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Somewhereness 2013: Flat Rock Cellars

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Founded in 1999 and located at the top of Twenty Mile Bench, Flat Rock Cellars owns 80 acres of vines. The three core grape varieties are Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The winery is built on several levels to allow gravity flow. Intervention in the wine-making is largely avoided and indigenous yeasts are used for some wines.

Sparkling Brut Reserve 2007, Twenty Mile Bench VQA, Flat Rock Cellars ($35.00, available only at the winery)
Two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay. Whole-cluster pressed, cold settled, fermented in stainless steel tanks. Racked into neutral barrels for six month’s maturation, then blended, filtered and bottled, with secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle. Aged on the lees for three years, then disgored and dosed. Crown-capped. 12% ABV.
Citrus, apple, brioche and chalk. Lightly fruity upfront, turning bone dry as it goes along. Laden with minerals and brilliant acidity. Long, toasty, leesy finish. Good complexity and balance. Lovely. (Buy again? Yes.)

Riesling 2011, Nadja’s Vineyard, Twenty Mile Bench VQA, Flat Rock Cellars ($25.00, Langevins, 12 bottles/case)
100% Riesling from a 2.5-acre vineyard atop a bed of limestone. Manually harvested, whole-cluster pressed, cold-settled and then racked off the lees for fermentation. Fermented at cold temperatures with selected yeasts. 13.5 g/l residual sugar. 11.5% ABV.
The nose – peach and white flowers – doesn’t quite prepare you for the lemonade-ish palate with its tension between tart and sweet against a backdrop of flint and white fruit. Long, juicy finish with lingering sour green apple and lime. Intensely refreshing. (Buy again? At the winery’s $20.15, definitely.)

Chardonnay 2009, Twenty Mile Bench VQA, Flat Rock Cellars ($20.20, 11889474)
A blend of two Chardonnay clones from four different sites and soil types. Manually harvested. Some of the grapes were destemmed, others were kept as whole bunches. After pressing and settling, the must was transferred by gravity feed into barrels (60%) and stainless steel tanks (40%) where it was underwent primary fermentation (with selected yeasts) and full malolactic fermentation with regular lees-stirring. After blending, the wine was bottled unfined. Screwcapped. 12.8% ABV.
Oak, lemon, chalk. A bit leesy and lactic with a sour edge. Smooth texture, the charged acidity notwithstanding. Lemon and sour apple with some honey creeping in the decent finish. Tasty. (Buy again? Sure, especially at the LCBO’s $16.95.)

Chardonnay 2011, The Rusty Shed, Twenty Mile Bench VQA, Flat Rock Cellars ($25.00, Langevins, 12 bottles/case)
A challenging vintage meant the fruit was left on the vine until early October. Manually picked, gently pressed, transferred to barrels for fermentation followed by ten months maturation in French oak barrels (a mix of new and old). Screwcapped. 13% ABV.
Oats, lemon, white fruit, lanolin and a hint of sweet oak. Weightier than the 2009, though by no means heavy. Dry and minerally with grippy acidity and faint overtones of stone fruit, butter and caramel. Clean – the oak is an accent – and long. Polished and appealing. (Buy again? Yes.)

Pinot Noir 2011, Twenty Mile Bench VQA, Flat Rock Cellars ($29.20, Langevins, 12 bottles/case)
The so-called estate bottling. 100% Pinot Noir from seven parcels. Manually picked, pressed, then soaked  on the skins with manual punch-downs several times a day to extract color and tannin. Barrel-fermented, mostly with indigenous yeats. Matured in a mix of old and new French oak barrels. Screwcapped. 12.5% ABV.
Pretty nose of cedar, spice and red berries. Ripe fruit, light oak and a slight earthiness. Good acidity and structure. Clean finish with a faint tannic rasp. (Buy again? At the Ontario price of $20, sure.)

Pinot Noir 2011, Gravity, Twenty Mile Bench VQA, Flat Rock Cellars ($34.50, Langevins, 12 bottles/case)
A blend of barrels selected for their deeper, less forward fruit. Aged longer than the estate Pinot Noir; otherwise, the wine-making is identical. Unfined. Screwcapped. 12.5% ABV.
Less primary and more integrated than the regular Pinot. Pure fruit, good acidity, fine tannins, dark minerals and a little more savour and heft. Light oak on the lingering finish. (Buy again? Yes, especially at the winery’s $30.15.)

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Written by carswell

November 11, 2013 at 23:08

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