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So I'm kicking back with a glass of my latest, a 2005 Flat Rock Cellars Gravity Pinot Noir (Niagara $35) thinking to myself how many inferior Pinot's I've quaffed (Niagara, Napa, and Burgandy)that cost significantly more. I log on to that internet thingy to see what the experts have to say about this vintage, and I quickly get lost in the wonderful world of online wine. It soon occurs to me that Niagara wine is thourougly detested by all but those living in Niagara. What gives???

I'll be the first to admit that Niagara wine has some rather dubious origins, and that many, I repeat, many, Niagara wineries (especially in N.O.T.L.)care more about style than substance. But if one does a little research (i.e., touring many of the smaller wineries in the bench sub-apps) one can discover pinots, cabs and gamays that truly rival the old world. I submit, as evidence, Kacaba 2002 Cab Sauv Proprieter's, Chateau des Charmes 2002 Cab Sauv (Paul Bosc), Mountain Road 2002 Gamay Reserve, 2002 13th Street Gamay Reserve, Le Clos Jordan 2004 Le Grand Clos Pinot, and the aforementioned Gravity (most still available at the winery).

Now I'm not Naive enough to say that these wines are far better than French, or for that matter, Napa, wines (indeed, you can find good, bad, plonk, and phemomenal wines from any major region), but for the most part, these wines can stand their own beside most any other wine without embarrassing themselves. For example, I recently selected one of the less stellar of this lot (CdC Cab $30 approx.) and invited several wine-loving guests over for a blind tasting against a Chateau Franc-Maillet 2003 Pomerol ($65). The Pomerol was the better wine, but not by any significant margin of victory. Which PROVES my point Wink Niagara does produce some damn fine wines.

Unfortunately, most of those fine examples will never find their way to the LCBO shelves or your corner wine store in New York (sorry Board-O). Which leads me to my next point...If you want quality wine you have to go out of your way to find it. Just as Niagara's best will never see the LCBO shelf, neither will the top quality wines of the old world, Napa or Australia.

You can't sit back in the comfort of your hometown and denounce Niagara outright. The stuff you purchased from your local liquor store is the mass produced, lower quality wine that the larger vintners dump on the mass market. You owe it to yourself as a wine lover to discover what Niagara is truly capable of.
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My comments are based from a half dozen visits to the Niagara wineries. I've visited Chateau des Charmes and Kacaba many times. Most of the stuff is undrinkable. The "better" wines are clearly not worth the money. The best dry white I ever had from the region was a Kacaba Chardonnay Reserve. I don't consider my posts "dissin' Niagara," just my honest opinion. I say the same thing about my home state of New York. I do feel the best dry whites from North America, excluding the three west coast states, come from the Finger Lakes. The dry wines produced on Long Island, where I live, are pretty much the same plonk you find in Niagara. Maybe I'm just anti- New York. Roll Eyes
Sorry Board-O, I didn't mean to single you out as a Niagara Disser, from what I see, you don't concentrate your contempt on any single region Smile. What I was trying to say is that everyone, everywhere, seems to show contempt for Niagara. I agree with you that most of Chateau des Charmes is undrinkable; I merely pointed out the one vintage that I found to be superior to their other offerings. I wouldn't be so hard on Kacaba, although I do not place them in the stratasphere of "memorable", they make some pretty good daily drinkers when a better wine may be temporairily unavailable.
quote:
Originally posted by sydthesquid:
Has it gotten this bad?

A $35 buck Niagara wine is supposed to be a bargain????

Shoot me now.


My appologies for not entirely grasping the connotation, being a newbie to this forum.

I was unaware that the primary criteria for purchasing a wine was to find a "bargain". Rest assured that you can still purchase the vast majority of Niagara wines for under $20, if this is, indeed, what you are looking for.

Be equally assured that you can find some rather unimpressive wines from Niagara at much higher prices ($50,000 for a Royal DiMaria Icewine). But if you want to experience a good wine from this part of the world, expect to pay $35 - $120.
quote:
Originally posted by Chilepepper:
Hmmm..Kutch RRV $38, Niagra Pinot $35....I know what I'm picking.


So it does come down to price. "I've found the perfect wine for $38...why would I ever try something I deem inferior for $39".

Sorry, I guess I'm on the wrong forum. When I find a good wine I purchase it. I have purchased many $65 bottles that were inferior to $50 bottles. Why??? Because they were good.

I am sensitive to the fact, however, that some might be on a tight budget.
____________________________________________________________________
Now I'm not Naive enough to say that these wines are far better than French, or for that matter, Napa, wines (indeed, you can find good, bad, plonk, and phemomenal wines from any major region), but for the most part, these wines can stand their own beside most any other wine without embarrassing themselves.

______________________________________________________________________

There are some who do believe that some Ontario wines are better than some French wines, and on the other hand many French wines are better than Ontario. Here is the results of the Jan 23, 2007 Sette Mezzo tasting sponsored by the Wine Establishment.


1. 88.17, 2002 Southbrook Triomphus Cab Merlot ONTARIO $50
2. 88.15, 2001 Ch. Pouget BORDEAUX 4th $52
3. 88.00, 2001 Ch. Margaux BORDEAUX 1st $339
4. 87.77, 2001 Reif First Growth Cabernet ONTARIO $50
5. 87.46 (TIE), 1995 Stoney Ridge Cabernet Franc Merlot ONTARIO library wine
5. 87.46 (TIE), 2001 Ch. Lafite Rothschild BORDEAUX 1st $349
7. 87.38, 1998 Konzelmann Cabernet Merlot Reserve ONTARIO library wine
8. 87.17, 1995 Ch. Langoa Barton BORDEAUX 3rd $89
9. 87.00, 2002 Pillitteri Trivalente ONTARIO $75
10. 86.77, 1999 Ch. Gruaud Larose BORDEAUX 2nd $97
11. 86.73, 1998 Ch. Lafon-Rochet BORDEAUX 4th $60
12. 86.62, 2002 Fielding Reserve Cabernet Merlot ONTARIO $35
13. 86.46, 1998 Lakeview Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon ONTARIO library wine
14. 86.23, 2002 Colio Carlo Negri Signature Cab Sauv ONTARIO $50
15. 86.08, 2001 Ch. Pichon Lalande BORDEAUX 2nd $149
16. 85.85 (TIE), 1998 Ch. Leoville Barton BORDEAUX 2nd $119
16. 85.85 (TIE), 1999 Ch. Durfort-Vivens BORDEAUX 2nd $56
16. 85.85 (TIE), 2001 Ch. D'Issan BORDEAUX 3rd $62
19 .85.85 (TIE), 2002 Hillebrand Trius Grand Red ONTARIO $52
20. 85.31, 2002 Kacaba Meritage ONTARIO $40
21. 85.00, 1999 Ch. Trotanoy POMEROL BORDEAUX $100
22. 84.92, 2001 Clos Beauregard Mouiex POMEROL BDX $42
23. 84.55, 1996 Ch. Pedesclaux BORDEAUX 5th $49
24. 84.46, 1996 Ch. Duhart Milon BORDEAUX 4th $89
25. 84.23, 2000 Ch. La Tour du Pin Figeac Mouiex ST. EMILION BDX $56
26. 84.08, 2000 Colio CEV Merlot ONTARIO library wine
27. 83.85, 1998 Marynissen Cabernet Sauvignon ONTARIO $18 library wine
28. 82.23, 2003 Huff South Bay Red ONTARIO library wine
29. 81.23, 2004 Huff South Bay Cabernet Merlot ONTARIO library wine
30. 77.42, 1999 Crown Bench Beamsville Bench ONTARIO $40
quote:
Originally posted by NiagaraNutt:

Oh..and observe if you will Syd and Chile...three $50 Ontario Cabs beating out a $349 Lafite. What is the world coming to?


Hey I don't have a horse in this race....no good wine gets made in Florida, but merely posting results by people I have no experience with doesn't prove anything. Also, I've yet to hear whether the patriotic Canadians at the tasting were able to see the labels and well...add a few points to the domestic wines.
quote:
Originally posted by Chilepepper:
quote:
Originally posted by NiagaraNutt:

Oh..and observe if you will Syd and Chile...three $50 Ontario Cabs beating out a $349 Lafite. What is the world coming to?


Hey I don't have a horse in this race....no good wine gets made in Florida, but merely posting results by people I have no experience with doesn't prove anything. Also, I've yet to hear whether the patriotic Canadians at the tasting were able to see the labels and well...add a few points to the domestic wines.


You're absolutely right. This is the first I'm seeing of winepro's list and I can't confirm the methodology or the results. I also have no idea if the judges were using a 100 point scale or not. I can assure Syd that we do have an occasional wine that scores greater than 88 Roll Eyes.
Tasting was double blind, the bottles were not in view, wine was poured into 30 numbered glasses, and the tasters were all professionals, many with credentials as long as your arm. This was not a hokey or set up event.

However as we all know no matter what the results of any competition or tasting is, there are many who would not believe it even if they were involved.
quote:
Originally posted by winepro23:
Tasting was double blind, the bottles were not in view, wine was poured into 30 numbered glasses, and the tasters were all professionals, many with credentials as long as your arm. This was not a hokey or set up event.

However as we all know no matter what the results of any competition or tasting is, there are many who would not believe it even if they were involved.


Thanks for the clarification winepro. BTW, were the judges using a scale to 100, or to 90?
Again, quite vague...when you say professionals...any names you can throw out? Again, give me evidence that would lead me to believe it was objective. A tasting of 50 Montreal Master Somm's isn't going to convince me. In fact if the judges were from either Canada or France, there would be a lack of objectivity since they should have a pretty good idea based upon tasting the terrior involved. (if they are professionals that is)
quote:
Originally posted by winepro23:
They were using a 100 point scale. here is an interesting link about the event. For you fans south of the border "The Globe and Mail" Newspaper is to Canada what the New York Times is to the USA.
Full of fictitious stories meant to garner readership???? Confused Confused Confused

That's what I think of the New York Times.....

<edit> BTW, the link says the tasting was performed by "local" experts. Nuff said......
"For the record, I did not take part in the judging, but 12 respected local experts did"

There you have it...12 Canadians. Understand, what was special about the 1976 Paris tasting was that the French judges picked the Californa wines. Your so called judges weren't independent and made the homer call, therefore not subjective and have no credibility outside of Canada.

Hey..I'm just looking at facts, since I haven't been able to taste the wines, but I do question the results, not to mention the 1st growths mentioned aren't near their peak. This fact made the 2006 repeat of the 1976 tasting even more special when California won again, since they were all mature wines.

Oh and if the "Globe and Mail" is like the NYT, then it must be the best fish wrapper up north of the border.
While I appreciate your ardent support of the wines in your region, you need to keep in mind that most people on this site who have sampled wines from Niagra have found them to be dreadful.

And as for this forum, you need to understand that we're pretty closed-minded wine bigots. I, for one, am not going to be spending my wine dollars on Niagra wines anytime soon, no matter what the New York Times of The News of the World says about them.
quote:
Originally posted by Golf&Pinot Nut:
While I appreciate your ardent support of the wines in your region, you need to keep in mind that most people on this site who have sampled wines from Niagra have found them to be dreadful.

And as for this forum, you need to understand that we're pretty closed-minded wine bigots. I, for one, am not going to be spending my wine dollars on Niagra wines anytime soon, no matter what the New York Times of The News of the World says about them.


I, for one, am not about to lose any sleep (I say at 2 am) over the fact that closed-minded wine bigots refuse to expand their horizons.

All the more for me!!!!
Hey...I finally get it. To appear knowledgeable on this forum all I have to do is declare that such-n-such a wine from so-and-so a region is utterly undrinkable.

Finger Lakes...been there many times...absolute plonk (though why I keep returning???).
Oregon...I don’t care how good you Oregoonians think your wine is...I’ll never touch the stuff.
France...not worth the money...spent $350 when I could have had a RRV for $325.

Thanks for the insight boys...I think I’m going to enjoy this site.
quote:
Originally posted by Gigond Ass:
Wow. Still bitter after all these years.......

Not to mention that this is bullscat.... Razz


C"mon, GA. Even you are intelligent enough to realize that there were HUGE problems with the Florida election...but that is the subject of another debate, hopefully over a glass of wine.

But I agree that blind nationalism has no place in judging wine. I don't think Niagara wines are as bad as they are made out to be but nor are they as good as some critics say they are.
quote:
Originally posted by Board-O:
quote:
Originally posted by NiagaraNutt:
Finger Lakes...been there many times...absolute plonk (though why I keep returning???).

Better than Niagara


Oregon...I don’t care how good you Oregoonians think your wine is...I’ll never touch the stuff.

Wave bye-bye to your credibility


Come now Board-O, surely you can recognize sarcasm.

But speeking of credibility...methinks thou dost protest too much. You declared earlier "My comments are based from a half dozen visits to the Niagara wineries. I've visited Chateau des Charmes and Kacaba many times. Most of the stuff is undrinkable". Really? When I find a wineries offerings to be "undrinkable" I tend to not return many times.

Are you really a closet Niagara lover? YOU ARE! Aren't you?
Niagara Nutt,

Yeah, ON wines don't get the traction that the region's potential surely warrants, I'll agree with you there. I've not had a lot--many on Winepro23's list are new to me--but of those I have tried, a few seemed to be on the cusp of excellence.

I haven't toured the area, so I wonder how much ground is yet to be covered by improvements in vinification and vineyard management. I understand that so many of the ON wineries are very small, family run outfits that don't enjoy what you'd call a "modern cellar." Fancy equipment and things like strict vineyard selection and multi-pass harvesting take lots of cash, and these wines don't demand top dollar, of course.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on where gains are to be had in the region's wine quality.

As an aside, I once took a bottle of Marynissen Cab/Merlot ('00, iirc) to a blind tasting of BDX blends and had it fare pretty well. It wasn't the best, but folks weren't like "Gack! This has gotta be from Michigan!"!!! (Hopefully you'll take some solace in the fact you don't have to defend the wines from my home state!)

What are your thoughts on Lenko, by the way? I've got some wine loving relatives in Toronto that brought some to Christmas dinner last year, and I thought they were quite tasty, especially the syrah.
Hi Chad.

I would like to defend some of the wines from your State. I feel my 30 years in the wine industry has given me a little knowledge and the ability to stick my nose in a glass and determine if it to my liking. Recently I spent a couple of days on the "Old Mission" a little R&R before my northern swoop of the LCBO stores from SSM to North Bay. I was impressed with the Unoaked Chardonnay at Brys Estate, meet the South African winemaker. I fell that Bryan Ulbrich (Left Foot Charlie)has made some of the finest Rieslings and Gewurtz's to be found anywhere. Whole Bunch Rieslings at chateau Grand Traverse are vg also. As far as Niagara, there are a few small family run properties, however most are in the 10-25K annual production. Most have new equipment, state of the art facilities, European, S. African or Aussie/NZ winemakers. Some have come to Ontario for schooling at CCOVI or Brock, fell in love with the region and stayed. To be objective I feel one has to spend time in a wine region, not tour it. Hope you can visit Niagara sometime, I plan to return to Traverse City. What a tourist gem you have up there. I loved Petoskey and Harbor Springs.
quote:
Originally posted by NiagaraNutt:
thinking to myself how many inferior Pinot's I've quaffed (Niagara, Napa, and Burgandy)that cost significantly more.

You pretty much lost any credibility right there. Napa does not produce any good pinots to begin with....gotta go to Sonoma County and Carneros is on the border. Burgandy is a color and Burgundy is a region.
quote:
Originally posted by NiagaraNutt:
Finger Lakes...been there many times...absolute plonk (though why I keep returning???).


quote:
Originally posted by NiagraNutt:
Really? When I find a wineries offerings to be "undrinkable" I tend to not return many times.


Dude, if you're going to come aboard and stir up the inmates, at least take the time to be consistent, OK? Roll Eyes

PH
quote:
Originally posted by chaad:

I haven't toured the area, so I wonder how much ground is yet to be covered by improvements in vinification and vineyard management. I understand that so many of the ON wineries are very small, family run outfits that don't enjoy what you'd call a "modern cellar." Fancy equipment and things like strict vineyard selection and multi-pass harvesting take lots of cash, and these wines don't demand top dollar, of course.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on where gains are to be had in the region's wine quality.

What are your thoughts on Lenko, by the way? I've got some wine loving relatives in Toronto that brought some to Christmas dinner last year, and I thought they were quite tasty, especially the syrah.

Hey, this sounds like a set-up. O.K., I’ll bite.

I do not claim to be an authority on vinification or vineyard management so my comments in these matters should be taken with a grain of salt. Niagara has approximately 70 wineries of which 20 or so are owned by Constellation Brands and/or Andrew Peller Ltd and/or Diamond Estates. An additional 20 or so small brands are family owned and produce low quality wine. Another 20 or so are family owned, produce moderate to better than moderate wines at, on average, 5,000 cases per vintage. Then you have the remaining 10 or so which are small, family owned, and produce, in general, better than average wines in small lots of 50 to 200 cases. These small lot viniculteurs tend to spend significant hours in their vineyards, employ low-yield crop management techniques, and practice strict vineyard selection.
As for my thoughts on gains to be had; Niagara needs to stop trying to be everything to everybody. Focus efforts on 6 - 10 varietals that prosper in the Region. Niagara also needs its quality producers to start joining efforts and working together. It makes no sense for 6 wineries each to produce 100 cases of quality Pinot when the could combine their efforts to produce 1,200 cases of excellent Pinot.

I am not the one to ask about Lenko as they do not figure prominently in my retinue. Truth be told, I have never visited the winery, although I have shared an occasional bottle of Chardonay with friends (and I’m not a white drinker by habit). I’m not trying to slam Lenko, and they do have a good reputation around town. I just haven’t had occasion to add them to my shopping list.
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
quote:
Originally posted by NiagaraNutt:
Finger Lakes...been there many times...absolute plonk (though why I keep returning???).


quote:
Originally posted by NiagraNutt:
Really? When I find a wineries offerings to be "undrinkable" I tend to not return many times.


Dude, if you're going to come aboard and stir up the inmates, at least take the time to be consistent, OK? Roll Eyes

PH

Do the inmates truly not understand the concept of sarcasm? O.K., let me explain. When I said "Finger Lakes...been there many times...absolute plonk (though why I keep returning???)" I was not talking in the first person. I was making a mockery of one of the inmates.

My mistake for thinking the inmates were articulate.
quote:
Originally posted by NiagaraNutt:
Hey, this sounds like a set-up. O.K., I’ll bite.

I do not claim to be an authority on vinification or vineyard management so my comments in these matters should be taken with a grain of salt. Niagara has approximately 70 wineries of which 20 or so are owned by Constellation Brands and/or Andrew Peller Ltd and/or Diamond Estates. An additional 20 or so small brands are family owned and produce low quality wine. Another 20 or so are family owned, produce moderate to better than moderate wines at, on average, 5,000 cases per vintage. Then you have the remaining 10 or so which are small, family owned, and produce, in general, better than average wines in small lots of 50 to 200 cases. These small lot viniculteurs tend to spend significant hours in their vineyards, employ low-yield crop management techniques, and practice strict vineyard selection.
As for my thoughts on gains to be had; Niagara needs to stop trying to be everything to everybody. Focus efforts on 6 - 10 varietals that prosper in the Region. Niagara also needs its quality producers to start joining efforts and working together. It makes no sense for 6 wineries each to produce 100 cases of quality Pinot when the could combine their efforts to produce 1,200 cases of excellent Pinot.

I am not the one to ask about Lenko as they do not figure prominently in my retinue. Truth be told, I have never visited the winery, although I have shared an occasional bottle of Chardonay with friends (and I’m not a white drinker by habit). I’m not trying to slam Lenko, and they do have a good reputation around town. I just haven’t had occasion to add them to my shopping list.

No set-up, NN, just curious to gain a little more insight. Thanks for the reply.

Which varieties do you think excel in the area?

I'm a bit confused by your "why have six producers make 100 cases when they can combine to produce 1200" thing...are talking about forming a co-op, or did I read you wrong?
quote:
Originally posted by winepro23:
Attn: NiagaraNutt:

I think you and I better have a chat offline before you continue to listing facts and figures concernng the Ontatio Wine Industry.
The board is very artiqulate, and it would be wise to know your facts as you will be asked to back them up and will be challenged at a drop of the hat.


Sorry winepro23, just calling it as I see it. I'm not a hack for the Ontario Wine Industry and I'm not here to present a united front. Like I said, take my comments with a grain of salt.
quote:
Originally posted by chaad:

Which varieties do you think excel in the area?

I'm a bit confused by your "why have six producers make 100 cases when they can combine to produce 1200" thing...are talking about forming a co-op, or did I read you wrong?


Which varieties? I'll leave the whites to someone who cares. As for the Reds, Pinot, Gamay and Baco seem to do well.

NO CO-OPS!!! I'm talking about a single entity controlling a greater number of vineyards and utilizing the collective talent of a number of viticulturalists and vintners. Perhaps not entirely possible, but several small examples do exist.
OK, no response on my bid of $50 a bottle on 4 cases of your finest wine. Confused

I'll raise my offer to $75!!!

I just gotta get me some o'dat 88 point (oh, excuse me, 88.17 point) cab merlot ONTARIO!!!

I am also willing to trade 5 Cases of Pavie and 3 Cases of Beaucastel for the 4 cases of the cab merlot ONTARIO!!! Who can drink that Froggy swill once you've tasted the cab merlot ONTARIO?!!!

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