Winery review – The Grange of Prince Edward, Prince Edward County, Ontario

February 2, 2012

The Grange of Prince Edward (all photos by Lucy Adam)

While touring Prince Edward County in Ontario last summer, we also visited The Grange of Prince Edward, a winery in the West of the peninsula (Latitude: 43.947510, Longitude: 77.42377). It was the third and last winery we visited that day.

Established in 1999 on the Trumpour farm, the Grange is a family-owned wine business with about 60 acres under vines subdivided into 6 distinct vineyards. On the first vineyard of about 10 acres Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir vines were planted. Today, annual production is about 10,000 cases.

The soils in the West of Prince Edward County are consisting of limestone and clay gravel. The growing seasons are short and the vines need to be buried in the soil to survive the cold winter.

The place is quite impressive. The buildings seem to be new (maybe on old foundations), but the style is very rural, traditional, one could say. Some of the wood is old which gives the tasting room a homely and warm atmosphere.

But the term “tasting room” may be an understatement. The place where the guest can acquaint themselves with the wines is barn type hall with a large bar and round tables along the windows. There are several side-rooms for functions, wine storage etc.

I liked the fire place, the assembled furniture, the way the wines were presented.

A wide range of wines are produced…

…and many awards and medals are displayed

The happy tasters from afar in discussions with the friendly staff

Two very different Pinot Noir wines

The Grange makes Burgundy style wines. We tasted and drank two glasses of Pinot Noir, one from the 2008 and one from the 2007 vintage. Both were exquisite specimen of Pinot Noir with the right varietal expression (I admit here that I lost my tasting notes).

In the end we bought a bottle of the 2007 vintage for about 20 C$, which we took home with us. We would have bought more but were afraid we could not carry them on the plane.

I presented our booty in an earlier blog entry about wines from Ontario.

If only we would have had more time….

Address:
The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery
990 Closson Road, Hillier, ON K0K 2J0
Tel.: +01-866-792-7712 Facsimile: 613-399-2164
www.grangeofprinceedward.com


Winery review: Del-Gatto Estates, Prince Edward County, Ontario

November 30, 2011

Del-Gatto Estates Winery

In the morning of August 2nd, we visited Del-Gatto Estates Winery, located in Cape Vesey, in the eastern part of Prince Edward County, Ontario.

It should remain the only winery in the East of the island we had a chance to visit because of time constraints.

The tasting shed looked a bit lost but was easy to find.

Del Gatto Estate is a family business which was established by Pat and Heidi Del-Gatto in 2002. The land was purchased a year earlier. On about 6 acres various grape varieties were planted.

Vinifera grapes have a hard time under the harsh climatic conditions found in this part of Canada. Therefore, Pat planted mostly hybrid varieties. Among them are the whites Vidal Blanc, Geisenheim (GM322), Chardonnay, Traminette, Frontenac Gris and Seyval Blanc. The red varieties include St. Croix, Leon Millot, Baco Noir, and Frontenac.

The Del-Gatto vision is “to create quality, hand crafted and distinctive, affordable wines”.

The cellar door with the Italian flag

Inside the tasting shed

Tasting two rosé wines, one three hours the other three days on lees

We tried the Vidal and two rosé varieties as well as the Cabernet Franc. All of the wines were quite distinct from what we had tasted so far. The hybrid varieties make interesting wines, usually with high acidity, a modest fruitiness, a medium body and a not too long finish. It takes a while to get used to their distinct taste but after that….it’s lovely all the way.

Since we could not take many bottles on the plane back to Europe, we decided to buy only two: the Vidal and the Cabernet Franc. The former we consumed with out friends Dominik and Kymm in Stratford, the latter we took back to Bangkok.

New plantings

On the back of the tasting shed, some of the vineyards are located. We found the newly planted lot next to a well established in the photo one below.

The stony soils are not very deep but mineral rich. Rare Waipoos and Solmesville clays are found in this part of the island. Also terroir and climate are very different in the East of Prince Edward County.

We learned that hybrid varieties do not have to be buried in the ground during the ice cold winter, which is also called “hilling” (covering the vines with soil). This saves about 5000 $ per ha. However, vinifera varieties have to undergo this procedure. The de-hilling takes place at the end of April. It is very labour intensive work.

The annual production at Del-Gatto Estate is about 400-500 cases.

Hybrid grape varieties

Young grapes on the vines

A bottle of Vidal

Back label

The 2010 Vidal

The cellar door staff was very friendly and helpful. We loved this place, despite the little blandness of the surroundings. The exploration of the Eastern part of Prince Edward County was truely enjoyable. You should see for yourself.

Address:
Del Gatto Estates Winery
Bella Vigne
3609 County Road 8
Picton, Ontario
K0K 2T0
Te: +1-613-476-8198
email: info@del-gattoestates.ca
www.del-gattoestates.ca


Jewel of Ontario: Stratford, home of the Shakespeare Festival and Justin Bieber

August 13, 2011

Stratford, Ontario

We had the great pleasure to spend a couple of days in Stratford, Ontario. Apart from visiting our friends Dominik and Kymm, we also had the opportunity to explore this picturesque and very pleasant town.

Founded in 1832 at a railway junction, Stratford is a city of about 32.000 people at the Avon River in Perth County, about 2-3 hours West of Toronto. Many of its first settlers came from England so it is little wonder that it was named after Stratford-upon-Avon in England.

The town is famous for its Shakespeare Festival. The city has four theaters and from May to November the city is buzzing with tourist, theater aficionados, music lovers, festival goers, musicians, actors, singers, directors and all kind of “technical people” and support staff.

The Shakespeare festival 2011

Unfortunately, we could not manage to attend a performance. Instead we participated in an extremely interesting theater tour and were introduced to almost 60 years of festival history, the plays, the stage, and the facilities of the main house.

A landmark: the Perth County Courthouse in Stratford

But Stratford is also the place where Justin Bieber, the now famous young musician, was raised. One of the city’s ice cream parlors, named Scoopers, was one of his favourite places.

Needless to say that my two teenage daughters needed to check out this almost sacred space. Also the ice cream was very enjoyable. If you happen to visit Ontario, go and spend some time in Stratford. It is definitely worth it.

Scoopers ice cream parlor in Stratford

Enjoying ice cream in Justin Bieber’s home town

PS: Stratford has some very good eateries and restaurants where wines from Ontario are readily available. But more about the wines from Ontario at another time.


Cry from the wilderness – the wines of Canada

July 28, 2011

Bruce peninsula

This is just a teaser, a reminder that the Man from the Mosel River is still alive and kicking.

We are traveling through Canada. In fact we are visiting our friends Dominik and Kym Franken in Stratford on the Avon river in Perth County, Ontario. Stratford is the Shakespeare and music town of North America. It is most famous for its annual Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

Dominik and I, we go back many years, in fact decades. We shared a flat during our university years in Bonn. He also loves wine and good food, a passion we share.

But before I can write something about Canadian wines, I will have to visit a Canadian winery, which has not happened yet because we are exploring some of Ontario’s nature and wildlife parks right now.

But, as always, there is light at the “wilderness tunnel”. In a couple of days from now, we will visit Prince Edward County, one of the three wine regions of Ontario. The other two are the Niagara Peninsula, Canada’s largest wine growing region and Pelee Island at Lake Erie, Canada;s most southerly wine region.

I will write more about Canada and its wines later. Stay tuned.