Niagara wines vary in price and in Quality, but just like another region there are some award-winning and truly impeccable wines being made by a slew of talented wine makers, both local, and from all over Europe who have come here to make something special out of a very special region with unique characteristics. I tell you these wines are special, so here are the top 5 reasons you should buy more Niagara wine.
We have a very cold climate
Colder climates create wines with higher acidity, more aromatics, and more refined complexity. Those juicy fruit bombs from California can be great, but when matching wine to food, and looking for ageability in a wine. Cold climate is simply more subtle and elegant. To attest to this fact Ontario hosts the Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration, started after The Claystone Terrace Chardonnay 2005 from Le Clos Jordanne beat out Burgundian and Californian chardonnays in a blind tasting for the top chardonnay at the 2009 Cellier Wine Awards in Montreal.
Our latitude is the same as Burgundy, France
Ontario’s vineyards lie between 41 degrees and 44 degrees North. Which is the same latitude shared with Burgundy, which is famous for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. So you can bet that your bottle of Niagara Pinot Noir or Chardonnay is going to give Burgundy a run for its money, provided that the winemaker took care in it’s making. A pinot with flavours of red berries, vegetal aromas, and a crisp chardonnay with mineral, citrus, and cucumber are very common in good quality Niagara wines. My mouth is watering already.
We’ve got incredible terroir
Limestone and Glacial Soils left over from the ice ages has provided Niagara with a very unique and covetable terroir. The five great lakes were once a vast glacial field which then melted into a sea and later dried and separated into five massive fresh water lakes. Thus this ancient seabed which is full of minerals and fossilized sea animals is what our vines have the privilege of burrowing into, translating to the wines as crisp mineral flavours and aromas of wet stone. This adds a great note to our riesling and chardonnay.
Limestone is generally great for the vines because it drains quickly and forces the vines to dig deeper in order to get at the rain water, increasing their complexity over time.
Sparkling wines are not the most abundant offering from Niagara, and if you don’t live nearby you may never have come across one. However, if you find a traditional method sparkling from Niagara you are really in for a treat. The cold climate, harsher, but not that different from Champagne allows us to grow high-acid, dry wines. Grapes of this character translate wonderfully to sparkling. Some producers, such as Kew Vineyards have a range of sparkling from a traditional sparkling with biscuit notes, citrus, melon, and cherry, to rosé, blanc de blanc and an award-winning blanc de noir. As time goes on the sparkling industry in Niagara is sure to expand and impress.
Ice Wine is loved the world over. Each year thousands of cases are sent to China, The U.S.A. and Europe to be enjoyed on special occasions or as an incomparable digestif after a meal.
The majority of the country’s (and the world’s) ice wine comes from right here in Ontario. Our sweet nectar is highly-regulated and can only be harvested after the grapes have been naturally frozen on the vines and must be harvested and processed at a steady temperature of at least -8°C but optimally between -10°C and -12°C The grapes must be harvested quickly and pressed while still frozen to ensure a high sugar content and a delicate and sweet final product.