair with lighter foods. ($19.95)

Vivace ‘Cavatina’ Dessert Wine

Cavatina is a sweet wine, made in a style similar to Port wine. It’s the product of foch grapes, fortified with Canadian spirits, and sweetened with the juice of iced foch grapes. It is then barrel aged for six years. The result is a dense coloured, silky soft and rich tasting wine that consists of flavours that will leave your taste buds singing with joy. Notes of almond, caramel and drying luscious dark fruits coat the palate. You’ll never notice its 157 g/L of residual sugar and 19.5% ABV. Just pour this during your next special occasion and pair it with rich cheeses, then listen for the shouts of praise and approval. ($12)

Ontario Wines

Ontario Wines: A tasting at Vivace Estate Winery this past summer.

Le Clos Jordanne 2019 ‘Jordan Village’ Pinot Noir

Give this paler coloured pinot a chance to open up (whether in your glass or in a small decanter) and witness it blossom from seemingly plain varietal to grand cru status worthy of the vineyard land and winemaker it hails from. Rose petals, plums, hints of strawberry and raspberry envelope the senses. The mouthfeel becomes full and plush, with chalky acidity on the finish. Bachelder says “This Jordan Village is a defined terroir wine – and from a year that was ‘one for the record books.’ Put some of this away for a few years and watch it blossom from 2023-2028.” Once again, I’m simply giddy over the price point. ($24.95)

Mastronardi 2013 Riesling

This is a very dry expression, yet crisp and refreshing, with aromas of petrol and honeycomb that lead to flavours of pear, apricot, lemon and nectarine. There’s a touch of honey on the mid palate and the finish is slightly salty. It’s not easy to find an Ontario made riesling that’s under $10. This is a major steal of a deal. ($9.95)

Leaning Post 2017 Cabernet Franc

Leaning Post is located right on the cusp of the Niagara Escarpment, in Winona, but the fruit for this wine was sourced from further in, or Vineland, to be exact. It’s a hearty wine, full-bodied, bold and age worthy, with a nose full of plump ripe raspberry, blackberry and cherry, with the slightest bit of cocoa. The flavours are rich and round with big and voluptuous tannins that take full control over the wine’s structure. The combination of red fruits, leather and spice gives this wine a distinct signature feel to it, one that is very much emblematic of Niagara. ($45)

Oxley Estate 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon

Straight away, you’ll notice the aromas of cigar box, underbrush and dark berry fruit. Palate flavours of blackberry, cherry, cedar and pepper indicate that this wine punches well above its price point. There’s even a savouriness on the finish that’s quite nice. Serve with roast beef and root vegetables and pay close attention to how this wine speaks to you. ($21.95)

Kacaba Vineyards

Ontario Wines: Kacaba Vineyards.

Pelee Island 2017 ‘Vinedressers’ Pinot Noir

A deep red coloured pinot, this exhibits a smoky and spicy bouquet, with softened palate flavours of cherries and currants. The finish is smoky and earthy. Some tannic grip to it, but overall, I’m pleased with this wine’s structure. Glad to see that this is all South Islands fruit – making this a very uniquely produced Ontario pinot noir. ($19.95)

The Foreign Affair 2017 L’Eredita

The wonderful thing about cabernet franc is that it’s a grape that translates a winemaker’s style and interpretation well, including that of the appassimento method. This is a wine that shows off this style with incredible gusto. L’Eredita (which means legacy, in honour of the winery’s founders) is 100 percent cabernet franc from the first vines ever planted at the estate and only four barrels of this luxurious wine are made. Expect seductive aromas of dried fig, cherry, chocolate, coffee and leather. The full, smooth flavours on the palate are beautifully balanced with its levels of fruit, tannin, oak, acidity and alcohol all combining seamlessly. Bravo! ($110)

Redstone 2017 Cabernet Franc

The fruit for this cabernet franc is sourced exclusively from Redstone’s biodynamic-practised estate vineyard. Planted in 2010 this is the sixth growth and fifth harvest from this high-density, low-yielding six acre block. The nose is ripe with currants, plums and mixed cherries. The palate is expressive and complex, with subtle earth and gravel, savoury herbs and dark fruit. Tannins are firm and give balance to the warming alcohol. ($39.95)

Two Sisters 2016 Cabernet Franc

Another beautiful expression from the stellar 2016 vintage comes from Two Sisters Vineyards located in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The colour is a very deep ruby, almost opaque – an indication of the concentration and complexity of the wine. The intense nose is wonderfully expressive, with a unique combination of fruits, herbs, and spices. This combination gives the wine a savoury character. The exceptional structure really becomes evident on the palate, as the supple tannins and pronounced acidity balance the flavour profile. It’s a wine that really draws you in and has you relishing the experience of tasting it. ($55)

Mastronardi Winery

Ontario Wines: Tasting wines at Mastronardi.

CREW 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

A well-made cabernet for the price. The nose is spicy and hints at the depth of flavours to come. It’s a smooth wine, with finely tuned tannins, barrel spice and rich, dark fruit flavours that coat the mouth. A wine that’s indicative of the potential that cabernet has in this region. ($24.95)

Mastronardi 2020 Pinot Noir Rosé

This is the winery’s first vintage of their pinot noir composed rosé. I was able to taste this from barrel as it was not yet released to the public. Gorgeously pale in colour, the mouthfeel is nice and dry, with beautiful flavours of strawberry/rhubarb and pomegranate. Acidity is firm and does not come across as tart or sour tasting. Refreshing. ($21.95)

North 42 Degrees 2018 Cabernet Franc Reserve

This cabernet franc is so soft on the mouthfeel – when re-visiting my notes for this wine, I had written the word soft three times. The nose is of earth and spice and the palate is classic cab franc with its dark fruits, hint of pepper and savouriness, all coaxed along with its silky smooth tannins. Nicely done. ($44.95)

Big Head 2018 ‘Select’ Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a terrific expression of cool climate cabernet made here in Ontario. One of the very best I’ve come across. It’s true that cooler vintages can make more opulent, aromatically intense and complex wines than overly warm vintages. The 2018 vintage was (somewhat) cool, and wet towards the harvest season. There is an intense plum and black cherry that moves into a hint of roasted pepper and spice. The palate is dry, and the tannins are grippy, but the freshness throughout the entire mouthfeel is on point. The wine’s acidity balances out the weight with exacting precision. The finish is long, very long, as a matter of fact, and had me contemplating it for minutes on end, all with a big fat smile on my face. An excellent wine that has perhaps slipped under the radar but deserves all the praise I’m heaping on it. ($48)

Meldville 2019 Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc made in Ontario can be hit or miss. In many cases, these wines can come across as overly citrusy, tart, and with unbalanced acidity. I’ll admit, I’ve only enjoyed a small handful of Ontario-made sauvignon blanc to the point where I can truly say I’d want to buy again and again. This is one of them. It’s simply a delicious expression. The nose is shy at first but expands to reveal ripe melon, lemon and subtle hints of grass. The palate is textured, with an assembly of stone fruit flavours, minerality and measured acidity. The grapefruit finish is extra pleasing. Outstanding value. ($20)

Oxley Estate Winery

Ontario Wines: It was a pleasure meeting and tasting with Oxley Estate Winery owners Murray and Ann Wilson.

Cooper’s Hawk 2016 Cabernet Franc Reserve

This is a rich, full bodied red that’s velvety smooth and plush on the mouthfeel. Complex aromas of leather and sandalwood are mirrored on the palate that also bursts with notes of black plums, currants, raspberry and cloves. Tannins are present and firm, but smoothened. The finish is smoky. This is one that can cellar for several more years despite its aging vintage. Drink through 2025. Very reasonable price point, all things considered here. ($38.95)

The Farm 2018 ‘Neudorf Vineyard’ Pinot Noir

Perhaps pinophiles will love the contrasting differences between this single vineyard Neudorf expression and the ‘Mason Vineyard’ expression – which comes off more earthy and unpolished. If I had to choose between the two, I’m going with the Neudorf for its more balanced tone and sheer elegance. Grapes are hand picked, hand sorted and undergo a wild fermentation (both primary and secondary) with a cold soak and a long maceration on skins post fermentation. Fermented and aged in French oak barrels ranging from 2nd fill to completely neutral. The wine has a nose that shifts between subtle earth and mushroom, to wild strawberries and a soft floral undertone. Incredible fruit concentration of raspberry and cherry sing and dance on the palate. Texture is silky with fine tannins and a brilliant finish. ($55)

Mastronardi 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a well-made, very expressive cabernet sauvignon, with seemingly unorthodox flavours that include spice, pepper, earthy notes and plum, in addition to its chunks of blackberry fruit. All very much welcomed! Tannins are so smooth. Dare I suggest that this is one of the stand-out cabs from the Lake Erie North Shore. And what an attractive price-point! Could easily be double the price. ($24.95)

Kacaba Vineyards 2018 Reserve Syrah

Grapes for this seriously stunning, award-winning syrah were handpicked from Kacaba’s Terrace and Silver Bridge Vineyards and this ‘reserve’ is the best of the lot when it comes to their syrah program. All grapes were hand sorted, gently destemmed, and left as whole berries for open top fermentation. After fermentation the wine was pressed off the skins and moved to a mixture of new and second fill French and American oak barrels to complete malolactic fermentation. The result of this meticulous process is a very smooth wine with well integrated, polished tannins and a subtle, yet complex array of cherry, raspberry, minerality and pepper. ($55)

Muscedere 2018 Pinot Grigio

A fine-tuned grigio with lovely acidic balance and enticing aromas of apple and pear. The palate is fresh and clean with more apple, pear and tropical flavours that push on to the mineral finish. ($17)

North 42 Degrees 2019 Riesling Reserve Late Harvest Dry

Immediately, the nose of candied apple and sweet pear have you thinking this is bound to be a sweet wine. But with just 1.5 g/L of residual sugar, this is not your typical late harvest riesling… or is it? True to German form (Trocken style), this is very dry, with palate pleasing flavours of pear, peach and citrus on the finish. If dry is your style, this is one to try. Ageworthy, this is a standout from a crowded field of much sweeter, and dare I say, perhaps easier made expressions that are produced in the province. ($39.95)

Vivace 2012 ‘Old Barn Reserve’ Meritage

This is a blend of three noble grape varieties, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. The nose is wonderfully complex with its deep bodied aromas of dark berry fruit, milk chocolate and a detection of leafy vegetation. The palate echoes those deep aromas and carries a finely grained tannic presence on a mouthfeel that’s soft and not empowering. Flavours of currants, tobacco and chocolate are nicely interwoven. A beautiful wine, and for a steal of a price. ($23)

Thirty Bench Winery

Ontario Wines: A tasting at Thirty Bench is always a great experience.

Meldville 2020 Muscat Bubble

Made with 100 percent muscat ottonel grapes, this frizzante style bubbly is intensely aromatic with its notes of ripe grapefruit, peach and orange peel with jasmine. The palate is refreshing and clean with flavours of sweet nectarine and honeyed peach. A real treat to sip on and a perfect choice for sharing on the patio during summer, or will pair beautifully with fruit desserts and pastries. Just 9% alc./vol. ($23)

Closson Chase 2018 ‘South Clos’ Chardonnay

Graduate to the next level with this single vineyard chardonnay that’s full of terroir-expressive quality. Aromas of flint, smoke and spice open in the glass. The wine then opens further to reveal lemon rind, floral notes, and a hint of melon. The mouth is mineral driven and stoney, with that limestone acidity acting as a real backbone. There’s a silky texture, despite that bracing acidity, that leads to a complex and rather lengthy finish. Chardonnay has the ability to tell the story of where it comes from, and this particular example is testament to that belief. ($42)

Two Sisters Vineyards 2017 Merlot

This is a very deep and flavourful merlot, oozing quality and the essence of something special. The nose is intensely fruity, with a character of ripe plums, black cherries and prunes. Hints of cedar and chocolate are also evident. The palate is rich and concentrated, with black fruits, cocoa and a hint of clove. The tannins are nicely integrated, creating the lush mouthfeel great merlot is famous for. ($55)

North 42 Degrees 2018 Pinot Noir

From its two acres of planted pinot noir grapes, comes this very terroir expressive wine. Cherry, pepper and earth are featured on the nose. The palate is complex and delicate with its flavours of earthy cherry, black currant, forest floor and eucalyptus. Quite an elegant “entry level” pinot that should leave buyers feeling very lucky that this doesn’t cost so much more. Well made. ($21.95)

Westcott Vineyards 2020 Pinot Noir Rosé

Westcott’s pinot noir rosé is among a small handful of standouts in its class year after year. Made from 100 percent estate grown fruit, using traditional yeast and wild ferment, this is a much paler coloured rosé than the winery’s complimentary ‘Delphine’ (four-hour skin maceration). It’s fresh with subtle herbs, tart cherry and earth. There’s a mineral edge component that goes well with the crisp acids, and maybe best of all, it’s bone dry. Nicely done, once again. ($23.99)

Cooper’s Hawk 2019 Late Harvest Riesling

The grassy aromas that I picked up remind me of fall harvest time out in the fields. And just as one should expect from late harvest rieslings, the flavours here are juicy, candied and complex with mango and nectarine dominating. The finish is long with a dash of salty grapefruit. It’s an excellent dessert wine. ($24.95)

North 42 Degrees Estate Winery

Ontario Wines: An amazing patio tasting experience at North 42 Degrees Estate Winery in Harrow, Ontario.

Mastronardi 2016 Syrah

This syrah, from established vines, displays a bold and balanced character with a deep nose of warm black fruits and hints of wood spice. The palate has flavours of dark cherry, blackberry and plum with earthy, spicy undertones and a cedar and white pepper finish. Tannins are smoothened nicely. A wine that nicely characterises the warmer 2016 vintage. ($24.95)

North 42 Degrees 2018 Sweet Riesling

Despite this being a much sweeter expression than the Late Harvest Dry (hence the word sweet on the label), at 30 g/L of RS, you’d think it to be quite noticeably sweet. Yes, it’s sweeter, but the foundation of acidity that this wine is built on prevents it from tasting sticky and typical. Candied pear, peaches, minerality and a squeeze of lemon all intertwine to make this another stand-out performer among North 42’s impressive portfolio. A match made in Heaven for spicy foods and desserts. ($21.95)

Vivace 2017 Baco Noir

Baco Noir can generally feel like a take it or leave kind of varietal. Usually a sweeter wine (in the off-dry category), it can either taste sweet and dull or it can take on a very balanced profile that leaves one forgetting or not even noticing the higher levels of residual sugar. This one has 22 g/L of RS to be exact, but you’d be challenged to notice it. The acidities here strike the right balance which is so key here. It’s smooth and silky on the palate, with vanilla notes, mixed berries and plum flavours. It’s a layered, nicely complex wine. The best expression of baco I’ve tasted in the region. ($21)

CREW 2019 Gewurztraminer

Lychee, pear, apricot and guava with some ginger spice on the finish. A classic, off-dry expression. The acidity holds up nicely against the sugar content (35 g/L). A wine to pair with foods that pack a bit of heat, this should please fans of the varietal. ($18.95)

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