Wine Hour with Aaron the Wine Guy

Hello Prince Albert! Several Canadian wines have been featured in this column over the past few years and many of the wines featured are from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at a fantastic vineyard in another of Canada’s most prestigious wine regions: Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula.

As with the many great options available in British Columbia, most Ontario wines found on Prince Albert shelves carry the VQA designation/certification. It’s a quick and easy way to let consumers know that the contents of the bottle meet (and exceed) many quality and control standards. In addition, they will be guaranteed made from 100% Canadian grapes.

This brings us to the highly acclaimed, VQA-certified Redstone Winery Restaurant and Visitor Center (aka Redstone Winery) which sits on the south shore of Lake Ontario. This beautiful winery has a bottle store and a VIP tasting section, a restaurant and a wonderful view of the vineyard to accompany your meal.

The main vineyard is located on a 38-acre estate near Beamsville, Ontario. Certain varietals such as Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc come from the Limestone vineyard while the main offerings like Syrah, Cabernet Merlot and Cabernet Franc (among others) come from the main vineyard.

The soil of the main vineyard is mainly composed of red clay with large stones. As Merlot does extremely well in clay soils, the quality level of the grapes is very high while late varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah benefit from the redistribution of heat from the large stones. These types of stones are similar to Bordeaux vineyards where heat is absorbed throughout the day, then when temperatures cool overnight, the heat is reabsorbed into the grapes.

Redstone has won several awards over the years, but the most notable are the 2017 Canadian Winery of the Year award from the National Wine Awards of Canada and the Design of Excellence in Architecture from the 2020 Niagara Biennale for the combination of contemporary style and artisanal use of the building. materials.

One of the biggest highlights of the winery is the restaurant with chef David Sider. With an overall online rating of 4.5 stars from over 1000 reviews, the restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy seasonal ingredients with a good glass of wine. Whether you like red or white wine, there are incredible culinary options to sample including East Coast Oysters, Fried Chicken Skins, Pingue Proscuitto, Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Hummus, Monkfish with butter and duck confit and pearl barley risotto. The menu is constantly changing and evolving, so checking with the restaurant before visiting will give you a clearer picture of the options on offer for the season.

The winery offers a wide variety of wines to taste and most of them can be found in Prince Albert in the Canada VQA section. A few options that I haven’t seen that intrigue me are the blended sparkling wine and Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine. This week I got my hands on two bottles from the cellar; Merlot Cabernet and Syrah (both from 2017). Give this Canadian winery a try, they make delicious wine! Here is my selection of wines of the week!

Red Stone Syrah 2017: (VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario). Color dry red, medium purple. The nose opens with rich flavors of earthy raspberry, chocolate soufflé, black pepper, smoked leather and blueberries. The palate first offers intense fruit with dried cranberries, raspberries, blue fruits and blackcurrant. Medium body with medium-plus acidity and medium-plus tannins. Bright fruit transitions into a long finish of licorice, cocoa, floral violet and lingering fruit. This red is bursting with flavor but also has a lighter style at the same time. Ideal to accompany a variety of foods and appetizers like dry back ribs on the bone, mature cheddar like England’s Cathedral brand or my favorite pairing: Hawkins Cheezies. Very well! $35, 13% vol.

Red Stone Merlot Cabernet 2017: (VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario). Dry red, deep ruby ​​color. The bouquet of this blended red is interesting and delicious with floral red fruits, baked cherries, bushberries, a brush of herbal sage and hints of white pepper. Notes of cheese or cream are also noticeable in the background. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied with medium acidity (just enough for balance) and high tannins. The tannic grip is quite pleasant and brings the necessary structure to the heavier body. Plums, raspberries, blackberries and an herbaceous accent of cedar and sage make this a balanced and extremely sip-worthy wine. The tannins may soften with a few more years in the cellar, but it’s drinking well now. Long finish. Pair it with juicy burgers, a rack of ribs (with rosemary and thyme) or a fine cigar like the Rocky Patel Edge Sumatra (known for its sweet herbaceous notes). Very well! $32, 13.5% vol.

Well done and thank you for reading!


Elisha A. Tilghman