Thursday, May 1, 2008

Report from ... Peninsula Ridge Tasting at The Fine Wine Reserve – April 29, 2008

Another winery showed up in Toronto on Tuesday (click here to read Rosehall Run review – same day); this time they came from the other direction, Niagara. Peninsula Ridge took over the tasting room at the Fine Wine Reserve on King Street for two “sold out” performances of current wines and upcoming wines – 13 wines in total … and once again I picked out a few that stood out to me.

For the price, the 2007 AJ Lepp Sauvignon Blanc ($18.95) is a fine patio sipper that has very little in the way of typical Sauv Blanc characteristics. This single vineyard wine promotes tropical and melon aromas and flavours over the usual grassy and citrusy – quite round in the mouth with very little bite.

There were two firsts sitting on the table this evening – a Riesling and a Gewurztraminer. As accomplished and well-traveled as Jean-Pierre Colas is (winemaker for Pen Ridge) he has never made a Riesling or a Gewurztraminer; but considering the popularity of these two grape varieties in Niagara, it’s best he starts learning to make these wines. And I would have to say that his first efforts have garnered excellent results.

The 2007 Riesling ($16.95 – 440 cases made) is typical Niagara Riesling with lots of peach and apple, there’s also good biting acidity that leads to a citrus finish. The 2007 Gewurztraminer ($22.95 – 170 cases made) he fared even better with; great spicy, floral nuances on the nose – nice perfume that lingers on the tongue, and finally the lengthy rose petal and white pepper finish. Both these wines are not just a first for Jean-Pierre, they’re also a first for Peninsula Ridge.

“He shoots, he scores” … again. Last year Jean-Pierre won the Ontario Wine Awards Gold medal for his 2005 Fume Blanc (oaked Sauvignon Blanc), he repeated the feat again this year by taking the gold for his ’06 version of the wine. This one’s just plain tasty – vanilla and butterscotch mix well with the light fruit and rusty apple; there’s also some citrus bite at the end … for those who like oaked Chardonnay, this might be right up your alley, with a slight jog to the left.

My final wine recommend from Peninsula Ridge takes us all the way back to the 2002 vintage, with the 2002 Arcanium ($39.95) a blend of Caberrnet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah … of the over $30 reds on display tonight (there were 4) this was the most approachable – smooth, rich and chocolately, red and black fruit and berries, very tasty and still very ageable – taking nothing away from the 2002 Reserve Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, but this Arcanium stood out amongst them all.

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