We may not know which varietal of wine Galileo was referencing when he said “Wine is sunlight, held together by water,” but the quote brings to mind a rich Chardonnay from the Niagara Peninsula appellation.
Home to approximately 55% of Ontario’s VQA wineries, the Niagara Peninsula produces grapes for white wine varieties including Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay among many others. It is a cool-climate appellation where grapes do not ripen as quickly, giving them time to develop more complex and rich flavours compared to warmer climates. Since the Niagara Peninsula is surrounded by Lake Ontario and protected by the Niagara escarpment, there is constant circulation of offshore breezes making seasonal temperatures remain consistent and moderate.
At Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery located in St. Catharine’s, we produce Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. Keep reading to discover how each white wine varietal is produced at Henry.
Rich, bright and mouth-wateringly fresh, Chardonnay is a great white wine to open while enjoying a meal with your family and friends. Our cool climate Chardonnay has flavours of vibrant apple to grapefruit delicately framed with a light veil of French oak. Our Chardonnay is the drink of choice for a social gathering, since it pairs perfectly with dishes including cream-based pasta, rich cheeses, sushi, roast turkey, and seafood. This round and generous white wine owes its complexity to the diverse lacustrine silty clay soils within our Short Hills Bench sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula. The juice is lightly fermented in French oak and finished in stainless steel tanks to preserve the freshness and the fruit’s delicacy.
Whether a hot summer’s day or a crisp winter’s evening, Riesling is a refreshingly great white wine. Our Riesling is expressive with flavours of green pear and aromas of citrus and rose petals. Both fruity and dry, it’s balanced by a slight residual sweetness on the palate. Our Riesling comes from vineyards planted between 1984 and 2006. The juice is press-fractioned and then gently destemmed and pressed again in the absence of oxygen in order to preserve the natural freshness of the wine. Finally, to maintain that crisp and delicate flavouring, Riesling is fermented at cool temperatures of 15 to 17℃. Due to the aromatic notes of pear, apple and honey this wine pairs nicely with spicy Thai dishes, roasted glazed ham, white pizza with goat’s milk cheese, and salads with citrus vinaigrette.
Pinot Grigio is a popular, easy-drinking and refreshing white wine. Dry and aromatic, Pinot Grigio is believed to have descended from Pinot Noir. Contrary to many white wine grapes, Pinot Grigio’s fruit has grey-blue colouring which is where the French name “Pinot Gris” or “white pinot” comes from. Our Pinot Grigio has flavours of cranberry and melon, and pairs well with light salads, seafood, chicken, and pasta carbonara. Fermented in cold temperatures in stainless steel to maintain the fruit’s freshness, Pinot Grigio is the perfect wine to bring to a picnic, winter campfire, or brunch with friends.
Believed to have inherited its name from the French word sauvage, Sauvignon Blanc is defined as “wild” due to its unruly grapevine leaves. Originating in Southwest France, Sauvignon Blanc is a dry, aromatic white wine. Our Sauvignon Blanc has intense melon and grapefruit flavours and white honeysuckle aromas. If compared, our Sauvignon Blanc would be found to be more similar in style to Maritime Climates such as Bordeaux and Napa than cold climate versions which tend towards grass and green pepper notes. Food pairings for this dry white wine include lean meats, mild flavoured fish, oysters, goat’s milk cheese, and fresh salads.