Friday, July 20, 2007

2005 Chaddsford Niagara (Pennsylvania)

Niagara is one of my all-time favourite white grapes, and it's a grape that I have experience working with at home each year. Niagara makes a white wine that certainly looks like any other white table wine in the bottle or glass, but just give it a swirl and sniff – whoa! You will get some seriously hardcore flowers, fruit, petroleum and candied labrusca musk. This varietal Niagara from Chaddsford (which I might add makes a darn fine varietal Chambourcin that I've tried and enjoyed), brought to the 2006 NiagaraCool picnic by fellow wine enthusiast Paulo Faustini, is, bar none, the best commercially produced example of varietal Niagara that I have ever tried. The nose is so utterly pure and true to the grape that I kept sniffing the glass long after I emptied my pour. The aroma lingered beautifully – and it reminded me of what makes me such a hardcore proponent of this grape being recognized as one of the classic wine grapes of the region whose name it bears. Yes, I believe that the Niagara grape variety deserves to be thought of as one of our classic white grapes – the Niagara region's Viognier, if you will. Never mind that its historic use has been more for white grape juice and some jelly; this is a grape that, when treated with respect, rewards the winemaker with an absolutely stunning load of aromatic power that unfolds into a soulful symphony in the glass, pouring out its unabashedly American heritage and making itself noticed and appreciated. Had it been dry, I would have loved it even more – but even off-dry, this wine is still on the sane side of the sugar scale and really, really exemplary.

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