Cuvée 2014

 

Grand Tasting & Après Cuvée

What is Cuvée? To put it simply, Cuvée is a celebration of prior-years’ winemaking achievements, but this description doesn’t do justice to what Cuvée embodies and what it is about.

 

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The beginnings

The first Cuvée was held twenty-five years ago in 1989, time when some of Niagara’s oldest wineries were just entering their teens, even before VQA came to existence. Sixteen wineries participated in an event that 350 guests attended at the Victoria Park Restaurant in Niagara Falls [1]. In the following years, Cuvée was held at Queen’s Landing Inn (1995-2002), and White Oaks Resort (2003-2006) before moving to its current venue in Fallsview Casino (2007-2014). [1, 2]
The original intent behind Cuvée was to hand out awards for the best wines, selected via blind-tasting by the winemakers themselves, in a competition that preceded the event. These accolades were viewed as the highest honor since they came from within the industry and not from the media. Perhaps initially as an unintended consequence and since everyone loves winners, the awards had an added benefit of increasing the winning wine’s sales. As direct comparisons can be drawn, this black-tie event was dubbed the Ontario-wine-industry’s Oscars, and perhaps it is of no coincidence that it happens in proximity to them, but just on Fridays.

 

Evolution

Plausibly directly reflecting the evolution, progression and state of Ontario’s wine industry; the Cuvée has also changed year after year. Aside from handing out awards, in 2003, the Cuvée organizers took upon themselves the task to raise money for the Niagara Community Foundation and have since raised over $400,000 [3]. In 2013, the 25th annual Cuvée has shifted from the award presentation style to ‘grand tasting’ gala, where winemakers pour a single wine, their finest, and attendees wearing their best walk around mingling, sampling and savouring the wines. Though retaining its glamor and fame, this change produced more stylish, elegant and social occasion allowing for more interaction and sharing the ‘fruits of labor’.

 

Cuvée 2014

This year’s 26th annual, red carpet event was hosted at the Fallsview Casino and it effectively started with ‘Media Reception’ at 6 pm followed by ‘Grand Tasting’ from 7:30 – 10 pm. The one-hour-or-so ‘media reception’ allowed for nearly uninterrupted digital documentation of staged bouquets, delicately laid out foods and deserts, and the wines poured by the winemakers that made them – the premise on which this occasion centres around. Not to be blamed for, guests arriving early for the ‘Grand Tasting’ had a choice of tasting a “singular wine from each winery in the style that is used at prominent wine events around the world” [4] from over 50 wineries. Throughout the venue, tactically positioned stations with top local chefs preparing their signature dishes fulfilled everyone’s appetite.
(list copied directly from [5])
The stellar list of talented chefs and establishments participating in 2014 includes:
– Chef Ray Taylor, Fallsview Casino Resort
– Chef Erik Peacock, Wellington Court Restaurant
– Chef Frank Dodd, Trius Winery Restaurant at Hillebrand
– Chef Tim Mackiddie, Inniskillin Niagara Estate
– Chef David Watt and Anthony Greco, Garrison House and Zest Restaurant
– Chef Rich Francis, District Red and contestant on Top Chef Canada
– Chef Giovanni Del Priore and Chef Leonardo Priore, Criveller Cakes
– Chef Professors, Benchmark Chefs, Culinary Students and Members of the Canadian Junior Culinary Olympic Team, Canadian Food & Wine Institute at Niagara College
– Dairy Farmers of Canada
– Italian Ice Cream
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Awards were given, of course, but not for best quality wines; instead they praised people whose contributions notably enhanced the industry. These are:
– The Cuvée Awards of Excellence in Viticulture was awarded to Ron Koop (Koop Farms Limited).
– Tony Aspler Award for ‘an unparalleled consistency of wine quality vintage-after-vintage’ went to Moray Tawse (proprietor of Tawse Winery).
Also, the Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) handed out five ‘2014 VQA Promoters’ awards whereby acknowledging significant achievements of individuals promoting Ontario wine:
– LCBO: William Mancini and David Churchill
– HOSPITALITY: Erik Peacock (Wellington Court Restaurant)
– MEDIA: David Lawrason (Toronto Life)
– PROMOTER-at-LARGE: Shawn McCormick (uncorkOntario.com)
– LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Lloyd Schmidt (Viticulturist)

 

Shawn McCormick and his wife. Shawn received the ‘Promoter at large’ award for his freelance development of Uncork Ontario Travel App.
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As the awards were brief, patrons had plenty of time to sample the multitude of wines and make decisions on which they will purchase.

 

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Après Cuvée

As the ‘Grand Tasting’ wined down from 9:30 to 10 pm, the adjacent hall livened up for the after party. Spanning central podium for the band and stage for dancing were two bars, one serving Icewine, the other sparkling; in between couches, chairs and tables served as retreat for the tired feet.

 

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So again, as an indicator of Ontario’s wine industry’s state, how successful was 26th annual Cuvée? Using tickets sales as a measure of feat, and if considering the first Cuvée as a great achievement when “350 patrons paid $30 wanting to taste Ontarian wines” [1], then entertaining 750 guests who gladly paid $175/$200, must surely be viewed as a colossal accomplishment.

 

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Reviewed wines

As this was my first annual (hopefully) Cuvée, so I focused on taking pictures and finding out what exactly the event is all about. That left me with not-enough hands and pre-occupied to do any wine reviewing, despite sampling many excellent wines in the later parts of the evening. Here are my assessments of the wines present at the Cuvée, with all but Foreign Affair Conspiracy tasted next day during the Cuvée En Route where I was able to focus without any external distraction. As hopefully portrayed above, it is of no surprise that all of the served wines were of top quality and are reviewed accordingly.
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The 2012 Foreign Affair Conspiracy, an appassimento stile wine, is composed of late-in-the-fall harvested Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot that were subsequently aged in French, Hungarian and American oaks. It has intense notes of raspberry, cranberry, pomegranate and coconut and vanilla on both the nose and palate. It is a medium to full bodied, extra dry, fruity to integrated wine; with refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a long and smooth finish. It is food friendly, but enjoy on-its-own; drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for both, quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $19.95 Vintages 149237
The 2012 Inniskillin Reserve Series Merlot has captivating notes of cranberry, sour cherry, vanilla, old wood, cigar box and pine. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; on the acidic side, with drying tannins and a medium finish. This is a food friendly wine – drink with tomato based dishes; it will benefit from cellaring – drink 2016/17 – 2022. My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 89 pts. $24.95 Available at the winery
The 2011 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir was fermented using natural yeast; this is a first vintage from winemaker Sebastian Jacquey. The wine has lifted aromas of green underbrush, rosehip, pomegranate, old wood, faint clove and light spiciness. It is a light to medium bodied; extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, tight tannins and a medium finish. This wine is both food friendly and a sipper; it will benefit from further aging for the tannins and acidity to come together – drink 2017 – 2022. My impression: NICE, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $30.00 Vintages 33894
The 2012 Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve White Meritage, composed of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon, has appealing aromas of faint tropical fruit, gooseberry and linden. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with faint minerality, forward/refreshing acidity and a medium finish. It is a food friendly wine; drink now – 2017+. My impression: NICE, 90 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $24.95 Available at the winery
The 2011 Trius Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc, has intense aromas of papaya, gooseberry, clean slate minerality and light zest and yeast. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; BALANCED with good acidity and with long, smooth and creamy finish. Though food friendly, sip this one on-its-own; drink now – 2018++. My impression: BEAUTIFUL to DIVINE, 93 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 93 pts. $32.00 Available at the winery
The 2010 Pillitteri Estates Winemakers Selection Exclamation Winemakers Red, composed of 40% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged in French Oak barrels for 24 months, has intense aromas of black cherry, black berry, cigar box, vanilla and oak. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good, refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a smooth and silky finish of extra-long length. Enjoy this wine on-its-own or with red meats; drink now – 2022+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $45.00 Available at the winery.
The 2011 Konzelmann Estates Gewurztraminer (the 2012 vintage was featured at the Cuvee) has intense aromas of honeydew melon, green apple and pineapple. It is a medium bodied, off-dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity and a medium finish. It is food friendly; drink now – 2018+. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – recommended for its value.
RECOMMENDED Score 88 pts. $14.95 LCBO 392357
The 2011 Malivoire Courtney Gamay, aged in French Oak (1/3 new) for 12 months, has intense aromas of pomegranate, raspberry and subtle vanilla and wood as well as light minerality. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish. Though made to be combined with food, one can enjoy this wine on its own; drink now – 2018. My impression: quite NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality. Was featured at both Cuvée Grand Tasting and Cuvée en Route.
RECOMMENDED Score 89 pts. $30.00 Available at the winery.
The 2011 Rennie Estate Winery Assemblage ”G”, composed of 50% Merlot and an even split between both Cabernets that were dried for 70 days (appassimento method) and subsequently spent 18 months in French Oak. It has seductive notes of raspberry, blackberry and black cherry and subtle vanilla and oak. It is a full bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; BALANCED with good acidity, grippy tannins and a long, smooth finish. Enjoy this wine on-its-own; drink now – 2025. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 93 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 93 pts. $55.00
Available at Malivoire Wine Company or through http://rennieestatewinery.com/
The 2011 Kacaba Terrace Vineyard Syrah, which spent in French Oak 12 months, has intense aromas of lees, pomegranate, cranberry, black cherry as well as some barnyard notes. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, tight tannins and a medium finish. This is a food friendly wine; drink now – 2018+. My impression: NICE, 89 pts. This wine was featured at both Cuvée Grand Tasting and Cuvée en Route.
Score 89 pts. $19.95 Available at the winery
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(list copied directly from [4])
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The Whites

13th Street Winery
WINEMAKER: Jean Pierre Colas
Essence Arome 2011
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Bachelder
WINEMAKER: Thomas Bachelder
Bachelder Chardonnay Wismer Vineyard 2011
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Calamus Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Arthur Harder
Pinot Gris 2013
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Cave Spring Cellars
WINEMAKER: Angelo Pavan
Riesling CSV Estate Bottled 2010
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EastDell Estates by Diamond Estates Winery
WINEMAKER: Scott McGregor
EastDell Estates Black Label Chardonnay Sur Lie 2012
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Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
WINEMAKER: Marco Piccoli
Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve White Meritage 2012
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Konzelmann Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Herbert Konzelmann/Fabian Reis
Gewürztraminer 2012
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Mike Weir Winery
WINEMAKER: Jeff Hundertmark
Barrel fermented Chardonnay 2012
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Niagara College Teaching Winery
WINEMAKER: Terence Van Rooyen
Niagara College Balance Sauvignon Blanc 2012
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Nyarai Cellars
WINEMAKER: Steve Byfield
Viognier 2012
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Pelee Island Winery
WINEMAKER: Martin Janz & Tim Charisse
Singing Moon Pinot Blanc 2012
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Peller Estates Winery
WINEMAKER: Katie Dickieson
Private Rerserve Sauvignon Blanc 2012
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Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery
WINEMAKER: Jamie Evans
Peninsula Ridge “Wismer Vineyard” Sauvignon Blanc 2013
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PondView Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Fred Di Profio
Bella Terra Chardonnay 2011
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Reif Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Roberto DiDomenico
Gewürztraminer Reserve 2012
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Ridge Road Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Sean Douglas
Pinot Gris 2013
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Riverview Cellars Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Angela Kasimos
Gewürztraminer 2012
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Southbrook Vineyards
WINEMAKER: Ann Sperling
Whimsy Winemakers’ White blend 2011
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Stoney Ridge Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Jeff Hundertmark
Excellence Pinot Gris 2011
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Strewn Winery
WINEMAKER: MarcBradshaw
Strewn Terroir French Oak Chardonnay 2011
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Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Sue-Ann Staff
Riesling Loved By Lu 2012
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Trius Winery at Hillebrand
WINEMAKER: Craig McDonald
Showcase Sauvignon Blanc 2012
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Westcott Vineyards
WINEMAKER: Arthur Harder
Reserve Chardonnay 2012


The Reds
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Big Head Wines
WINEMAKER: Andrzej Lipinski
Pinot Noir 2012
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Burning Kiln Winery
WINEMAKER: Andrzej Lipinski
Burning Kiln Cab Frank 2012
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Château des Charmes
WINEMAKER: Amélie Boury
Merlot, St. David’s Bench Vineyard 2012
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Colaneri Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Andrej Lipinski
“Coraggioso” Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
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Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Rori McCaw
CHV Merlot VQA LENS 2012
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Cornerstone Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Andrzej Lipinski
CABERNET- MERLOT 2010
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Coyote’s Run Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Jeff Aubry ,David Sheppard
Rare Vintage Meritage 2010
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Domaine Queylus
WINEMAKER: Thomas Bachelder
Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir Reserve 2011
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Five Rows Craft Wine of Lowrey Vineyards
WINEMAKER: Wes Lowrey
2010 Five Rows Pinot Noir 2010
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Foreign Affair Winery
WINEMAKER: Barclay Robinson
2012 Conspiracy 2012
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G Marquis Vineyards
WINEMAKER: Peter Rotar
Epic The Silver Line VQA 2010
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Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Sandrine Bourcier
Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Reserve 2011
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Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery
WINEMAKER: Marlize Beyers
Estate Pinot Noir 2011
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Inniskillin Niagara Estate
WINEMAKER: Bruce Nicholson
Inniskillin Reserve Series Merlot 2012

Kacaba Vineyards and Winery
WINEMAKER: John W Tummon
Terrace Vineyard Syrah 2011
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Lailey Vineyard Wines
WINEMAKER: Derek Barnett
Syrah 2012
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Lakeview Cellars by Diamond Estates Winery
WINEMAKER: Jason Roller
Lakeview Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010
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Le Clos Jordanne
WINEMAKER: Sebastien Jacquey
Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir 2011
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Magnotta Winery
WINEMAKER: Peter Rotar
Cabernet Franc Limited Edition VQA 2010
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Malivoire Wine Company
WINEMAKER: Shiraz Mottiar
Malivoire Courtney Gamay 2011
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Megalomaniac – John Howard Cellars of Distinction
WINEMAKER: Sue-Ann Staff
Bravado Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
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Palatine Hills Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Jeff Innes
Newfeld Vineyard Meritage 2010
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Pillitteri Estates Winery
WINEMAKER: Alex Kolundzic
Exclamation Winemakers Selection Winemakers Red 2010
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Rennie Estate Winery
WINEMAKER: Shiraz Mottiar
Rennie Estate Winery Assemblage” G” 2011
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Rockway Vineyards
WINEMAKER: David Stasiuk
Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 11-140 Cabernet Franc 2011
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Stratus Vineyards
WINEMAKER: J-L Groux
Stratus Red – Magnum 2010
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Thirty Bench Wine Makers
WINEMAKER: Emma Garner
Thirty Bench Small Lot Benchmark Red 2010
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Vieni Wine and Spirits
WINEMAKER: Mauro Salvador
Aglianico Al Passo 2011

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Cuvée En Route

Many of the Cuvée participating wineries also participate in a passport event ‘Cuvée En Route’, where they for three days (Friday – Sunday) serve wines usually only available during this time. Some of the flights, the vertical tastings, are intended to demonstrate the quality and ageability of the wines; other selections are designed to show off library wines that are of limited quantities and are not usually for sale; while some flights showcase barrel samples or futures (un-bottled wine that is still maturing in tanks and can be purchased for considerable discounts. Of importance is to mention that many of these chosen wines are not only unique in the sense that they are scarce, but also bear special Cuvée prices.

 

Tasted wines

Inniskillin Winery featured two Cabernet Franc Icewines, one regular the other sparkling – both made by their winemaker Bruce Nicholson. I chose to taste these as Cabernet Franc Icewines are less common and the sparkling ones are outright unique.
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The 2012 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine has captivating aromas of flowers, honey, honeydew melon and lemon on the nose and strawberry and more so raspberry on the palate. It is a full bodied, sweet, fruity wine; with mouth-watering acidity and a long finish. Drink by itself; drink now – 2020. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended for its quality, though quite expensive.
RECOMMENDED Score 89 pts. $99.95 Available at the winery
The 2012 Inniskillin Sparkling Cabernet Franc Icewine has charming aromas of saffron (initially upon opening), honey, forest berries and hawthorn on the nose and light lees, raspberry and pomegranate on the palate. It is a full bodied, sweet, fruity wine; with fine fizziness, refreshing acidity and a medium to long, clean finish. Sip this wine on-its-own; drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended for its quality and uniqueness.
RECOMMENDED Score 92 pts. $119.95 Available at the winery

 

Jackson-Triggs featured vertical tasting of their Syrahs from the Delaine Vineyard and though both made by different winemakers, this was a lesson in ageability that I could not miss.
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The 2006 Jackson-Triggs Delaine Vineyard Syrah has appealing aromas of yeasty raspberry and bilberry, sweet vanilla and cigar box. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with good, refreshing acidity, refined/grippy tannins and a medium to long, smooth finish. This is a sipping wine; drink now – 2018+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality. This wine is sold out and was only available at Cuvée en Route 2014.
Score 91 pts. Sold out and was only available at Cuvée en Route 2014.
The 2011 Jackson-Triggs Delaine Vineyard Syrah intense aromas of light apricot, forest berries, figs, lightly toasted old wood, cigar box and sweet vanilla. It is light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good acidity, refined, dusty tannins and a long and silky finish. This is a food friendly wine, but enjoy it by itself; it will benefit from further aging – drink 2015-2020. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $32.95 Vintages 86553

 

Stratus featured vertical tasting of their Petit Verdot – all made by the winemaker J-L Groux. Unfortunately I was not able to review the 2010 Stratus Red that was just sooo pleasing the night before.
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The 2006 Stratus Petit Verdot has intense notes of lees, yeasty red currant and barnyard. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, lightly reduced wine; with forward, crisp acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish. This is a sipping wine for those who enjoy lightly reduced aromas; drink now – 2016/18. My impression: NICE, 88 pts (two bottles were tasted).
Score 88 pts. $38.00 Available at the winery
The 2008 Stratus Petit Verdot has appealing aromas of light clove, pine, old wood, cigar box and pomegranate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish. It is food friendly and a sipper; drink now – 2018++. My impression: NICE, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $38.00 Available at the winery
The 2010 Stratus Petit Verdot (pre-release) has intense, smooth aromas of cranberry, blueberry, and black cherry as well as limestone minerality. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, grippy tannins and a long and smooth finish. Enjoy this one on-its-own; drink now to 2022+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $38.00 Pre-release

 

Trius Winery at Hillebrand featured their vertical of Vidal Icewine and though each made by different winemaker, this was a fine experience of how Vidal can age in the span of 18 years!
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The 1996 Trius Vidal Icewine has appealing flowers, honey and acacia bouquet with faint nutty and meaty notes. It is a medium to full bodied, syrupy, aged yet still fruity wine; with good acidity, and a long finish. This beauty is to be sipped; drink now – 2016+. Though lightly oxidized, my impression: BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $?? Was only available at Cuvée en Route 2014.
The 2007 Trius Vidal Icewine has captivating notes of baked pear, hawthorn and wet slate minerality. It is a full bodied, sweet to lightly syrupy, fruity wine; with crisp acidity and a long finish. Sip this one on-its-own or enjoy with creamy cheeses; drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts.
Score 90 pts. $?? Was only available at Cuvée en Route 2014.
The 2012 Trius Vidal Icewine has intense aromas of honey, honeydew melon and linden. It is full bodied, sweet, fruity wine; with good acidity and a long and clean finish. Enjoy this wine with sweets or cheesecake; drink now – 2025. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $54.10 Available at the winery

 

Pillitteri Estates Winery featured their 2010 Exclamation series wines made by the winemaker Alex Kolundzic. At Cuvée Grand Tasting I enjoyed the 2010 Winemakers Red – a blend of the three wines. I must express my gratitude to the staff for opening this bottle specifically for me to try it again and review it. Thank you. All the wines were a true representations of cool climate varietals.
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The 2010 Pillitteri Estates Winemakers Selection Exclamation Reserve Cabernet Franc, aged in French Oak barrels for 24 months, has appealing aromas of cranberry, pomegranate, red currant and wood. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity, tight/drying tannins and a medium finish. This is a food friendly wine; it will benefit from short-term cellaring – drink 2015/16 to 2020. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $37.95 Vintages 362830
The 2010 Pillitteri Estates Winemakers Selection Exclamation Reserve Merlot, aged in French Oak for 24 months, has intense aromas of red currant, cherry, prune, wood and vanilla. It is light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with crisp, refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a long finish. It is food friendly and a sipper; drink now to 2020+. My impression: NICE, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $37.95 Available at the winery
The 2010 Pillitteri Estates Winemakers Selection Exclamation Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French Oak for 24 months, has captivating aromas of red currant, pomegranate, sour cherry, clove, oak and light vanilla. It is medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with good acidity, refined tannins and a long and smooth finish. Though food friendly enjoy this wine by itself; drink now to 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $37.95 Available at the winery

 

Konzelmann Estates presented their Merlot made in different styles (sugar level and oak use) by winemaker Fabian Reis.
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The 2012 Konzelmann Estates Merlot has appealing aromas of yogurty raspberry and blackberry. It is medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish. Drink with food; drink now – 2018. My impression: NOTHING SPECIAL to NICE, 87 pts.
Score 87 pts. $11.95 LCBO 439281
The 2012 Konzelmann Estates Barrel Aged Merlot has appealing notes of black cherry and wood. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with checked acidity, refined tannins and a medium, smooth finish. This is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink now – 2020. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $20.00 Available at the winery
The 2012 Konzelmann Estates Merlot Reserve has intense aromas of pomegranate, red currant, tobacco, wood and clove. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good acidity, refined tannins and a medium to long finish. This is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink now – 2020+. My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED 89 pts. $27.00 Available at the winery

 

Malivoire Winery featured a flight of theirs Gamay wines – all made by Shiraz Mottiar who is able to mold Gammay Noir from food friendly into a sipping wine.
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The 2011 Malivoire Courtney Gamay, aged in French Oak (1/3 new) for 12 months, has intense aromas of pomegranate, raspberry and subtle vanilla and wood as well as light minerality. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish. Though made to be combined with food, one can enjoy this wine on its own; drink now – 2018. My impression: quite NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality. Was featured at both Cuvée Grand Tasting and Cuvée en Route.
RECOMMENDED 89 pts. $30.00 Available at the winery
The 2012 Malivoire Courtney Gamay (tank sample) has appealing aromas of raspberry and forest floor. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $0.00 Not yet available.
The 2012 Malivoire Small Lot Gamay, aged in French Oak for 6 months, has pleasing aromas of sour cherry and subtle oak. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity, subtle to refined tannins and a medium finish. Sip this wine by itself; drink now – 2019. My impression: quite NICE, 88-89 pts – recommended for both, value and quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 88-89 pts. $19.95 Available at the winery

 

Rennie Estate Winery, a virtual winery with very real vineyard, utilizes the Appassimento method and the Vineland Research Institute to research the best way to make his concentrated wines. Having Shiraz Mottiar and Malivoire winery to make his wine is a blessing.
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The 2011 Rennie Estate Winery Scarpata, made with Cabernet Sauvignon using the appassimento method and spent 18 months in new French Oak. The wine has captivating aromas of woody cranberry, cherry, raspberry, cedar and oak. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with crisp acidity, grippy tannins and a long finish. Drink by itself or with red meats; drink now – 2020++. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $45.00 Available at Malivoire Wine Company or through http://rennieestatewinery.com/

 

Kacaba Winery featured vertical tasting of their Syrah, made by their winemaker John W Tummon.
2014_Cuvée_En_Route_IMG_9198.CR2
The 2011 Kacaba Terrace Vineyard Syrah, which spent in French Oak 12 months, has intense aromas of lees, pomegranate, cranberry, black cherry as well as some barnyard notes. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, tight tannins and a medium finish. This is a food friendly wine; drink now – 2018+. My impression: NICE, 89 pts. This wine was featured at both Cuvée Grand Tasting and Cuvée en Route.
Score 89 pts. $19.95 Available at the winery
The 2009 Kacaba Single Vineyard Syrah, that spent 16 months in French Oak, has appealing aromas of earth, lees, red currant, pomegranate and wood. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish. Enjoy this with wine red meats; drink now – 2018. My impression: NICE, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $29.95 Available at the winery
The 2009 Kacaba Reserve Syrah, aged in French Oak for 16 months, has intense aromas of blackberry, black cherry, light vanilla and oak. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with good acidity, refined tannins and a long and smooth finish. Enjoy this wine on-its-own; drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $69.95 Available at the winery
.

Calamus Estate Winery
3100 Glen Road, Jordan (enter Lincoln on GPS),
1.888.225.9866 / 905.562.9303
www.calamuswines.com
11 am to 5:30 pm
Tasting Theme: Horizontal
.
A trio of stellar 2012 Rieslings that showcase the terroir,
the winemaker’s talents and versatility of the grape in
wines that range from crisp & dry to fruity & off dry.
2012 Reserve Riesling
2012 Vinemount Ridge Riesling
2012 Robert’s Riesling
.
Colaneri Estate Winery
348 Concession 6 Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.682.2100
www.colaneriwines.com
11 am to 6 pm
Tasting Theme: Winemaker’s Selection
What a difference a year makes!
2009 “Visione” Syrah
2010 “Fumoso Bianco” Sauvignon Blanc
2011 “Unita” Cabernet Franc
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Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards Estate Winery
1425 Iler Road, Harrow, 1.519.738.HAWK(4295)
www.coopershawkvineyards.com
11 am to 6 pm, Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Winemaker’s Selection
We are in EPIC wine country between Harrow and Kingsville.
Please keep your pass for a future visit this summer, we will
gladly honour it now or anytime.
2012 Merlot Reserve VQA Lake Erie North Shore
2013 Pinot Grigio VQA Lake Erie North Shore
2012 Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA Lake Erie North Shore
.
Cornerstone Estate Winery
4390 Tufford Road, Beamsville, 905.563.6758
www.cornerstonewinery.com
12 pm to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Winemaker’s Selection
Join us to sample our best and most awarded wines of 2013.
2010 Cabernet-Merlot
2012 Pinot Gris
2011 Gewürztraminer
.
Coyote’s Run Estate Winery
485 Concession 5 Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.682.8310
www.coyotesrunwinery.com
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Winemaker’s Selection
Indulge in our fabulous new releases!
2012 Pinot Noir
2012 Pinot Gris
2013 Unoaked Chardonnay
.
Diamond Estates Winery
1067 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.685.5673
www.diamondestates.ca
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Winemaker’s Selection
2012 EastDell Estates Black Label Chardonnay Sur Lie
2011 EastDell Estates Black Label Cabernet Franc
2011 EastDell Estates Black Label Shiraz
.
Five Rows Craft Wine of Lowrey Vineyards
361 Tanbark Road, St. Davids, 905.262.5113
www.fiverows.com
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Limited Edition
Less than 10 cases remain of these special wines.
2010 Pinot Noir
2010 Shiraz
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
.
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery
1469 Pelham Road, St. Catharines, 905.684.8423
www.henryofpelham.com
10 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Vertical
Join us at Henry of Pelham to taste these exceptional vintages of
our Cabernet Merlot in a vertical tasting.
2002 Henry of Pelham Reserve Cabernet Merlot
2005 Henry of Pelham Reserve Cabernet Merlot
2007 Henry of Pelham Reserve Cabernet Merlot
.
Inniskillin Niagara Estate
1499 Line 3, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.468.2187
www.inniskillin.com
10 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Unique Varieties
Try something NEW and UNIQUE!
2012 Inniskillin Sparkling Cabernet Franc Icewine
2012 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine
.
Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
2145 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.468.4637
www.jacksontriggswinery.com
10 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Vertical
THEN and NOW
2006 Delaine Vineyard Syrah
2011 Delaine Vineyard Syrah
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Kacaba Vineyards and Winery
3550 King Street, Vineland, 905.562.5625
www.kacaba.com
10 am to 6 pm
Tasting Theme: Vertical
Kacaba proudly hosts one of the first plantings of Syrah
in Ontario. Experience how the different vintages impact
this varietal.
2009 Single Vineyard Syrah
2010 Reserve Syrah
2011 Terrace Vineyard Syrah
.
Konzelmann Estate Winery
1096 Lakeshore Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.935.2866
www.konzelmann.ca
11 am to 3 pm
Tasting Theme: Horizontal
MERLOT TRIO! Three different wines made from
our Merlot grapes.
2012 Konzelmann Merlot
2012 Merlot Barrel Aged
2012 Reserve
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Lailey Vineyard Wines
15940 Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.468.0503
www.laileyvineyard.com
12 pm to 4 pm
Tasting Theme: Winemaker’s Selection
Taste samples of the much-anticipated vintage of 2012 reds.
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Cabernet Franc
2012 Merlot
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Magnotta Winery
4701 Ontario Street, Beamsville, 905.563.5313
www.magnotta.com
12 pm to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Winemaker’s Selection
Drop by for a tasting of three spectacular Magnotta Limited
Edition wines — an intimate selection, chosen by our winemaker
and produced from Magnotta’s private vineyards.
2012 Chardonnay Limited Edition VQA
2010 Cabernet Franc Limited Edition VQA
2008 Vidal Icewine Niagara Peninsula Limited Edition VQA
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Malivoire Wine Company
4260 King Street, Beamsville, 905.563.9253
www.malivoire.com
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Limited Edition
Our winemaker’s commitment to outstanding Gamay
is demonstrated in this tasting of limited edition wine
including a pre-release opportunity!
2012 Small Lot Gamay
2011 Courtney Gamay
2012 Pre-Release Courtney Gamay
.
Megalomaniac – John Howard Cellars of Distinction
3930 Cherry Avenue, Vineland, 905.562.8155
www.megalomaniacwine.com
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Winemaker’s Selection
Enjoy a selection of extraordinary red wines!
2010 Bravado Cabernet Sauvignon
2009 Travellers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2009 Travellers Reserve Merlot
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Niagara College Teaching Winery
135 Taylor Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.641.2252 ext. 4070
www.niagaracollegewine.ca
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Vertical
Allow us to lead you through a tasting of one of the region’s
most celebrated grapes…Chardonnay!
2011 Unoaked Chardonnay
2011 Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay
2010 Dean’s List Chardonnay
.
Peller Estates Winery
290 John Street East, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1.888.673.5537
www.peller.com
10 am to 8 pm (Sunday to 6 pm)
Tasting Theme: Horizontal
Delight your palate with our “Big Reds” from the
outstanding 2012 vintage.
2012 Private Reserve Merlot
2012 Private Reserve Cabernet Franc
2012 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
.
Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery
5600 King Street West, Beamsville, 905.563.0900
www.peninsularidge.com
10 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Limited Edition
Come by Peninsula Ridge Estates winery with your Cuvée en Route
Passport and “taste the vineyard” by comparing the outstanding
2011 McNally Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc beside a pre-release
sample of our new 2013 Wismer Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc.
2011 McNally Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
2013 Peninsula Ridge Wismer Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
.
Pillitteri Estates Winery
1696 Niagara Stone Road R.R.#2, Niagara-on-the-Lake,
905.468.3147
www.pillitteri.com
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Winemaker’s Selection
Enjoy a tasting of Pillitteri’s Exclamation Reserve Wines.
2010 Exclamation Reserve Cabernet Franc
2010 Exclamation Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Exclamation Reserve Merlot
.
Reif Estate Winery
15608 Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake,
905.468.WINE (9463) (reservations recommended)
www.reifwinery.com
11 am to 4 pm
Tasting Theme: Horizontal
Horizontal Tasting 2012 – Wines from the vintage of the century!
2012 Riesling
2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve
2012 Vidal Icewine
.
Ridge Road Estate Winery
1205 Ridge Road, Vinemount, 289.649.0353
www.ridgeroadwinery.ca
10:30 am to 5:30 pm
Join us for a complimentary wine tasting.
Tasting Theme: Winemaker’s Selection
2013 Pinot Gris
2012 Baco Noir
2013 Rose
.
Riverview Cellars Estate Winery
15376 Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.262.0636
www.riverviewcellars.com
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Limited Edition
Come taste our limited edition reserve wines. Riverview’s
Reserve Series wines identify our top wines from
premium growing seasons.
2012 Angelina’s Reserve Gewürztraminer
2011 Salvatore’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Salvatore’s Reserve Malbec
.
Rockway Vineyards
3290 Ninth Street Louth, St. Catharines, 905.641.5771
www.rockwayvineyards.com
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Limited Edition
Rockway Vineyards – three unforgettable experiences,
one unique destination.
2011 Small Lot Cabernet Franc
2011 Small Lot Meritage
2012 Small Lot “Wild Ferment” Chardonnay
.
Southbrook Vineyards
581 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.641.2548
www.southbrook.com
12 pm to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Unique Varieties
2005 Vidal Icewine
2011 Wine Makers White
.
Stoney Ridge Estate Winery
3201 King Street, Vineland, 905.562.1324
www.stoneyridge.com
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Winemaker’s Selection
Try our winemaker’s favourite reserve series Stoney Ridge wines.
2011 Excellence Pinot Gris
2010 Excellence Merlot
.
Stratus Vineyards
2059 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.468.1806
www.stratuswines.com
12 pm to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Vertical
Explore Petit Verdot from the Stratus Vineyard.
2006 Stratus Petit Verdot
2008 Stratus Petit Verdot
2010 Stratus Petit Verdot – Pre-Release
.
Strewn Winery
1339 Lakeshore Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905.468.1229
www.strewnwinery.com
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Vertical
Join Strewn for a vertical tasting of varying vintages of Cabernet
Franc including our 2010 Terroir, a 2011 Amarone-style dry late
harvest, and two surprise back vintages from our library.
2010 Strewn Terroir Cabernet Franc
2011 Strewn Cabernet Franc Late Harvest
Two Older Vintages of Cabernet Franc
.
Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery
3210 Staff Avenue, Jordan (Lincoln), 905.562.1719
www.staffwines.com
11 am to 6 pm
Tasting Theme: Vertical
How gracefully Riesling ages! Wander through 3 vintages of
Riesling Loved By Lu to discover how aging can be graceful.
2012 Riesling Loved By Lu
2011 Riesling Loved By Lu
2008 Riesling Semi-Dry
.
Thirty Bench Wine Makers
4281 Mountainview Road, Beamsville, 905.563.1698
www.thirtybench.com
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Vertical
Treat your palate to three vintages of our Pinot Noir.
2009 Pinot Noir
2010 Pinot Noir
2011 Pinot Noir
.
Trius Winery at Hillebrand
1249 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1.800.582.8412
www.triuswines.com
1 pm to 7 pm
Tasting Theme: Limited Edition
Savour and compare three stunning vintages of our classic
Trius Vidal Icewine.
1997 Trius Vidal Icewine
2007 Trius Vidal Icewine
2012 Trius Vidal Icewine
.
Vieni Wine and Spirits
4553 Fly Road, Beamsville, 905.563.6521
www.vieni.ca
11 am to 5 pm
Tasting Theme: Unique Varieties
Try one of the newest wineries on the Beamsville Bench as we
offer unique varietals and distinct wine making techniques!
2011 Al Passo Aglianico
2012 Riesling Sparkling
2012 Bollicine Extra Dry Sparkling Wine

Source http://cuvee.ca/files/download/116
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Gala Wine Reviews | Cuvée En Route | References | Comments

 

 

For other EVENTS in the wine country or in Toronto, please link here.

 

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I am grateful to Niagara Community Foundation for the invitation to partake in this grandeur event.
cuvee-2014
Also, my special shout out goes to Paul-André Bosc (proprietor Château des Charmes), Meg McGrath (Hidden Bench), Konrad Ejbich (@WineZone), Shawn McCormick (uncorkOntario.com), The WineAlign ladies – Carol Ann Jessiman, Sara d’Amato and Sarah Goddard, Elena Galey-Pride (@winestains) and Brad Mate (http://www.niagarawinevideos.com/) for making this evening a special one.

 

 

References:

1. Personal communication with Paul-André Bosc (getting history from someone who attended the first Cuvée)
2. Cuvée milestones 2014.pdf – document provided by Niagara Community Foundation.
3. “Cuvee, wine industry have come of age” by Penny Coles, Niagara Advance http://www.niagaraadvance.ca/2013/03/05/cuvee-wine-industry-have-come-of-age
4. Cuvée media release: “5_Cuvée Media Release Feb 28_reveal.pdf” http://cuvee.ca/files/download/120‎
5. Cuvée media release: “3_Cuvée Media Release Feb 10_chefs”

 

 

2 thoughts on “Cuvée 2014

  1. Our only complaint about Cuvee en Route was the lack of any kind of food – even if it was only a piece of bread or a cracker. Out of the many wines we visited only two had some food – Reif & Five Rows. With wineries serving at least three wines each, food is needed. If we do the event next year, we will take our own snacks. I criticized this lack of food in my article for Wines of Canada.

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