Ontario Pinot Noirs
Updated: Oct 22, 2022
A word of warning: this will be a fully biased review of the evening at The Faculty Club in Toronto. I am a huge fan of cool climate Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. And Ontario is one such cool climate for showcasing the complexity and magic of Pinot Noir. I therefore loved these wines and this tasting.
Our Guest this evening was Tim Reed Manessy. Tim is a Professional Sommelier at The Living Vine, which imports Canada’s largest selection of organic, biodynamic and natural wine and spirits. He is also an instructor at George Brown in their Wine Specialist Certificate program. His introduction to the 'Heartbreak Grape' of Pinot and to the climate and soil of Ontario helped provide context and background for our tasting this evening.
He described how difficult this grape is to grow, to make, to age and to do well as a grower. He also described how difficult it is to get into wine through this grape as a consumer. How it's possible to pay too much for a bottle but with no consistency in quality or taste and how difficult it is to find good value when there is so much variety. But also how glorious and life-changing it can be to taste a fine Pinot Noir that has been grown and aged to perfection.
Our eight wines this evening were from two of the three appellations in Ontario: Prince Edward County and Niagara Peninsula (and three different sub-appellations of the Peninsula). We got to taste and compare across these different regions with their different soils and wine-maker styles. And all eight were awarded either Gold, Silver or Bronze in Wine Align's National Wine Awards of Canada 2021(!).
As Tim stated in his opening: the great thing about TVC and these wine tastings is to:
Learn what we like, and
Learn why we like what we like
I already know that I like cool climate Pinot Noirs, and particularly from Ontario, so I was there to learn why that is the case and whether I could in any way distinguish between the different regions and their styles. There were others at my table however that weren't sure they liked Ontario Pinot Noirs and so had different reasons for being there tonight.
I hope you enjoyed the evening and enjoyed exploring our very local wine region together wherever you are on that journey of learning what wines you like and why...
Here are the full scores from the evening. How did you compare to Tim's ratings or the wider group's? I got to confirm that I do indeed prefer Beamsville Bench's Pinot Noir, but also that I should explore more of what The County has to offer in this grape.
Please see the original tasting notes for these outstanding eight wines below: