Jamie and Malcolm visit Adam Lowy at Cloudsley Cellars, Niagara…
Good Food Revolution exists because it is supported by our sponsors, who we call Good Food Fighters, and who share our belief in good, honest food and wine. So, Jamie and I were delighted when we recently signed-up Niagara’s newish boutique winery, Cloudsley Cellars, to the program. We were delighted not just because we appreciate the support (and we do), but also because it would mean a trip down to the Twenty Mile Bench to see its founder and winemaker Adam Lowy to film a ‘Good Food Fighter Profile’, a video to introduce him and Cloudsley Cellars to our audience.
Jamie and I have known Adam for a long time and consider him a friend. Before deciding to make his own wine, Adam sold it for Lifford Wines & Spirits, and then for the Burgundy, Niagara and Oregon Pinot and Chardonnay master, Thomas Bachelder. We’d been enthusiastically following Adam’s transition to vigneron and enjoying fruits of his labour with the first, small production vintages of Pinot Noir under the Cloudsley Cellars label. Adam’s wines are immediately recognizable as premium Niagara Pinot Noir and are being met with critical acclaim and growing sales and production. So, it was with great enthusiasm that we met Adam at Cloudsley Cellars on a sunny Southern Ontario day late last month.
Adam Lowy is literally a garagiste: Cloudlsey Cellars is housed in a converted garage building on Victoria Road, just south of Highway 81. He’s got a few young Pinot vines growing in what used to be the lawn of the garage, but they’re very much just for show at this point. The reason he picked this location to make his wines is that it is surrounded by well established, family owned vineyards with whom he has made long term arrangements to buy fruit, like the Glen Elgin Vineyard just behind the winery. The winery conversion is relatively new: the 2017 vintage is the first he made on his own site. He makes Cloudsley Cellars with his Assistant Winemaker, Matt Smith and employs the consultancy of the legendary oenologist Peter Gamble.
Before Jamie shot the video below, we tasted some wine. Generally speaking, Cloudsley Cellars offer two levels of wine: their $35 ‘Twenty Mile Bench‘ label which is a blend of wines from the surrounding vineyards they source from and then specific vineyard bottlings for $50, like the ‘Glen Elgin Vineyard‘ taken from parcels they believe best express that particular piece of land. However, they also make an unadvertized ‘Niagara’ label that sold exclusively to restaurants. Having sold to ‘licensees’ for a decade and a half, Adam designed this wine to offer restaurateurs an attractive value proposition, which he hopes will get his wine in front as many people as possible. We started by tasting the 2016 vintage of this ‘Niagara’ wine, which was alive with crisp but rich red fruit, cranberry and cherry, and woke up our palates right away. We followed with the 2016 Cloudlsey Cellars Twenty Mile Bench, which echoed its cousin but with more complexity and nuance. Then we tried the same labels from the cooler 2017 vintage as well as the Glen Elgin Vineyard and the Homestead Vineyard labels. The 2017 wines had just been put in bottle, so I’ll hold back on my notes, except to say the two single vineyards were absolutely distinct. Concept proven. We also tasted some of Cloudsley Cellars works in progress: 2018 wines from the barrel, including a “new” vineyard, Harsch. Finally, we tasted a surprise: Cloudlsey Cellars Twenty Mile Bench Chardonnay 2017. To find out more about that wine, you’ll have to stay tuned to GFR for Jamie’s report from next week’s I4C 2019, where Adam will be debuting it, as well as 2017 Chardonnay from the Foxcroft Vineyard.
Cloudsley Cellars is open to the public on weekends, though it’s a good idea to contact them ahead of a visit. Adam is set up for business and tastings, but that’s about it so far. So, after the tasting we headed over to the restaurant at Honsberger Estates for a pizza lunch. There they generously allowed us to film the interview below in their gardens.
Please note email versions of this post will not display the embedded video. Please click here to see it at GFR.