Posted by PBR of 13th Street Winery, another Certified Good Food Fighter

13th Street Winery

13th Street Winery Gamay Noir Sandstone Old Vines13th Street Winery Essence Pinot Noir

In advance of the 2012 edition of the Trade & Media tasting of Somewhereness wines this coming Tuesday, May 8th at MaRS DD on College Street, I wanted to re-post the excellent reviews of some of our 13th Street wines provided earlier this year by last year’s keynote speaker, Ian d’Agata, of Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar and Decanter Magazine in the UK. I have only posted those reviews that apply to wines that are still available for purchase. Contact the winery for more information. If you are in the trade and reading this, you must make plans to visit MaRS this coming Tuesday afternoon from 1 to 4pm to sample the 2012 stable of fantastic Somewhereness wines, along with artisan cheeses from some of Ontario’s top producers. RSVP to if you plan to attend.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc Essence Niagara Peninsula (SAQ only, $35)

92 POINTS Bright yellow. Intense aromas of passion fruit, guava and green fig give the sexy nose an almost overripe, late-harvest quality; in fact, the grapes were harvested on November 1. Enters the mouth big, suave and ripe, with full-bodied, rich flavors of green fig, yellow melon and flinty aromatic herbs. Extremely long and creamy-smooth on the finish, where the mouthwatering acidity really extends the flavors. I was extremely impressed by the purity and intensity of this sauvignon, which was made from purchased grapes that had been left behind (“grapes that nobody wanted,” according to Colas). It was aged in 40% new oak, the rest in stainless steel. Great stuff: this ranks up there with the best examples from the New World.

2009 Gamay Noir Niagara Peninsula (winery only, $17.95)

90 POINTS Bright red. Perfumed, fruity nose of sweet red cherry and strawberry. On the palate, the red cherry flavor is complemented by vanilla, ink and herbs. Finishes juicy and long, with hints of game and red cherry syrup. An outstanding gamay that you’ll want to drink by the bucketful. 

2009 Gamay Noir Old Vines Sandstone Vineyard Four Mile Creek (winery only, $27.95)

90 POINTS Bright dark red. Syrupy red cherry and red berry aromas are complicated by light herb and game notes. Rich, dense and juicy, with sound acidity lifting the big, rich red fruit flavors. Finishes bright and impressively long. Named for the large stones found throughout the topsoil, the Sandstone vineyard gives wines with a distinctive mineral character. The 2009 was the latest Sandstone harvest on record, with the gamay noir hand ‐ picked in early November and fermented in stainless steel. It was aged in second- and third-use French and American barrels for six months Superstar chef Heston Blumenthal used to serve this at his restaurant The Fat Duck outside London.
90 POINTS Bright red. Smoky red cherry, raspberry and mocha on the knockout perfumed nose. Sweet, fresh and juicy, with very pure and creamy red cherry and dark berry flavors. Finishes smooth, ripe and long. This is a rare Ontario pinot noir that seems to have more in common with the riper pinots of Oregon than with those of Niagara but it’s outstanding.

2009 Riesling Old Vines Funk Vineyard Creek Shores (winery only, $23.95)

89 POINTS Medium-deep yellow. Aromas of rosemary and oregano complement white peach and jasmine. Fresh and juicy on the palate, with lemon, peach and pepper flavors that carry through impressively on the pure, long aftertaste. The bright finish displays a complicating note of kerosene and minerals. This riesling was hand-picked from the 13th Street Vineyard (formerly known as G. H. Funk), which was first planted with riesling clone GM239 in 1976 and then in the ’80s with the Weis 21B Riesling clone. These are the oldest vines on the estate-hence the designation on the label. The vineyard soil is rich in fairly heavy clay, which allows for better results in hot and dry years thanks to good water retention.

2006 Grande Cuvee Blanc de Noirs Niagara Peninsula (winery only, $59.95)

88 POINTS (100% pinot noir; 12.5% alcohol): Bright yellow-gold with a fine, steady bead. Pungent aromas of ripe pear, orange pith and raspberry, with a mineral overtone contributing to an impression of power. Very dry, chewy and densely packed, offering flavors of bitter cherry skin and ripe apple complemented by custard cream. On the powerful side but very good clarity and tangy, mineral-driven cut keep it light on its feet. The long finish hints at candied citrus fruits, showing a complicating oxidative touch as well as a mounting bitterness. This excellent New World sparkler can compete with many Old World examples–indeed, it has been enthusiastically received by some famous sommeliers–but I’d like a bit more finesse and a little less bitterness. Needs to be served with food.