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Favourite Ontario Wines?

I am stuck on Henry of Pelham, namely the Baco Noir (2002 or 2003). I'm also a big fan of the Pelee Island Gewurztraminer (2003 or 2004). Looking for suggestions of an anytime wine (white or red) that's reasonably priced...

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  1. I am a huge fan of Cave Springs' Off Dry Riesling. May be too sweet for some (I think it is a 2 or 3), but it is a great summer wine. I believe it costs around $14...

    1. Henry of Pelham makes lovely wines, eh?

      My favorite Ontario wine is Jackson-Triggs' Sauvignon Blanc. It's only ~$8, and IMHO is a great food wine. Dry, herbal and not too acidic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Olivia

        That is our "house" white wine, and is conveniently available in magnums also. It goes well with most foods. A wonderful example of great Ontario winemaking... I am hopeful Jackson Triggs can run a pipeling along the QEW and we can get billed using something like a water meter.

      2. Ha ha, when I read your subject heading my first thought was "Baco Noir" from Henry of Pelham...but you beat me to it. I love it so much I bought a two-four of half bottles from the winery.

        Other fave wines (sorry don't have the year) from Ontario (specifically Niagara) are Malivoire's Ladybug Rose, Maleta's Meritage and Strewn's Merolot or Cabernet Franc. Can you tell I'm a red wine fan?!

        1 Reply
        1. re: oishi

          I love the fact that the Baco Noir comes in half bottles. Then I can drink a bottle without a hangover or feeling guilty!

        2. I'm a big fan of their Baco Noir as well! :) I also quite enjoy Jackson-Triggs' 1998 Meritage blend, Joseph Estate's 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mission Hill's Merlots.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Juniper

            Sorry, it's early in the morning for me so I interpretted your "Ontario" wine request as "Canadian" wine request. Mission Hill is a BC winery.

          2. i'm really into the jackson triggs cuvee close sparkling and grand reserve gwurtztraminer right now, as well as ANYTHING from malivoire, especially the gwurtztraminer icewine and pinot noir. peller estates founders series late harvest {videl?} is really good too.

            1. I've been really impressed by the Mountain Road Wine Company BF Chardonnay. Its from a great vintage ('02), has good use of oak, fair minerality, and is a steal at about $15 a bottle.

              Other great finds are the Courtney's Block Gamay Noir from Malivoire, Red Paw Pinot Noir from Coyote's Run, Chenin Blanc from Cave Spring, and 13th Street Cabernet Rose.

              Hope this helps.

              1. My wife and I visited the Fielding Estate winery last fall during the wine festival and their pinot noir was fantastic. We picked up a couple of bottles which of course, didn't last too long.
                I'm just a big fan of wines from that region anyway.


                1. I just got back from doing the wine country, specifically looking for icewines. We really liked Thirty Bench (my wife loved the 2005 Small Lot Triangle Vineyard Reisling, I loved the 1998 Riesling Icewine), found Cave Spring to be a little overrated although I did buy some of the 2005 Cabernet Select Late Harvest, and I liked the 2004 Malivoire Gewürztraminer Icewine quite a bit. However, I thought that the best we found was the 2000 Stratus Riesling Icewine.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: dinwiddie

                    i'd like to pipe up for thirty bench as well, i really enjoy what they have to offer within all the ranges. some of their benchmark blends are truly fantastic and their ice wines have that petrol edge that some people really enjoy and some despise. i personally like it a bit ;)

                    it's a shame that the stratus late harvest is sold out because it was all figs and honey... loved it. but i personally think their 2000 white is better than the 2001 as it's got a greater body to it very much contributed by the gewurzt. i had to pick up their cab franc on the last visit but wouldn't advise on the red...

                    cave springs is definitely overrated to me... haven't really found anything there that i really enjoyed. strewn also did not do it for me, did i not try the right things? granted there were only about 5 items to taste.

                    i have enjoyed a number of henry of pelhams, especially a sparkling rose. actually, any suggestions of good roses or sparkling wines (i prefer yeasty bread on the palate... if it tastes like i'm biting into a piece of baguette i'm a happy girl) would be much appreciated!

                    1. Niagara College Teaching Winery hasn't been mentioned, and they should be. Their BFBA Chardonnay and unoaked Chardonnay are two of my favourites. Late Harvest Vidal is a poor (or, like me, cheap) man's icewine. Their Pinot Noirs have been great, too.

                      Peninsula Ridge has a nice new Rose that deserves a mention as a nice summer sipper.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Gourmando

                        They (NCTW) just appeared in the LCBO here in Ottawa. I picked up the Pinot Noir and am anxious to try it sometime. It's great that they are making it available.

                      2. I love the Hernder Estates Chardonnay (I think we have the 2002) which is very reasonable at about $19 a bottle. Then there is the Stoney Ridge Proprieters Reserve Merlot for $40, which is so great. Actually, I'd advise trying out different Stoney Ridge wines to see what makes a good fit.

                        We didn't enjoy anything at the Cave Springs (found it very harsh) and Jackson Triggs is always so-so unless you pay the premium.

                        I also love the Colio Estate wines.

                        1. Malivoire's "Ladybug" rosé is dry, crisp, refined, and always a surprise to those who expect a rosé to be sweet.

                          1. I'm another fan of the Niagara College Teaching Winery upscale offerings, and the Hernder fruit wines.

                            1. *I'm no Sommolier*, but of the Ontario wines I've tried, and actually appreciated, I have enjoyed a few from Stratus winery (Niagara), a white I believe was called Wild Ass, a sub-brand they have, I haven't seen them available at the LCBO, I had them at restaurants, their website stated that they are mostly only for sale at the vinyard and in limited quantities...


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Recyclor

                                Sadly, most Ontario wine producers don't (read won't) deal with the LCBO, because of their policies. Daniel Lanko, Tawse, Stratus, Thirty Bench, and many other of the smaller producers rely on ( with great success) the restaurant exposure and winery sales. Luckily Niagara is only a short drive from the big smoke, and if you order a case they will most likely deliver. A not to be missed visit, only on weekends, is Daniel Lanko. An interresting young guy who just happens to make great wine!

                                1. re: phisherking

                                  ..thanks for the tips phisher, I've wanted to make the weekend trip down there for a while...I'll check out your suggestions...

                                  1. re: phisherking

                                    If you can't get to Niagara, you can get single vineyard mixed six packs of Ontario wine delivered right to your door from Wineonline.ca and Winerytohome.com.

                                    Daniel Lenko has two great mixed six-packs of wine available on his site (plus everything else by the case of 12). Malivoire will deliver and, depending on the wine selection, will do mixed six packs for delivery too.

                                2. The Cave Spring Rose is excellent, I'm a fan of the whites from Thirty Bench and Malivoire (I'll second or third the recommendation for Malivoire's lady bug rose).

                                  Daniel Lenko's unoakded Chardonnays are one of the best bargains going (it's a shame his viognier has nearly tripled in price over the last 3+ years). I've also been really impressed with the Jackson Triggs Delaine Vineyard line.

                                  My wife loves the chardonnay's from Tawse - I find them a bit overblown, but it's worth a taste to experience something very different from an Ontario grower.

                                  I think the main thing is to buy VQA and avoid the "Cellared in Canada" wine that's really just 90+% foreign juice bulk shipped to Ontario.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: gogol

                                    We brought a bottle of Cave Spring Chardonney to a US Thanksgiving dinner in New York State a few years ago. Someone else brought some California Chardonnay.

                                    After tasting both, the guests finished off the Ontario wine in about 10 minutes. There was still some of the California wine left at the end of the meal.

                                  2. Count me in as another Malivoire fan; too bad they are not more widely distributed in the LCBO/Vintages.

                                    I've always thought Ontario wineries did whites much better than reds, but I've been buying the Henry of Pelham Cabernet Merlot Meritage as a 'house red' for everyday drinking and it's very good. Along with Henry of Pelham, I also like Cave Spring and Thirty Bench.

                                    Also should give a nod to the wineries of Prince Edward County, an up and coming region despite the harsher climate. I've liked a number of wines from Huff Estates such as the off-dry riesling that I bought recently.

                                    1. Naked Grape Pinot Grigio.

                                      1. I pretty much concur with the above. Cave Spring is remarkably consisitant across the board. I depart on Baco Noir, though. It's just not a grape I like, but perhaps it's time to revisit that opinion. Anyway, for red, CEV Cabernet Franc,not a bargain at ~$23, though. It's a very good iteration of the variety. It was the perfect match for a coq au vin (made with a real rooster!) a couple of years ago. Availability, as someone referred to above, is an issue.

                                        1. I'm particularly taken with Peninsula Ridge Fume Blanc.

                                          There are lots of Ontario Wines that I really like. But, the above is the only one I'm upset if I don't a bottle on hand.

                                          1. The wines from Marynissen, a small family winery not availible at the LCBO to my knowledge, are excellent. the Merlot is quite deep and heady, and the Cab Sauv is fruitier. Pretty affordable, from the winery, too.

                                            1. i know malivoire has been mentioned a few times, but i one of my faves from them was their pinot noir. deeelish...but certainly everything i've tried from malivoire has been stellar.