New in Ontario Wineries

**** drink or cellar  Oh Canada!
Kacaba Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
VQA Niagara Escarpment $24.95 13.5% alcohol
Alluring aromas of roasted herbs, pipe tobacco and dark berry fruit abound. It rolls over the palate with a structured wash of spice-infused bramble berry, dark coffee and cassis. Medium-plus bodied with good texture and deft balance, concentrated flavours replay on the finish with a supple tannin underpinning and great tang. The aftertaste is fruity and lip-smacking good. Aerate/decant for two hours before serving. Order by the case for daily home, office or restaurant delivery from Kacaba.  (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar  Oh Canada!
Rockway Vineyards ‘Small Lot Wild Ferment’ Chardonnay 2013
VQA Twenty Mile Bench $22.95 13.0% alcohol
David Stasiuk’s gentle hand with oak aging and fermentation with a natural inoculant has produced an elegant, beautifully balanced wine that offers subtle, well-integrated notes of vanilla, butter and toasted nut mingling with ripe orchard fruit and hints of citrus. Dry, medium bodied, this tantalizing wine shows complexity and verve, with sound fruit flavours, good clean structure and a pleasant touch of buttered brioche on the finish. It was great with a creamy smoked chicken and mushroom risotto. You really need to rethink ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) when you taste this wine. Recently released and available directly from Rockway Vineyards. (Susan Desjardins)

Lailey Vineyard consistently produces wine that over-delivers in value, taste and overall enjoyment. Winemaker, Derek Barnett, dropped by for an annual visit with 12 wines for tasting. Six are reviewed below with the balance next newsletter. Order a mixed case, or cases, for home, restaurant or office delivery online from Lailey Vineyard.

White Wine

****1/2 drink now  Oh Canada!
Lailey Vineyard Chardonnay 2012
VQA Niagara River $25.20 13.5% alcohol
Tasted/reviewed 6 months ago, this has developed significantly. It had 16 months in French oak, 30% new and 4 months on its lees—spent yeast—with frequent stirring before bottling, all helping to develop alluring buttery, nutty notes, baked pear and butterscotch aromas. It flows over the palate with lemon tang, green apple and notions of white peach, yellow plum. It’s balanced, mid-plus weight with generous texture and a lingering finish that’s crisp, refreshing and garnished with flecks of toasty oak. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink now  Oh Canada!
Lailey Vineyard Gewürztraminer 2013
VQA Niagara River $25.20 10.5% alcohol
This is top-notch, artisan Gewürztraminer with limited production of just 100 cases. There’s a blush of peach-skin hue from free-run juice—no pressing—left on skins for 7 days, fermented with wild yeast. Exotic spice and rose petal aromas herald a tangy river of blood orange and peel marmalade that’s racy, crisp and refreshing. It’s medium weight with good mouth feel and a long finish replaying palate flavours and finishing with a classic Gewürztraminer, tell-tale bite—delicious. (Vic Harradine)

***** drink now Exceptional Value!  Oh Canada!
Lailey Vineyard ‘dry - Late Harvest’ Riesling 2013
VQA Niagara River $25.20 11.5% alcohol
Made infrequently, now responding to public demand, you’ll have to move quickly on this limited-production gem to snag one. An involved nose of red apple, white peach and Mirabelle plum provide segue to a delectable, crisp and tangy river of racy lemon drop candy, apple crumble, and baking spice. It’s medium bodied and creamy smooth on the palate, crisp, clean and refreshing on the long finish and aftertaste. Firm structure and oodles of charm mark this special treat. (Vic Harradine)

Red Wine

**** drink now  Oh Canada!
Lailey Vineyard Cabernet - Merlot 2013
VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.20 13.0% alcohol
This is an easy-drinking value-packed red blend—50% Merlot, 33% Cab Franc, 17% Cab Sauvignon that offers up aromas of spice-laden red and dark berry fruit. It bathes the palate, balanced and fruity with red cherry and black currant garnished with excellent acidity and hints of black licorice. It’s mid weight with good texture and a lengthy clean finish. It’s excellent by the glass or paired with a wide variety of grilled and roasted meats. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar  Oh Canada!
Lailey Vineyard ‘Impromptu’ 2012
VQA Niagara River $45.20 13.0% alcohol
This stylish red blend—84% Syrah, 11% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot—showcases aromas of white pepper, piquant spice and field berry fruit. It’s rich in flavour, balanced on a pin and fruit forward—a wash of sweet ripe mulberry, blueberry and sour cherry runs over the palate replaying on the lengthy, dry finish. It’s mid-full weight and satin smooth with rich fruit and a tannin underpinning on the aftertaste. The tannin’s ameliorated with a two-hour aeration/decant. Careful cellaring until 2016 will also pay handsome dividends. (Vic Harradine)

***** drink or cellar  Oh Canada!
Lailey Vineyard ‘unfiltered’ Merlot 2012
VQA Niagara River $35.20 13.5% alcohol
The price-quality balance in this stunning Merlot tips well in your favour, it’s complex, structured and absolutely delicious. The involved nose jumps from the glass with aromas of campfire smoke, toast, mixed spice and espresso roast. A luscious elegant flow of black plum and brambleberry pie rolls over the palate interlacing with sweet vanilla—it spent 18 months in French oak barrels with 20% new. It’s medium-full bodied with generous mouth feel and an aftertaste that’s stylish and delectable—another triumph for winemaker extraordinaire, Derek Barnett. (Vic Harradine)

Palatine Hills Estate Winery - receive free shipping anywhere in Ontario to your home, office or restaurant for all orders containing multiples of 12 bottles by phoning the winery @ +1 (905) 646-9617 or online direct from Palatine Hills. Here are the first five of 10 wines from Palatine Hills with the balance reviewed in the next issue of winecurrent.

White Wine

**** drink now  Oh Canada!
Palatine Hills ‘Neufeld Vineyard’ Chardonnay 2012
VQA Niagara Lakeshore $23.00 13.5 % alcohol
Delightful aromas of butterscotch and orchard fruit with wisps of toast introduce a nicely textured, deftly balanced wash of lemon tang interweaving with apple pie and poached pear on the palate. It’s medium weight and brimming with charm throughout. The mouth-watering, lingering finish layers on green apple and yellow plum with notions of toasty oak—good to go now with roast chicken or turkey. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now  Oh Canada!
Palatine Hills ‘Neufeld Vineyard’ Sauvignon Blanc 2013
VQA Niagara Lakeshore $18.00 13.0% alcohol 
This blossoms from the glass with floral notes, lemongrass and tropical fruit aromas. A delicious mouthful of sweet, ripe peach, plum and pear interweaves with Meyer lemon and Key lime pie bathing the palate infusing the long mouth-watering finish. It’s medium weight with very good mouth feel, good balance and a ton of charm. Pour by the glass or pair with roast chicken, veal, pork or pan-seared fish. (Vic Harradine)

Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar  Oh Canada!
Palatine Hills ‘Neufeld Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $25.00 14.0% alcohol 
Lovely aromas of cassis and black berries mingling with notes of spice and vanilla tease and tantalize. Dry, full bodied, this is a complex, structured wine awash with plush ripe fruit that is framed by ripe well-defined tannins and fresh acidity. Hints of mineral, dark chocolate, olive tapenade and spice linger on the extended, dry finish. A wine for cellaring, this can be enjoyed now with beef tenderloin with grilled vegetables. (Susan Desjardins)

***1/2 drink or cellar  Oh Canada!
Palatine Hills Cabernet-Merlot 2012
VQA Niagara Lakeshore $16.00 13.5%alcohol 
Cassis, blackberry and plum to the fore, this wine also offers subtle notes of earth and dried herbs. Dry, medium bodied, framed by perceptible tannins and fresh acidity, the fruit is dense, round and ripe, spice and notes of coffee bean garnishing the savoury, dry finish. Serve with burgers or mixed grilled meats. (Susan Desjardins)

****1/2 cellar  Oh Canada!
Palatine Hills ‘Neufeld Vineyards’ Merlot 2012 
VQA Niagara Lakeshore $25.00 14.0% alcohol
Inky, dense and dark, this Merlot showcases alluring notes of plum, black cherry, hints of vanilla and licorice and notes of earth and cocoa. Dry, full bodied, it’s firmly structured with somewhat chalky tannins, fine acidity and plush ripe black fruit. Subtle notes of toast, herbs and dark chocolate add complexity and power through the finish. A young, brooding wine of substance and great impact. Hold for a year or two, or serve decanted with rare prime rib. (Susan Desjardins)