by Zoltan Szabo
2009 Pinot Noir Reserve Particulaire ‘Les Grands’, Lighthall Vineyards, Prince Edward County
Deep ruby; aromas of red and black cherries, wet clay-mineral, beet root and smoke; medium weight with a great mouthfil and chalky tannins adding structure and age-worthiness; fermented in concrete vats from Beaune the size of 5.5 TO fruit capacity, this Pinot is made off 3,000 vines over 3 acres and mere 250 KG (!) of fruit per acre, crush was done by proprietor Glenn Symons and his children, hence the proprietary name; 100% new French oak aging for 8 months completed the treatment for this masculine Pinot; 20 cases available from the total of 50 cases produced initially; $50 per bottle retail price.
2009 Chardonnay Reserve, Lighthall Vineyards, Prince Edward County
The vineyards of Lighthall are located between Milford and Cherry Valley, close to Long Dog and Exultet estates; thin soils of extreme clay make grape growing and vineyard management fairly difficult; if not an endurance sport; this Chardonnay comes across as a really good 1er cru Chablis, with sour lemon, green apple, green tropical fruits, biscuit – hazelnut and flint – mineral aroma and flavor accents; wonderful texture and freshness give way to a long – lasting finish and make this a very characterful Chardonnay; made from less that 1 TO of grapes per acre and received 25% new French oak aging for a short period of 2 months; 180 cases are available for $25 retail.
Glenn Symons, Lighthall Vineyard’s proprietor explains, “The Chardonnay vines are now 10 years old, and the Pinot vines are 7 years old. The bug on the label is a Luna moth. It’s a reproduction of a picture I took of a moth that was on the front door of the house at the vineyard – we see them, although very rarely, at the vineyard. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the leading edge of the wings resembles a grapevine in the spring with buds starting to grow. I thought the symbolism, as well as the sheer beauty of the moth, would be the ideal representative for the vineyard”.
The winery owns about 15 acres of land and is producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir primarily; there will be a sparkling Vidal made via charmat method and traditional method bubbly as well in the very near future; the estate’s first Vidal Icewine is to be released soon; aside from County fruit, Glenn Symons purchases Gewurztraminer from Niagara, off Vineland’s Wismer vineyard and makes an elegant and restrained, just off dry and crisp 2010 Gewurztraminer. Lighthall’s 2009 Rose is also made from fruit sourced from Niagara, mostly Cabernet Franc, and is a lovely, clean, fresh and food – versatile wine; Glenn is a former pharmacist who sold his grapes to Huff Estates in the past before opening Lighthall last year and is aspiring to produce 2,000 cases of wine in total; keep your eyes on this establishment, the wines are already impressive.
“A little psychosis goes a LONG way!!!” as per Glenn’s Twitter handle @lighthallvyard and I can’t agree more…!
All scores are out of five apples.