2011 Inniskillin Pinot Gris “Reserve”, Niagara Peninsula VQA, Ontario, Canada ($19.95 at Winery and selected Wine Rack Stores)
Every so often Inniskillin Winemaker Bruce Nicholson makes a wine that really makes me sit up and take notice… this certainly being one of those wines. Apparently he’s rather proud of this bottling of Reserve level Pinot Gris and rightfully so, as it’s most probably one of the most luxuriously expressive examples of Canadian Pinot Gris that I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. Upon opening this with a group of six Chefs on a New Brunswick beach alongside some local lobsters, all of us were extremely impressed, to the point that one Chef in particular spoke of it being the best white wine he had ever had.
For me this one is all about the texture, which this wine has by the bucketload, and then some. With 30% of the Four Mile Creek sub appellation fruit being barrel fermented in new French oak barriques for three months, there is a richness, complexity, and weight here that one rarely finds in the more simple fruit-focused global examples. While I wouldn’t go as far as saying the wine was Alsatian in style, there is certainly an intensity and complexity here that immediately stands it head and shoulders above 90% of the Pinot Gris/Grigio on the shelves these days.
Carrying its 14% alcohol with style, alongside a balanced 7.8g of residual sugar, the wine tastes rich and extracted, but is by no means sweet. There are only 1,900 of these bottles available, so I’d recommend that you grab some and try it out. While it may not be for every palate, I feel that is a fascinating take on this grape, and something a little different especially when it comes to a wine to match with food. I’m pretty sure that it will find favour with those who like their wines, white and red, with a bit of meat on their bones.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he highly recommends this with lobster… so good.