Last night, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and Wine Country Ontario hosted the Ontario VQA Wine + Fall Harvest Tasting at the Burroughes Building on Queen Street West.
Twenty-two Ontario wine producers sampled a total of 24 wines to go along with eight food stations representing local chefs, cheeses and foods. The wine and some of the food was available for purchase at the site.
Each winery presented a single wine, mostly in the $15-20 range. The one winery that sampled a higher-end product was Norman Hardie from Prince Edward County. Their table poured their Unfiltered Niagara Pinot Noir ($39) which was noticeably denser and richer than the others. Still, the other Pinot Noirs from Henry of Pelham, Coyote's Run, Rosehall Run and G Marquis (Magnotta) were tasty and fresh, as well as being excellent values.
The producers that poured two samples were Andrew Peller who poured the Trius Brut sparkling wine and the Wayne Gretzky Baco Noir; and Pelee Island Winery which poured an exotically fragrant Traminer Muscat blend and a Baco Noir.
The other white wines poured on Thursday night included Pinot Gris from Angels Gate and Trumpour's Mill by Grange of Prince Edward County; Riesling from Cave Spring, Sprucewood Shores, Peninsula Ridge and Inniskillin (blended with Pinot Grigio); a Summer White blend by Sandbanks Winery. The Chardonnays were "Good Kharma" by Flat Rock Cellars and Sketches Of Niagara by Tawse Winery.
The rosés were a lively and fresh Malivoire Ladybug Rosé, and a fruity Colio Methode Cuve Close Lily Sparkling Wine.
The remaining red wines were Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir, Fielding Estate Fireside Red Cabernet; Southbrook's excellent Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon; and an innovative The Conspiracy Ripasso Style from Foreign Affair Winery which was a Meritage (ie. Bordeaux) blend made using the Ripasso technique of Valpolicella in northeastern Italy.
The event served as an excellent introduction to the wide range of wine styles made in Ontario. One would hope that the attendees discovered some new favourites and might also be inspired to explore further how outstanding Ontario wine can be.
For far too long, people unfairly dismissed Ontario wines based on decades-old misconceptions. It's good to see them finally getting the respect and recognition that they deserve.
Taste Local 2015 runs from September 13 and October 10 and features more than 100 restaurants across Ontario that are pairing local wines by the glass and Ontario craft beers with local fare.