By Zoltan Szabo

Bruce Nicholson at Inniskillin, Niagara

Inniskillin Winemaker Bruce Nicholson inspects frozen grapes about to be crushed for icewine, December 14, 2010. Photo: Stacey Mullholand.

2009 Khareba Krakhuna Georgia
This white is made from the Krakhuna grape that I have never even heard of before. The grapes come from the Kvirila River Valley located in the West of Georgia. An interesting find, clean white with green apple aromas and flavours, light with medium intensity acids, for drinking now. I don’t think there’s any oak here, if there is, must be large, old – neutral barrels. More fun to have it with food. Reminds me of Gavi. I had it with pork schnitzel and cold potato salad and worked very well. The winery also produces a good red made from Saperavi grapes. Those restaurateurs and Sommeliers in search of interesting, new wines should contact She also carries other neat wines from other wineries in Georgia, like the one from a winery called Shumi, 2007 Saperavi, a red delivering a big surprise, like Bing cherries, fresh, soft – chalky tannins, reminding me, strangely enough, of a great Barbera from Alba.

2005 Viewpointe Cabernet Merlot Lake Erie North Shore VQA
Great value local red. It has a bit of age too and it is drinking so very well. Black berry fruit aside, it shows some herbs – leather notes, acids are fresh and tannins are soft. Perfect on its own or with tomato – based pasta dishes or veal scallopini with mushrooms.

2007 Inniskillin Chardonnay Icewine ‘Aged in Canadian Oak’ Niagara Peninsula VQA
Rich, intense yet fresh, 9% alc., simply extraordinary, breathtaking with bacon donuts picked up from The Stockyards on St. Clair West. Comes in 200 ml bottle.

2008 Angel’s Gate Sauvignon Blanc ‘Archangel’ Methode Traditional Beamsville Bench VQA
An excellent, food – versatile sparkler, showcasing nuances of citrus and savoury fruit compote, fresh cut grass and minerals. Pretty intense over the palate with a lively and zesty mousse and long, persistent finish. Try it with citrus glazed pork belly, that’s what I did, just perfect. I also much enjoy this winery’s wonderful 2008 Gamay Noir; Volnay – like 2007 Pinot Noir and 2009 KEW vineyard Riesling.

2007 Peller Estates Merlot ‘Andrew Peller Signature Series’ Niagara-on-the-Lake VQA
This is a fantastic Merlot, just like a very good and modern Bordeaux from St. Emilion. Fleshy red and black cherries, almost kirsch, plums, herbal and sweet – savoury oak aroma and flavor accents here. Medium to full weight with fresh – juicy acidity and a supple tannic structure. I decanted it couple of hours before trying it with Restaurant Didier’s roasted venison and oh my…, was I happy…?! Throughout the holiday season I also sampled the excellent and with a marvellous mouthfeel – texture ‘Andrew Peller Signature Series’ 2008 Chardonnay Sur Lie and the NV Ice Cuvee, a local classic, where the dosage is Icewine.

2009 Rosewood Mead Blanc Niagara Peninsula
Mead was consumed by the Vikings already and it was also fashionable throughout medieval times, hence the remarks about it in the legend of Robin Hood. This has a bit of Gewurztraminer blended in it. Aromas and flavours of honey and honeyed stone fruit, exotic – tropical fruits with underlaying savoury – menthol – medicinal accents. Can go on its own or lighter, soft cheeses, but I tried it with Hungarian palacsinta filled with walnut paste and it was delicious.

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