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Somewhereness 2013: 13th Street Winery

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Now in its 15th vintage, St. Catharines-based 13th Street Winery makes still and sparkling wines from estate-grown and purchased grapes. Before landing on the Niagara Peninsula, current winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas worked in France and Chile.

Chardonnay 2012, June’s Vineyard, Creek Shores VQA, 13th Street Winery ($24.92, Les vins Alain Bélanger, 12 bottles/case)
100% estate-grown Chardonnay from vines planted in 1999. Manually harvested and sorted, then crushed, destemmed and pressed. Given a short maceration on the skins. Fermented and matured (on the lees for seven months) in stainless steel. Underwent complete malolactic fermentation. Scewcapped. 13.5% ABV.
Textbook Chardonnay nose of lemon, green apple, oats and chalk. Chock-a-block with minerals (this is not a fruit-driven wine), alive with acidity, intense if not particularly deep. A hint of white pepper seasons the finish. It comes as no surprise to learn that Colas used to be the head winemaker for a major Chablis producer. (Buy again? Sure, especially at the Ontario price of $21.95.)

Riesling 2012, June’s Vineyard, Creek Shores VQA, 13th Street Winery ($24.92, Les vins Alain Bélanger, 12 bottles/case)
100% Riesling, specifically the Alsatian clone 49 (all the other Somewhereness Riesling makers use the German Weiss clone). Haven’t found any wine-making info but would be willing to bet it sees only stainless steel. 13 g/l residual sugar. Screwcapped. 11.5% ABV.
A nose that doesn’t scream Riesling: the fruit is more tropical than lemon-limey, the minerals are faint, nary a whiff of petrol is to be found. Smooth and sleek on the palate. Just off-dry. As minerally (more quartz than limestone) as fruity. Decent finish with floral overtones. Fresh and appealing. (Buy again? Yes, especially at the Ontario price of $19.95.)

Gamay Noir 2012, Niagara Peninsula VQA, 13th Street Winery ($24.92, Les vins Alain Bélanger, 12 bottles/case)
100% Gamay from three vineyards: Sandstone, Schwenker and 13th Street. Manually harvested, then crushed and destemmed. The lots were fermented separately in stainless steel vats over 3 weeks, then pressed and transferred to stainless steel tanks for malolactic fermentation, after which the final blend was assembled. Screwcapped. 13.5% ABV.
Red, blue and black berries, slate, a whiff of alcohol and eventually red meat. Rich but not heavy thanks to a firm acid backbone, velvety tannins and general juiciness. Long, pure and tasty. (Buy again? Yes, especially at the Ontario price of $19.95.)

Gamay Noir 2011, Sandstone Reserve, Four Mile Creek VQA, 13th Street Winery ($30.03, Les vins Alain Bélanger, 12 bottles/case)
100% Gamay from “old” vines (planted in 1983). Manually harvested and sorted, crushed and destemmed, then given a cold-soak and fermented in stainless steel vats with regular punch-downs of the cap. Moved to French oak barrels (around 20% new and 20% second fill) for malolactic fermentation and maturation on the lees with a single racking. 13% ABV.
Deeper, darker nose: spice, herbs, red and black fruit. Fuller-bodied than most Gamays. While noticeable, the oak doesn’t overpower the spicy fruit. Compared with the 2011 Niagara Peninsula Gamay, the wine seems structured more by tannins than by acidity. Solid finish. Could almost pass for a Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Pinot Noir 2012, Essence, Niagara Peninsula VQA, 13th Street Winery ($44.86, Les vins Alain Bélanger, 6 bottles/case)
100% Pinot Noir from older vines in the 13th Street vineyard and younger vines at Fourth Avenue. Also includes some purchased fruit. Each batch was handled separately until final blending.Manually harvested and sorted, then destemmed, crushed and transferred to open-top stainless steel vats for fermentation (with punch-downs) at a relatively cool 25ºC, after which the wine was left to macerate on the skins for 20 days. The wine and lees were transferred to French oak barrels (all second fill except one, which was new) for malolactic fermentation and maturation. Total barrel time: 14 months. Blended, fined and lightly filtered before bottling. 13% ABV.
Elegant Burgundian nose of red berries, spice and undergrowth. Ripe and supple, with gossamer fruit, bright acidity and lacy tannins that turn astringent on finish. A bit short but impressively coherent. Very good. (Buy again? Unfortunately no, due mainly to the high price.)

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Written by carswell

November 4, 2013 at 14:33

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