Thomas, many thanks for that! I have yet to try John's wines, but I hope to at some point. Perhaps a visit to his winery next year would be a good idea as well - I certainly have a keen interest in his Catawba and Delaware.
Me? I love Catawba, but with a caveat (more on that in a moment). The only varietal Catawba in Ontario was a late-harvest one made by Thomas & Vaughan until about 1999; it was called "Old Gold" due to its characteristic golden hue in the glass. The nose was intriguing for its purity and fruit: it featured tropical strawberry and pineapple esters along with a rosy/spicy note and delicate labrusca musk on the finish - just beautiful. Its downfall, to my taste, was the sticky-sweet finish.
One of the nicest Catawbas I've tasted to-date was Chiappone Cellars' example, which I got from Howie some time back. It was finished at around 3% r.s. if I recall correctly. That much r.s. is fine by me, though my heart really yearns for a completely dry version - zingy acidity, full-throttle fruitiness, a big mouthfeel and a completely crisp, full-flavoured, unsweetened finish. That is the essence of labrusca wine for me, and it's what I seek to make each year at home from Niagara and Concord.
Many thanks for your lovely post.