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Paul B.

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Meeting up with Howie & a WTN: 2005 Cayuga White

by Paul B. » Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:27 pm

<table border="0" align="left" valign="top"><tr><td><img src="http://members.allstream.net/~pabs/wine/2005cayugahowie.JPG" border="1" align="left"></td></tr></table>Howie and I met up over in Ontario wine country today and exchanged homemade wines as well as a few other specialties from our respective areas. We also visited Cave Spring Cellars and Flat Rock Cellars - this last one being most interesting and worthy of a visit by anyone touring our wine region. All the wines produced at Flat Rock are bottled under screwcap - everything, right from their Rieslings to their Chardonnays to their excellent Pinot Noirs. I'll have more to write about this winery in a future TN, as I bought a Riesling and Pinot there today. I believe that Flat Rock's Pinot is one of the best from Ontario that I have ever tried.

This evening I decided to open Howie's 2005 Cayuga. Cayuga is a grape that I have enjoyed for a long time, although it is a rare variety in Ontario. Only Scotch Block winery has a row of Cayuga at its Toccalino Vineyard, with some of it going into the regional blend known as Halton White.

Hart's Wine Cellars 2005 Cayuga White: Howie's 2005 Cayuga is made from grapes sourced from the Bruce Giles vineyard over in New York State. The wine is of a clear straw colour and has some pétillance after being poured. The nose is actually quite similar to that of Halton White: There's a crisp green-apple note and a tiny hint of pineapple, together with a very slight candied labrusca note - there is this sweet candied musky note in Cayuga, but it is very faint compared to Niagara, which pumps it out full-force. Cayuga has some labrusca in its parentage, but it's obviously very distant because you actually have to look for the labrusca notes in the wine. Pleasantly crisp and warm on the palate with a bit of residual sweetness (Howie mentioned how much, but I don't exactly recall - about 1.5 g/l rs, if I recall correctly). Lovely crispness and acidity on the palate. You all know me - I would have made such a wine dry, but I'm not complaining here - Howie's example is balanced and appealing.

At the wineries we visited, the vines have all been pruned and neatly tied down. No signs of budbreak just yet, though it is a lovely sight seeing the vineyards all ready for another vintage.
Last edited by Paul B. on Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Howie Hart

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Re: Meeting up with Howie & a TN: 2005 Cayuga White

by Howie Hart » Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:46 am

Paul - it was fun yesterday! I have to admit I was disappointed with Cave Spring. The wines were good and the gentleman pouring, though opinionated, was quite knowledgeable, but having only the wine shop in the midst of boutiques and curiosity shops was not what I was expecting. And I back you up on Flat Rock - Interesting in that they only work with 3 grapes - Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. And they do a very nice job at that. Glad you enjoyed the Cayuga. I have another carboy to bottle and it may be a bit drier when I do.
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Re: Meeting up with Howie & a TN: 2005 Cayuga White

by Paul B. » Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:33 pm

Howie, I have to say that I was definitely impressed by Flat Rock. The building was a work of art in itself, but really, the common sense of them just focusing on three viniferas that actually work well in our climate - Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir - instead of offering everything but the kitchen sink (as some wineries do to cast as wide a net as possible) is admirable in my view. The quality of the wines is top-notch - the Pinot Noir especially did it for me. It was the best Ontario Pinot I have yet tried.

I agree with the president (Ed) that Pinot Noir is the red vinifera grape that makes sense for us in Ontario: Cab Sauvignon does not, and Cab Franc is only so-so - my same opinions. And I also believe that he's right in saying that Ontario should pursue a more Loire-like style with Cab Franc as opposed to oaking it into oblivion.

I really liked the wines we tried there - every one of them outshone the offerings at Cave Spring. I was expecting Cave Spring to have an estate building surrounded by vineyards - not some touristy place located amid myriad other touristy shops. That was most surprising to me because I had previously always thought of them as having precisely that kind of winery setup. That said, I think I'll continue enjoying their VQA Sauvignon Blanc.
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