Introducing – The Niagara Winery Reds Spotlight
There’s nothing quite like a glass of a bright, juicy, fruit-forward red wine. Even better when it’s grown in Canada’s most prominent wine region – The Niagara Region. The diversity of the region allows for over 45 varieties of grapes to thrive including some of the most well-known red varietals such as Pinot Noir, Baco Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay Noir and Merlot. The variations of soil, sunlight and climate of this region lead to wines from Niagara wineries across the region, each with distinctive characteristics. Since the region is surrounded by bodies of water, the vineyards enjoy consistent off-shore breezes that help to extend the growing season into the fall and to slow down fruit development in the spring until the dangers of frost have passed.
Niagara wineries have worked with the natural environment to grow and produce some incredible cool climate red wines. When growing grapes in a cooler climate, they typically don’t ripen as quickly which results in complex wines with higher acidity, lower sugar content and rich fruit flavours. Most wine regions in France also produce cool-climate wines which is where many popular varieties of red wine originated from.
Baco Noir was first grown in France. It is a hybrid grape that is known for its resilience and ability to withstand harsh temperatures. Baco Noir is enjoyed for its full body, ripe, dark fruit flavours and herbal notes. It’s a grape that’s well-suited for the climate from the Niagara region and it’s quickly becoming one of the most grown grapes in the region. At Henry of Pelham, when we sell internationally, it’s one of our wines that gets the most attention.
Our 2021 Classic Baco Noir is a deep dark red full of ripe flavours of currant and blueberry fruit. This wine is spicy, yet rich and smooth, capped with a toasty oak finish on the palette that competes the experience with every taste. This Baco is sustainably grown and harvested from a range of vineyards, some of which dating back to 1975. From there, this Baco is separated from the skins with no press wine added back, fermented in stainless-steel tanks, and then aged in American oak for 6+ months. This wine is paired to be enjoyed with barbecued meat, a variety of strong cheeses and cured meats, and for a more specific pairing – strawberries rolled in black pepper. This wine can be found in your local LCBO, or in other provinces such as Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. This wine can also be found internationally in the USA, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Japan and the United Kingdom.
You may have heard this grape referred to as the “heartbreak grape”. Pinot Noir is one of the most difficult grapes to grow as its thin skin leaves it vulnerable to breakage. Although it’s not always an easy process, when it’s done right, it’s certainly worth it. It’s no wonder why Pinot Noir is so popular amongst wine connoisseurs. This grape grows best in cooler climates making the Niagara Region the perfect area for it to flourish. Pinot Noir grapes often produce red wines that are lighter bodied, have a bright acidity and showcase a variety of fresh fruit flavours.
Our 2021 Classic Pinot Noir is a statement of the unique qualities of our vineyards. This delicate wine highlights the bright red berry, cola, and violet aromatics typically found in a Niagara Pinot Noir. This Pinot is also sustainably grown and harvested from four specific, yet different, clones of Pinot Noir (115, 667, 777 & 375 – for those that are interested!). Similar to our Baco, this Pinot is separated from the skins with no press wine added back, fermented in stainless-steel tanks but also in conjunction with oak, and then aged in European oak for 6+ months. This wine is paired to be enjoyed with pork liver pâtés, tuna, grilled salmon, roasted chicken, duck, and other game birds. A more specific pairing could be a spinach salad topped with goats milk cheese and beets. This wine can be found in your local LCBO, or in other provinces such as British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland. This wine can also be found internationally in China, Denmark and Japan.
A wonderful blend of some of the popular red wine varietals. This blend is often done with Cabernet Sauvignon and/ or Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes. These grapes form the perfect blend to make this fruit forward, rich and powerful wine. Cabernet Sauvignon is often described as a fuller, more robust wine with high levels of tannins and acidity. Cabernet Franc is medium bodied and often yields notes of pepper and tarte fruits. Merlot is softer with more bright fruit notes. They each balance the other out to create this palate-pleasing wine. Each of these grape varieties thrive in the climate and soil that Niagara wineries have around them.
Our 2021 Classic Cabernet-Merlot is described as plummy, yet bright with red-berry fruit and smokey notes. This Cabernet-Merlot is a gentle blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, all of which (like the above) are grown and harvested sustainably, with all juice being separated from the skins with no press wine added back. The process of creating this Cabernet-Merlot utilises a relatively quick fermentation to extract the juicy fruit flavours and aromas but not more tannins than necessary – the cap is managed through a combination of gentle pulse-air and careful pump-overs, always minimising tannic extraction. This wine should be paired with warm-flavours of Mediterranean cooking, pastas, and grilled fare. This wine can be found in your local LCBO, or in other provinces such as Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Saskatchewan. This wine can also be found internationally in China, and Czech Republic.