By Jamie Drummond

2007 Stratus Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula VQA Ontario Canada ($38)
Here Stratus Winemaker J. L. Groux again shows us that he’s a deft hand at making exemplary cool-climate whites in warmer vintages. Despite the wine’s extended slumber (630 days) in 100% brand spanking new French oak, this bottling shows very prettily on the nose, with figs, honeydew melon, and lemon coming to the olfactory foreground. It is testament to the sheer quality of the Chardonnay fruit that in can confidently support such a barrel regime without being in any way overwhelmed. That aforementioned citric thread follows through on the palate, giving the wine the acidic poise and elegance that it requires to balance on that tricky vinous tightrope that comes part and parcel with fruit this wonderfully ripe and luscious. A most pleasurable and sustained finish rounds out what is a mighty fine mouthful of wine.

Jamie and Stratus Winemaker J.L. Groux

2007 Stratus Merlot Niagara Peninsula VQA Ontario Canada ($42)
A serious wine from a winery who are proving themselves to be among the very best, year after year. The 2007 vintage was indeed kind to many a grapegrower/producer, but with this particular bottling (Only the winery’s 3rd single varietal Merlot) Stratus have truly excelled themselves. An impressive aromatic display of dark, dense, ripe cherry fruit is augmented by anise, allspice, cardamom, and just a tiny pinch of vanilla. In the mouth the wine is confident and proudly structured with some great acid/fruit tension going on in there. With a decant this wine will truly shine in the glass, give it a few more years in the bottle and you’ll be wishing that you had purchased a hell of a lot more.

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… and he really should have written these reviews last week but his back was out. Sorry.