Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Prince Edward County & Wine of the Week: The Old Third 2011 À la Volée Sparkling Pinot Noir

I have decided that this coming summer, I am going to have to absolutely take a mini-vacation to  Prince Edward County, Ontario.  Wine and food culture has pretty much always been the driving force behind my travels and since I have had so many beautiful examples of PEC wines the past few weeks, it’s time I plan a visit to this somewhat hidden gem of a wine region that happens to be so close to my home.   

Prince Edward County is about a four-hour drive west of Montreal, or two hours east from Toronto.  A total of 31 wineries are in and around the appellation, all of which have their own personal stories of who they are, why they decided to plant grapevines in PEC, and dreams of future projects. Wine producers have fell in love with the area given the climate, soil, and their passion for wine. It has been my understanding that most allow grapes to express themselves with as little winemaking intervention as possible. 

Soils consists mostly of clay and sandy loam that overlays limestone  with shale fragments.  This allows good water drainage, while the rocky bits of the soil helps with heat conduction and retention in the cool spring.  Vines grow deep, allowing for yields to be low with a high concentration of fruit.   Prevailing southwesterly breezes moderate temperatures through the year, and the average temperature is at 22 degrees Celsius.  Annual production is roughly 26,186 (9L), with most common varieties being Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. 

It seems to me that not many people know of Prince Edward County - perhaps because of its more famous cousin Niagara Peninsula.  I predict this will change soon, especially once people get a taste of the wines that are coming out of this appellation.  There are a few neutral, overly oaked examples (like anywhere else), but for the most part, they are bright, concentrated, direct and leave quite a warm impression.  I urge you to pay attention to what is coming out of PEC, their wines are world class. 

So….. Where can you find these beauties of wines?  Well at the moment, the SAQ has only Grange of Prince Edward Cab Franc and Rosehall Run Chardonnay available to sell. Alternatively you can do some research and see what different agencies have on hand…  The LCBO has a great range of wines from PEC…but I think visiting the county yourself would be the best way to see and taste what they have to offer.  On my personal check list:

  • Closson Chase
  • Norman Hardie
  • The Old Third ( Not VQA stamped , but who cares? STOP BY.)
  • Hinterland
  • The Grange
  • Redtail Vineyard

On that note, if you have any insight or recommendations for ME….please send them my way!!!

Just last week, I had the pleasure of tasting this 2011 sparkling Pinot Noir from The Old Third.  I shot them an email bombarding them with questions, but have not had a reply from them before this post was published. A friend of mine bought this bottle for me and I am clueless as to how the wine was made, or even if The Old Third continues to produce a sparkling.  They are not on the VQA website but that should not discourage you from visiting or buying some of their gorgeous wines and ciders.  Check out their website at: .  

Medium gold in colour with bubbles that are a plenty and consistent.  

The nose gives a beautiful bouquet of fresh apple pie covered in cream, with lemon zest and bits of straw.  It’s complex and flirtatious.  On the palate, you get an immediate creaminess followed by loads and loads of applesauce intertwined with citrus.  The acidity is bright and fulfilling, with a lip smacking saltiness.  Bubbles add a nice texture with a fine length of a finish.  This wine sparkles - it’s what stars would taste like.  

It kicks the shit out of many Champagnes I have had!

Wine: 2011 Pinot Noir À la Volée Sparkling Wine
Producer : The Old Third
Grape: Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 12.5%
Price: U$59.  

Again: Yes - no doubt 

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