Boxing day with wine from Canada: 2007 Marynissen Estates Syrah

December 28, 2012

Marynissen Syrah

2007 Marynissen Estates Syrah

We had Canadian friends over for boxing day lunch. They had come from Beijing (where they now live and work) and were on holidays in the kingdom. It was a wonderful opportunity for a reunion, and we made the most of it.

I had prepared various meets on my barbecue (on my Weber, also from Canada): large chunks of beef and pork skewers. It was easy to select the wine.

The bottle of ‘2007 Marynissen Estates Syrah’ from Marynissen Estates, Niagara-on-the-Lake, in Ontario was just the right stuff.

I had only this one bottle which was hand carried all the way from Ontario, then stored in my mothers house in Trier for a while, until I had space in my suitcase to carry it to Bangkok.

In short: this was a true rarity.

Marynissen Syrah 2

2007 Syrah by Marynissen Estates, Niagara-on-the-Lake

When we visited Canada two years ago, we had also visited some wineries in Prince Edward County as well as near the Niagara falls. Marynissen Estates was one of the latter.

You can look up my archives of the Man from Mosel River where you will find reviews of Del Gatto Estates Winery, Closson Chase Vineyards, Huff Estate and The Grange of Prince Edward County Estates. My glands go berserk when these names come over my tongue.

Marynissen Syrah 3

The back label

2007 was a ripper of a vintage in Ontario with little rain and many dry and sunny days.

I do not know if I could taste all what is written up here on the back label. The wine is definitely a Rhone style wine. The colour is a very dark and beautiful deep red.

It stinks when you catch the first whiff with your nose. Burned tire aromas come to mind. But when you got used to that, it is the most beautiful drop of red you can imagine. Smooth and full, intensive dark fruit. I wish more wines were made that way.

My experience is that you cannot get Canadian wines outside Canada. The only exception is ice wine which is offered in duty free shops in airports, mostly from Inniskillin Wines.

But if you happen to know where to get Canadian wines in Thailand, please let me know.

The wine regions of Canada are certainly worth a visit.

Marynissen Estates
1209 Concession 1
Ontario, Canada L0S 1J0
Tel: +1-905-468-7270
Fax: +1-905-468-5784

Winery review – Marynissen, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

August 27, 2011

Marynissen Estates, Niagara-on-the-Lake

We were pressed for time when visiting the Niagara peninsula area. Therefore, we decided to visit only one winery. Our choice was Marynissen Estates, situated in the Niagara-on-the Lake wine region of Ontario.

The cellar door of Marynissen

Marynissen Estates was founded by John Marynissen who came to Canada from Holland in 1952 and started growing grapes with his wife Nanny in 1953. Since 1990 the winery is up and running. John was one of the pioneers of the Canadian wine industry. He was renown for his wine-making skills. In 1978 he was awarded the title “Grape King”. John was the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Ontario.

His daughter Sandra encouraged him to invest in a winery. In 1996 and 1997 Marynissen Estates won awards for the best red wine. Today, Sandra continues the family tradition. The cellar door is located in an unassuming shed. When we entered the tasting room it was buzzing with customers.

The sale is on

There is wine

We were served by a nice young lady, Ellie was her name. She was very friendly and efficient and helped us find our wines. We started tasting a flight of white wines.

Margit, Dominik and Ellie opening a bottle

The whites included the Marynissen 2008 Summer Solstice, a 2008 Riesling and a 2008 BFBA Chardonnay. Dominik just loved the Riesling and decided to buy a case to take it home.

We were constrained because we had already six bottles in our luggage to bring home to Germany and felt a bit uneasy. Riesling could not be my choice anyway. We were heading to Trier, Mosel, to Riesling heaven so to speak. We decided not to take owls to Athens.

The Summer Solstice

This wine is an interesting blend of Gewuerztraminer (50%), Riesling (30%), and Chardonnay (20%, not a very common mixture of grapes for a white wine.

2008 Marynissen Riesling

Barrel fermented, barrel aged Chardonnay

We also tasted some of the red wines. I loved the Cabernet Merlot blend and the Syrah of which we bought a bottle to take home.

The Marynissen Cabernet Merlot blend

The Syrah we brought back home to Germany

Around the cellar door are some of the Marynissen vineyards. I immediately noticed the “strange” way the vines are pruned. I had learned earlier that in some parts of Ontario the vines are buried in the ground during the cold winters. This is of course very costly and very labour intensive. The year old canes are covered with soil and in spring dug out and clipped back to the trellis.

A Marynissen vineyard

The vines with grapes

The “head” of the trunk of the vine which in Australia is about one meter from the ground, is located right above the ground in Ontario so that it can be easily covered by top soil in winter (also called “hilling”).

Marynissen Estates is a great place to visit. I highly recommend it to anybody wanting to explore Canadian wineries and vineyards.

Marynissen Estates
1209 Concession 1
Ontario, Canada L0S 1J0
Tel: +1-905-468-7270
Fax: +1-905-468-5784

The wines of Canada – Booty from Ontario

September 19, 2011

The six bottles we brought home from Ontario to the Mosel

Unfortunately wine bottles are rather heavy. Among the four of us we were able to carry six bottles with us. Some of them I had to leave behind in Germany, two of them made it to Bangkok.

I have already written about Marynissen Estates, the lovely winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. About the other four producers I intend to post in due course.

The two bottles in the middle of the above picture are from Huff Estate in Prince Edward County. Also Del Gatto Winery is located on this island, as is Closson Chase Vineyards and The Grange of Prince Edward County Estates.

I had the great opportunity to visit all of them and taste some of their wines. Great stuff what the Canadian wine-makers produce, I must say.

Stay tuned for more stories on Canadian wineries.

Wines from Canada – the Niagara Wine Region

December 5, 2007

Today, I will take you to Ontario in Canada.

My old friend and former flat mate Dominik Franken with whom I studied agricultural economics at Bonn University and who now lives in Ontario (he is in the investment business but is also a musician) pointed me to the Niagara Wine Region on the Niagara peninsula in Ontario. (

When we hear ‘Canada’ what comes to mind is anything but wine. We think about wilderness, moose, endless prairies, cold winters, the Rocky Mountains, black bears, maple syrup, maybe squabbles’ between French and English speakers, St Laurence stream, and so on. But Canada has also its fair share of the worlds wine regions, one of them the Niagara Wine Region.

Its located only a short drive (about 20 to 40 minutes) from the Niagara Falls, to the West of the border between Ontario and New York State, USA (on a peninsula between Lake Ontario and lake Erie). Actually on both sides of the border you will find vineyards and wineries, in total about 60 plus wine businesses.

In 1982, about 25 years ago I went by train from New York City to Montreal and on my way back, I visited Niagara Falls. It was spectacular to see the falls. I would love to visit the region again, this time maybe with my family. That was the time when I worked for two month on a cash crop farm near Thedford and explored Ontario and Quebec.

Well, instead of me visiting again, my winelover friend Dominik (please visit his website for more information about his music at went their recently. His suggestions for a tour go as follows:

Start with visiting a large producer of an industrial type, for instance Jackson-Triggs Vintners and their Niagara Estate Winery. Both proprietors and co-founders, Don Triggs and Allan Jackson, are both icons, promoters and champions of the Canadian wine industry. They won many prestigious national and international awards. The grapes come from two estates, the Niagara Estate in Ontario and the Okanagan Estate in British Columbia. An international team of winemakers brings all kinds of influences to their wines.

2145 Niagara Stone Road

Then move on to Marynisson Estate, a family-owned winery. John Marynissen, the owner-winemaker is a Canadian who migrated from Holland in 1952 and grew grapes with his wife Nanny. Even before establishing his own winery John was well known as an excellent winemaker and received multiple awards. Dominik loved the Rieslings (the 1999 won a bronze medal) and the Sauvignon Blanc wines. On the webpage only wines from 2000 till 2002 are on offer, no Riesling among them.

RR#6 Concession 1

Dominik ended his tasting tour at the Reif Estate Winery. The Reif family are migrants from Neustadt, Germany and the Pfalz wine region. Ewald Greif established the first vineyards in 1977. The family has a more than 12 generation lasting tradition of growing grapes and making wines. In 1987 his nephew Klaus, a graduate in oenology and viticulture from the famous Geisenheim Institute in Germany, took over the reigns from his uncle. This year they Reif family commemorates the 25 anniversary of the winery. They went also online with their brand new Reif Shop. The wine club is called “Reif for Life”. Dominik loved their Riesling wines where he detected the German roots of the winemakers. The most amazing wines, however, were the ice wines, the Vidal Ice Wine (an award winning wine of the highest quality).

15608 Niagara Parkway
Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario

You might want to follow Dominks route and visit the above wineries. However, there is even more to see and taste.

A fellow blogger of mine, Canadian Sommelier Lorie O’Sullivan (, a native of the Niagara Wine Region, suggested to me the following list (in no particular order) of great wineries. I quote from her e-mail:

1. Stratus – very modern facility and wine making…they are making
some great blends both white and red. This winery is located in
Niagara on the Lake.

2. Flat Rock Cellars (great Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Riesling, this
winery is growing grapes that do well with their microclimate and
soil). Winery is located in Jordan, right on top of the escarpment.

3. Tawse Winery – (amazing Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc wines) –
Another modern winery located on the Beamsville Bench.

4. Henry of Pelham – They make the best hybrid wine, Baco Noir in
Niagara. They also make a great Gewurztraminer too. They also have
some older vines too.

5. Peninsula Ridge or Thirty Bench – both of these wineries are
close to each other on the Beamsville Bench. Thirty Bench is smaller
and has an excellent Pinot Noir and Riesling. Peninsula Ridge does a
great Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. or

I met Lorie in cyberspace only but she kindly parted with her knowledge of the region. She suggested another winery as well. Its name is le Clos Jordanne but it has not established a public winery and cellar door as yet, Lorie says. The wine is sold through LCBO and restaurants.

Well, if you should happen to be in Canada for Christmas, the above might be your visiting program. My thanks go to Lorie and Dominik for these interesting suggestions.