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MWG July 13th tasting: report (1/5)

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The Mo’ Wine Group met on Friday the 13th to taste its way through an assortment of wines from Ontario’s up-and-comingest wine region, Prince Edward County, located on a peninsula jutting into Lake Ontario, about five hours by car from Montreal. Parallels having been drawn between the county’s cool climate and limestone soils and those of Champagne, we were especially interested in checking out the sparkling wines. Many thanks to members M and L for selecting and transporting the bottles.

Ancestral 2011, VQA Prince Edward County, Hinterland Wine Co. ($23)
A wine inspired by the sparkling Gamays (sometimes with a little Poulsard thown in) from Bugey Cerdon in France’s Savoie region. The name refers to the rarely used (outside of Savoie and Gaillac) méthode ancestrale of sparkling wine production, whereby the wine is bottled before fermentation is complete. Fermentation is then allowed to continue in the bottle and the carbon dioxide that is a byproduct creates the effervescence. (Like those of far too many Ontario wineries, Hinterland’s website is stingy with production details. One sentence found there – “Using the Ancestral method, the bubbles of this wine was [sic] achieved by capturing the carbon dioxide produced during the primary fermentation” – and the lack of a deposit in the bottle suggest that they may also be using some form of the transfer method.) In any case, this is 100% Gamay Noir and 8% ABV.
Pale strawberry pink with cotton candy glints. Foam disappears quickly; occasional small bubbles remain. Come-hither nose of yeast, strawberry and rose. Light on the palate with a fine effervescence. Fruity and off-dry, though the sweetness is tarted by bright acidity. Turns drier on the finish as minerals and a hint of earthiness emerge. Not quite up to Bugey Cerdon standards – this is simpler, more superficial, a bit more soda poppy – but not terribly far off and certainly enjoyable in its own right. Serve chilled as an outdoor sipper, an aperitif, with not very sweet stawberry- or rhubarb-based desserts or, possibly, as an accompaniment to Indian food (Bugey Cerdon works, so why not this?). (Buy again? Yes, a bottle or two for an all-Canadian dinner or picnic.)

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Written by carswell

July 17, 2012 at 10:25

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