Saturday, February 9, 2008

2007 Dry Niagara

I try to make a dry varietal Niagara wine whenever circumstances permit, and fortunately, I managed to locate a vineyard last autumn near Stoney Creek, Ontario (western Niagara Peninsula) where I could do the "U-pick" thing and hand-select the best bunches.

Manual de-stemming and selection were followed by a 24-hour pectic enzyme soak, then crush and fermentation with a small portion of reserved skins. Primary completed without problems and soon enough I knew I had a winner on my hands: the flavour and balance of the wine were excellent. Over the first couple of months in cold storage, though, a haze problem manifested itself - one that isinglass, gravity filtration, sparkolloid and plain old time simply failed to clear. Things were looking pretty dismal for what tasted like a promising wine but looked awful...

Finally, I found a packet of chitosan finings - a colloidal shellfish preparation - that had remained from previous years. In desparation, I added the chitosan to the wine and in a few days, I had a brilliantly clear, bright wine.

The must was chaptalized to give a dry-finished wine with just over 12% alc./vol. Rich pale-straw hue with a deep greenish hue in the glass. Swirling brings out gentle, though unmistakable fusel/home-heating-oil/heavy-petrol oily notes coupled with forward acacia flowers, raspy citrus rind (I am convinced that this is Beamsville/western-Niagara-Peninsula terroir speaking - this citrusy aroma is well represented in the area's Sauvignon Blancs and Rieslings) and just the faintest musky-lemon-candy aroma framing it all. Light and crisp on the entry, with much crispness but moderate acidity overall; dry and light. Raspy citrus-rind replays on the mid-palate with some alcoholic warmth and malic tartness toward the finish. Clean finish; plenty of floral acacia/jasmine flavour and just a bit of musk on the finish, which is quite long.

Overall, I am quite happy with this dry Niagara. I feel that it is the equal of my 2003 effort, which was superior to both my original (2001) and 2005 vintages.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post Paul (and for the link from growwine list). I'm going to try this process. I've got about 15# hanging on a neglected vine. Even the wasps won't touch them. But they look so nice in their clusters, it seems a shame to let them go to waste. May try to make a few bottles as sparkling too.

    Ron O