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GrapeSelections.com is a regularly updated webpage/blog focusing on WINE – any and all aspects of it. Its resources include wine RECOMMENDATIONS; list and documentation of NIAGARA WINERIES as well as EVENTS that are happening in Toronto and the nearby wine countries; ARTICLES/OPINIONS pertaining to wine and ‘LCBO DEALS’ listings.

 

Wine Resources – herein, I provide personally reviewed recommendations, list LCBO sales, highlight wines available at wineries, and mention some good wines available only through consignment.
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Wineries of Niagara Peninsula – documenting wineries. One at a time.
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Events – listing and documenting events in Toronto and the nearby wine country.
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Biography

My wine story
Dear reader, first of all, thank you for visiting my webpage; to introduce myself, my name is Daniel Trcka and much like yourself, I am a wine enthusiast.
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I am inherently curious and have always had the need to figure out how things work – this drive has led me to become as I am today. Looking back, it is always interesting how passions evolve before they become entities that engulf oneself and become him or herself. My passion began the day when I decided to make my own wine. Thinking that my creation must fare better than the cheapest 1.5L table wine I went ahead and surprisingly achieved it. Naturally, this then led to a simple question “what makes one wine better than another”? The somewhat complicated answer took me on a quest to learn about the complexity and the range of ‘tastes’ – first seeking the answer in a pursuit of knowledge (I highly recommend reading a 926 page book titled WINE by Andre Domine), and then finding it by training my sense of smell (54 scent Les-Nes-Du-Vin kit, also highly recommended) and learning how to listen to it. Subsequently, natural progression (for me) was to share my passion and the newly gained knowledge, and so I started reviewing wines on the WineAlign website, and Natalie MacLean’s site, but these not fully satisfying my need to express myself, I developed this webpage and launched it on July 19th, 2012.
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This section features articles where I describe events, give tips and traveling advice, list articles about wineries, or anything that is related to wine.
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Recent Posts

County in the City 2014

 

The 3rd ‘County in the City’, an annual event that brings wineries from Prince Edward County to Ontario’s capital so that Torontonians, unable to travel, can taste and appreciate wines from one of the three Ontario’s wine growing regions while mingling with other cool (climate) wine lovers, took place on April 3rd, 2014. As this was the 3rd time I’ve attended it, it has officially become my annual ritual or tradition.
As all things mature and change, so did this event (see last year’s article) – still ‘faithfully’ utilizing Berkeley Church as the venue choice, this year’s increased admission to $49 not only included all the tastings and music (same as last year), the food provided by Berkley Church Catering was also included (new this year). Again, the walls of the main floor were lined with wineries’ representatives pouring their currently available vintages, while the central stage was reserved for the musician and food kiosk.
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Birds and wine enthusiasts flocking Berkley Church.
2014_County_in_the_city_IMG_9334

 

About the Wines

Despite the church’s ambient atmosphere and the social aspect of meeting new people or reconnecting with old acquaintances, the event is ultimately about wine – well it is for me. PEC’s lower average temperatures and shorter growing season warrant the cultivation of primarily cool climate varietals that are accustomed to and thrive in such conditions. Though many, if not all, of the varietals are also grown in the neighboring Niagara Peninsula, one can expect to taste notable differences between the two regions, as there are many dissimilarities including the terroir and climate, different native yeast strains, the size of harvested fruit or overall vine-growing/winemaking philosophy guided by PEC’s weather conditions – these are all manifested in the wines themselves. The wines bare distinct and identifiable characteristics found no place else – with crisp, refreshing acidity, intense aromas and a surprisingly fruitful body.
Though most of the tasted wines are not available for sale at the LCBO, they can be purchased directly at the event with the shipping cost waived if purchase of any 6 wine minimum requirement is satisfied. Even if this opportunity is missed, some delivery arrangements can be made with individual wineries.

 

Wine Reviews

Throughout this year’s event, I was able to taste and review nearly 30 wines – quantity that would not be achievable without a dedicated, quiet ‘corner’ setup by WineAlign’s critic John Szabo.
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WineAlign’s critics John Szabo, M.S. (left) and David Lawrason (right).
2014_County_in_the_city_IMG_9381
The 2012 Lighthall Vineyards Gewurztraminer has intense aromas of limestone minerality, lemon peel, stems and hawthorn. It is a medium bodied, off-dry/medium dry, fruity wine; somewhat hot (13% alcohol) with refreshing acidity and a medium finish. It is food friendly and can be sipped on its own; drink now and for the next 3+ years (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 89 pts. $25.00 Lighthall Vineyards
The 2012 Huff Estates Pinot Gris has appealing aromas of wet slate minerality, lime, gooseberry and stems. It is a light bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; quite acidic and with short finish. Drink this wine with food; drink now – 2017 (cork enclosure). Rated 86-87 pts.
Score 86-87 pts. $19.95 Huff Estates
The 2012 Devil’s Whishbone Whicket White has rich sweet aromas of lemon, pear, pineapple and acacia. It is a light to medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity, and a short to medium, smooth finish. This is a food friendly wine; drink now to 2018. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $19.00 Devil’s Whishbone
The 2012 ThreeDog Winery Doghouse White, a Vidal and Riesling blend, has attractive aromas of honey, honeydew melon, lemon and green apple. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity and a smooth finish of medium length. It is a food friendly wine; drink now and for the next few years (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE, 86-87 pts.
Score 86-87 pts. $12.95 ThreeDog Winery
The 2011 ThreeDog Winery Doghouse White, a Vidal and Riesling blend, has appealing aromas of gooseberry and green apple. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity and a medium finish. It is a food friendly wine that also can be enjoyed on-its-own; drink now – 2018+ (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 88 pts – recommended for its quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 88 pts. $12.95 ThreeDog Winery
The 2012 Harwood Estate Vidal Blanc/Chardonnay/Gewürztraminer in ~65%/20%/15% proportions, has captivating bouquet full of linden, gooseberry, stems and butter aromas. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity and a medium, smooth finish. It is food friendly; drink for the next few years. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.

Awards:Won a silver medal at Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.
Score 88 pts. $18.00 Harwood Estate
The 2011 Casa-Dea Winery Riesling has intensely concentrated aromas of petrol and subtle quince and apple. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with tart acidity and a medium to long, creamy finish. Drink with food; short-term cellaring may allow the acidity to mellow out; drink 2018 to 2022 (screw cap enclosure). Rated 86 pts.
Score 86 pts. $16.95 Casa-Dea Estates Winery
The 2012 Norman Hardie Riesling, a 70/30% fruit blend from Twenty Mile Bench and PEC, has intense, seductive aromas of petrol, lemon, pineapple and pear. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with crisp/refreshing acidity and a long, oily finish. It is a food friendly wine, but sip on its own; drink now – 2025+ (screw cap enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $21.00 Vintages 131169
The 2012 Lighthall Progression Sparkling has appealing aromas of honeydew melon and pear. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with fine bubbles, good acidity and a medium finish. It is a food friendly wine, drink now and for the next few years (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE, 87 pts.
Score 87 pts. $20.00 Lighthall Vineyards

 

Chardonnays

The 2012 Keint-He Voyageur Chardonnay, made with fruit sourced from the Niagara Peninsula that was then aged in new and used French oak barrels for 12 months, has captivating aromas of roasted coffee bean, gooseberry, toast and faint notes of solvents. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good/checked acidity and a medium to long, smooth finish. It is food friendly and sipping wine, drink now – 2020+ (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended for both, quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 89 pts. $16.00 Keint-He Winery
The 2012 Keint-He Portage Chardonnay, made with fruit sourced entirely from PEC that was subsequently aged in French oak barrels and puncheons, has attractive limestone minerality, gooseberry, pineapple, lemon, green apple, oak and creamy butter notes. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; BALANCED with crisp acidity and a long finish. It is food friendly but enjoy this wine on-its-own, drink now – 2020+ (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $20.00 Keint-He Winery
The 2012 Karlo Estates Chardonnay CHOA (Cherry, Hickory, Oak and Ash – wood used in the barrels where it spent 3 months) has pleasing aromas of lemon, gooseberry and oak. It is a medium bodied, dry, integrated wine; with checked acidity and a medium to long finish. It is food friendly and sipping wine, drink now and for the next few years (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE, 87-88 pts.
Score 87-88 pts. $25.00 Karlo Estates
The 2009 Grange of Prince Edward Chardonnay that spent 12 months in French Oak has intense, unusual yet desirable aromas of toffee, oak, toast and lime on the nose and green apple, butter, vanilla and more oak on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry/dry, integrated wine; with forward acidity and an extra-long finish. Though food friendly, enjoy this wine on-its-own, drink now 2020+ (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended (quality) for lovers of oak influenced wines.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $16.00?
Grange of Prince Edward vineyards and estate winery
The 2008 Grange of Prince Edward Chardonnay has a full, alluring bouquet of oak, walnuts and yellow apple aromas on the nose and pear, butter, vanilla, oak and more nuttiness on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with crisp acidity and an extra-long, creamy, smooth finish. Enjoy this wine by itself, drink now 2020+ (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $24.00?
Grange of Prince Edward vineyards and estate winery
The 2012 Stanners Vineyard Chardonnay that was partially fermented in Ontario oak barrels has intense aromas of green apple, yellow apple and oak. It is a light to medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity and medium finish. This is a food friendly wine, drink now 2018+ (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $25.00 Stanners Vineyard
The 2012 Norman Hardie Unfiltered County Chardonnay that was aged on lees in oak barrels for 10 months has full, seductive notes of coffee bean and toast on the nose and green and yellow apple, oak and more roasted coffee bean on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good, refreshing acidity and long finish. Though food friendly, sip this wine by itself; drink now 2020+ (screw cap enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91-92 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 91-92 pts. $39.00 Norman Hardie
The 2012 Closson Chase Loyalist Chardonnay has desirable aromas of butter, wood, unripe red currant and burnt match on the nose and apple, creamy butter and oak on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good acidity and a medium to long finish. It is food friendly, but enjoy on-its-own; drink now 2020 (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 – 90 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 89-90 pts. $23.95 Closson Chase

 

Pinot Noirs

For me, when I think of Pinot Noirs, the County’s Pinot Noirs stand out from anywhere in the world for their balanced structure of fruit concentration, together with vibrant acidity, and complexity derived from the fruit itself as well as from the careful use of oak during fermentation/aging. These Pinot Noirs can easily compete with others yet at lower prices.
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2014_County_in_the_city_IMG_9384
The 2011 Stanners Vineyard Pinot Noir (unfiltered) has captivating bouquet of smoked meat, clove, cigar box and forest berries on the nose and raspberry, blackberry, subtle vanilla and wood on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with good acidity, refined tannins and a long finish. Enjoy this wine on-its-own; drink now 2020+ (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91-92 pts – recommended for its quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 91-92 pts. $30.00 Stanners Vineyard
The 2010 Casa Dea Pinot Noir, aged in French Oak barrels for 15 months, has attractive notes of lees, raspberry, sour cherry and subtle smoked meat on the nose and raspberry, oak and sour cherry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with refreshing/good acidity, refined yet dusty tannins and a medium to long finish. Enjoy this wine on-its-own or drink with food; drink now 2018 (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended for its value – this wine over-delivers for the price.
RECOMMENDED Score 89 pts. $19.95 Casa-Dea Estates Winery
The 2012 Huff Estates Pinot Noir has attractive notes of forest berries on the nose and raspberry, clove and pepper on the palate. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity, subtle tannins and a medium to long finish. Enjoy this wine with food or drink on-its-own; drink now 2018-20 (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $29.95 Huff Estates
The 2012 Keint-He Voyageur Pinot Noir, sourced from three Niagara vineyards and aged in French oak for 10 months, has pleasing aromas of blackberry, plum and pomegranate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with good, refreshing acidity, drying tannins and a medium to long finish. Drink with food or on-its-own; drink now 2018+ (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $18.00 Keint-He Winery
The 2011 Keint-He Portage Pinot Noir, sourced from three PEC vineyards (Closson, Benway and Foxtail) that was subsequently aged in French oak for 12 months before blending together, has alluring aromas of clove, spice and anise on the nose and strawberry and raspberry on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with refreshing acidity, subtle tannins and a long finish. Sip this one on-its-own; drink now 2018+ (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended for its quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 90-91 pts. $25.00 Keint-He Winery
The 2011 Rosehall Run JCR Pinot Noir, aged in French oak hogsheads for 16 months, has pleasing aromas of spice, wood, vanilla and raspberry. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity, subtle to refined tannins and a medium to long finish. It is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink now 2020 (screw cap enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $39.00 Vintages 326504
The 2010 Lighthall Pinot Noir has mineral notes intertwined with captivating aromas of clove and wood on the nose and clove, raspberry and vanilla on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; it is hot and acidic with grippy tannins and a long finish. Drink with food; put away for couple of year to allow the acidity/tannins to come together – drink 2016+ to 2020 (composite cork enclosure). Though this wine may come together in couple of years, current rating is 87 pts.
Score 87 pts. $25.00 Lighthall Vineyards
The 2012 Devil’s Wishbone Pinot Noir has alluring clove, pepper and raspberry notes on the nose and dates, vanilla, wood and subtle raspberry and strawberry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; BALANCED with refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a long and smooth finish. Though food friendly, enjoy this one by itself – drink now to 2020 (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended for both, quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 90-91 pts. $29.00 Devil’s Whishbone
The 2012 Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Pinot Noir has attractive aromas of mushrooms and barnyard on the nose and cranberry, pomegranate and raspberry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, refined tannins and a medium to long finish. It is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink 2016 to 2020 as cellaring will enhance it further (screw cap enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89-90 pts.
Score 89-90 pts. $35.00 Vintages 125310
The 2009 Grange of Prince Edward Pinot Noir has appealing aromas of clove, pomegranate and subtle cedar on the nose and cranberry, raspberry and more pomegranate on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with forward acidity, refined tannins and a medium to long finish. Drink it with food or on-its-own; drink now to 2018++ (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $? Grange of Prince Edward vineyards and estate winery
The 2010 Karlo Estates Pinot Noir has pleasing clove, forest berries, raspberry and pomegranate notes. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with notable acidity, refined tannins and a long finish. Drink it with food; drink now to 2018 (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE, 87-88 pts.
Score 87-88 pts. $29.00 Karlo Estates
The 2011 Closson Chase K. J. Watson Vineyard Pinot Noir, sourced from the Niagara River Appellation that spent 18 months in French Oak, has uplifted notes of subtle pine, smoked meat and forest berries on the nose and raspberry and strawberry on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with refreshing acidity, subtle to refined tannins and an extra-long finish. Though food friendly, sip this one by itself; drink now to 2020 (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended for its quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 92 pts. $34.95 Closson Chase

 

 

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The event, the party

For most people, understandably, wine tasting events are more about the social aspects than the wine itself. The philosophy of the ‘County in the City’ organizers is to ensure that guests have a great time, that they are not thirsty, hungry or un-entertained. As picture is worth a thousand words, the below images capture the venue’s atmosphere proving this to be the case.

 

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My thanks go out to Scott Rondeau of Power Juncture Corporation for the invitation. county in the city

 

 

For other EVENTS in the wine country or in Toronto
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to see other Prince Edward County related articles
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