FOOD AND DRINK
Bottle Shop: Ontario Pinot Noir
As summer heads into the home stretch, it’s time to transition from crisp whites and delicate rosés to light and bright reds. In a cool climate like Ontario’s Niagara region and in the right hands, Pinot Noir will produce fetchingly svelte wines with vibrant fruit, food-friendly acidity and an earthy edge. They are the perfect reds to temper the chillier nights of September. Here are three local bottles to get your Pinot on.
Inniskillin Niagara Estate Pinot Noir 2013
From one of Canada’s pioneering wineries, this dependable, great-value Pinot is also available at Wine Rack, a chain of retail outlets often found in grocery stores and as standalone shops. Sourced from vineyards in the Niagara Peninsula, the latest vintage maintains the label’s strong track record with a translucent, light-bodied wine redolent of cherries, flowers and spice. It’s bright, juicy and so down right quaffable you could pour it as an aperitif for red wine drinkers. Serve with lighter fare such as veggie burgers, baked salmon or a lentil and beet salad with goat cheese. Chill 30 minutes for optimal enjoyment.
Flat Rock Pinot Noir 2013
Perched on a hill in Jordan, just south of Vineland, Flat Rock Cellars offers a spectacular view that starts in their vineyards and, on a clear day, goes all the way to Toronto. There’s no prettier place to taste wine in Niagara. This entry-level Pinot – a Vintages Essentials stalwart – is their best yet, a truly stunning wine for the price. A quick swirl unleashes a fetching bouquet of raspberry, cranberry and spice; a long sip reveals a balanced red with lively acidity and a gently bitter finish. It’s the perfect pour with a Sunday roast chicken or mushroom risotto, and if you host a sizeable Thanksgiving dinner, it might be wise to buy a case.
Norman Hardie Unfiltered Niagara Pinot Noir 2011
Based in Prince Edward County, Norm Hardie has garnered international acclaim for his first-class Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. He still produces a few wines from Niagara grapes, like this outstanding bottle made with fruit sourced from 20 Mile Bench. Plunge your proboscis into the glass for a haunting bouquet of raspberries, flowers, herbs and smoke. With tannins fully integrated, it’s a meatier Pinot to enjoy alongside roast veal or rare beef tenderloin. It may be on the pricey side, but to get this kind of quality from Burgundy, you’d have to spend three times as much.