Mark Twain wittingly described the coastal climate in his (as is commonly believed) famous phase: “The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco” – illustrating that sunny doesn’t always translate into warmth, for the frigid ocean breezes and rolling fogs cool down California’s coast. Slightly more inland and the refreshing, humid, air currents are replaced with moisture devoid winds that only bring scorching heat. Together with topography of mountains-spanned-by-valleys, and cultivable soils ranging from exposed rock to fertile sediment; the area under vine is quite varied and therefore justly subdivided into 46 American Viticultural Areas (AVA).(3)
Often, I get asked why so many Ontarian wines are light bodied and when they are not, why they are so costly. What if I told you that you can get medium or full bodied wines right from our Ontarian backyard and that these wines still retain their complexity? Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to say.
It is not a news that cool climate wines are more aromatic and thus more complex, but lot of times this comes (though not causatively) at the wine body’s expense, resulting in light or light-to-medium bodied wines. Nowadays, and more than ever, greater number of Ontarian wineries produce wines loaded with fruit. Perhaps it is so because the past decade has been warmer than the decades before, but mainly because the vines bearing the fruit are more aged and are able to synthetize more complex hydrocarbons, and because viticultural methods such as crop trimming, and winemaking techniques such as grape drying (appassimento) all result in more intense wines. These practices, however, come at a cost as crop trimming reduces yields and drying is labor intensive.
Chilean wines – the thoughts that enter one’s mind are: value, full-bodied reds and vegetal Carmeneres. At this year’s tasting, I’ve affirmed the first two, but have learned that vegetal Carmeneres are no longer in style. I rather enjoy the green, vegetal notes that Carmenere is known and (by me) so revered for, but sadly, as sale statistics don’t lie, it seems that fellow Ontarians don’t feel the same way. None-the-less, I’ve tried quite a few wines and documented my overall experience together with the wine reviews herein.