2019 Georgian Hills Vineyards Marquette, Ontario VQA, Ontario, Canada (12.7% Alcohol, Residual Sugar 4 g/l) Winery website or cellar door $21.95 (750ml bottle)

Marquette may be a grape variety that you are less than familiar with, but this winter-hardy, pest/disease-resistant, approved-for-Ontario-VQA-wines-in-2019 inter-species hybrid is something I predict we’ll be seeing a great deal more of in the coming years; I feel that this is indeed a good thing, but it has taken me up until now, with this particular bottling from Georgian Hills Vineyards, to reach this conclusion.

What with the creeping dread of global heating, the emergence of more and more peripheral growing regions, and the newfound interest in much-maligned hybrids with the natural wine gang (counter culture, anyone?), perhaps Marquette’s time has finally come?

A much wiser man than I once said (and I paraphrase) that one of the biggest problems with making wines from hybrids is that one cannot treat the grapes (and resultant must) as if one is making a wine from Vitis Vinifera. To do so only exacerbates that dreaded “foxy” profile, making it the predominant aromatic in the glass. It takes a deft winemaking hand to reign in the wilder aspects of any hybrid, but if carefully handled, there is the potential for making some really good wine. 

With this 2019 release it appears that winemaker Kye Tynan has managed to tame the aforementioned beast within, crafting a truly enjoyable example of Marquette, showing the enormous potential for quality wines from this grape. I’ll be most curious to taste subsequent vintages, as I believe that he’s on a real winner with this approach.

Pouring a vibrant dark purple, the powerfully vinous bouquet brings fresh red/black/blue berry fruits lightly dusted with powdered black/white pepper, as well as some intriguing herbal and warm spice wood notes (50% of the wine sees some time in French oak).

On the palate the fruits become more compote than fresh, but really fill out the mid-palate. The wine’s assertive acidity and tannic structure are testament to Georgian Bay’s relatively cooler climes, giving this a little more presence in the mouth than one may expect with what is ostensibly a medium-bodied wine.

As with most of my red wines, I prefer this with a bit of a chill on it, particularly during the summer months.

3.5 apples out of 5

(Three and a half apples out of a possible five)


Edinburgh-born/Ontario-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, educator, and dad, Jamie Drummond is the Director/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he is most impressed with that.