As the magnificent and bountiful 2016 harvest comes to an end and the 250,000 plus canes are tied down and safely buried for the winter, I wanted to take a few minutes to sit down and share with you news of the 2016 harvest, some delicious new releases including magnums of “Cuvée des Amis” Chardonnay and some magnificent international press. The reviews can be found right at the end of the letter.
Vintage 2016 started on September 10, one of the earliest ever. The dry summer brought us very desirable smaller clusters, high concentration of flavours and beautiful tannins. As always it is easy to heap praise on the vintage, ultimately the high quality of fruit can be attributed to the tireless hard work of my vineyard crew. Despite the early start there are a few Riesling ferments that are still fermenting slowly, keeping us on our toes until the very end.
We have recently added a few new wines to our lineup, just in time for the holidays:
- 2015 Niagara Pinot Noir 2015 proved to be an excellent growing season in the Niagara Peninsula, with exceptionally high quality fruit. As a result, our Pinot Noir from that vintage has generous red fruit notes on both the nose and palate, with more subtle complex aromas and flavours of earth, floral and dark berries. A huge hit with the top sommeliers in NYC at a recent trade tasting there ($45 per bottle; small bottling available in magnums for $99)
- 2014 County Gamay While this is a varietal we have only made once before, in 2014 I could not pass up on this magnificent fruit that came available at the end of vintage. Aged in old neutral barrel for almost 24 months, the wine is bright and fresh with fine grained tannins. Delicious with hearty rustic winter fare. ($29 per bottle)
- 2014 Cuvée des Amis We have a very small bottling (only four 500 litre puncheons) of “Cuvée des Amis” Chardonnay. It was aged in older oak for 20 months and then spent an additional 4 months in tank on its lees. This is only the third vintage of this very special Chardonnay and is only available in MAGNUM. Best enjoyed with friends/amis or offered as gifts to friends.
All of these wines are currently available for purchase at the winery and on our online store, as always we offer free delivery for order of $200 or more.
Many thanks from my great team and I for all your support.
New great international reviews
- Matt Kramer’s address at the Wine Spectator New York Wine Experience was titled “The 3 most exciting white wines of the 21st Century so far”. Our County Chardonnay 2013 was one of the three. Click here for more on this great win. Click here to see the excitement and recognition it garnered in the House of Commons.
- Wine & Spirits released its renowned “Best Wines of the Year” issue. Our County Chardonnay 2013 was the highest ranked Chardonnay with a score of 96, only four wines ranked higher with scores of 97 or 98.
- Ian D’Agata (columnist for Vinous and Decanter) published his impressions of a vertical tasting of our wines dating back to 2006. Our Chardonnays received great scores with him remarking “This vertical shows just how well Norman Hardie Chardonnays can age and their more than passing resemblance to the steelier interpretations of Chablis (Puligny-Montrachet also comes to mind especially with the PEC bottling). Depending on the vintage, it is my opinion that the quality of these Ontario Chardonnays is right up there with that of very good to outstanding Chablis Premier or Grand Crus.” Click here to read this wonderful article in its entirety.
- We were fortunate enough to have Matt Kramer and Italy’s iconic winemaker Angelo Gaja (click here for his profile ) spend a day at the winery during harvest. While Matt’s opinions on my wines have been well documented, the smile on Gaja’s face is a true reflection of how he felt about his experience at the winery and the quality of the wines. A true honour to have both of them here along with David McMillan of Joe Beef who cooked an incredible and memorable lunch… Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this could ever happen.