Sunday, November 24, 2013

2012 Villa Nova Estate Aenigma

I recently visited Villa Nova Estate Winery, located in Ontario's Norfolk County. I had read about their wines online and wanted to try them - especially the Aenigma, which is a blend of Regent, Frontenac, and Cab Sauvignon.

Previous to this, I don't ever recall seeing a wine for sale in Ontario made using the Regent variety. Regent was created in Germany in 1967 by crossing Diana (Silvaner x Müller Thurgau) and Chambourcin (see here for more information). This is a very welcome addition to the wine scene in Ontario.

The 2012 Aenigma is interesting not just for the blend of grapes it consists of, but also for the fact that it is finished with Ontario white oak - something that is still a rarity here. I heartily applaud this decision to use locally sourced oak, both for the unique flavour profile and for the regional authenticity.

Aenigma pours with a beautiful, dense garnet colour that turns to deep magenta at the rim of the glass. Obviously, Regent has inherited the amazing pigmentation of other V. riparia-based hybrids. Fruity, spicy oak hints mingle with pepper-infused black cherry notes to create a very elegant bouquet. Moderate acidity leads the way, with a beautifully dry mid-palate on which superb puckery tannins flesh out broadly. Subtle oak-spice replays fan out at this point and linger prominently into the dry, tasty finish. The wine is 14% alc./vol. but everything is so well balanced that the finish displays just a gentle warmth.

This is a most excellent wine - one that I will be proud to serve on my dinner table in the future. An excellent blend with character, quality and structure. Once again - if you need a vinifera equivalent to gauge the style, think of the Chianti Classico style.

I would also add that this wine has clearly convinced me that Regent deserves a prominent place in Ontario's winescape: it produces an excellent red wine.

$14.50 per 750 ml bottle. Available at the winery only.

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