Saturday, July 4, 2020

2019 Henry of Pelham Old Vines Baco Noir (Ontario VQA)

Henry of Pelham has been called the "King of Baco", and rightly so: they planted their first Baco vines in 1984 and have been putting out quality iterations of this varietal wine for decades. Henry of Pelham isn't just another producer of Baco Noir in Ontario: they're really dedicated to this grape variety.

I enjoy the regular bottling, finding it to be well made, well balanced, and stylistically elegant. The Old Vines version is sold in a tall, heavier bottle, and is closed with a natural (albeit particle) cork enclosure. The regular bottling, by contrast, has been closed with a screw cap for the past few years—a sensible, functional choice.

The 2019 Old Vines Baco is 13.5% alc./vol. and sells for about $20 at the LCBO. It pours with a gorgeous, saturated, deep-beet-red/purple colour that turns into a neon magenta at the meniscus—a common feature of the V. riparia hybrid reds. The nose is very oaky right off the bat, showing plummy/blackcurrant fruit and juicy acidity that is eager to carry that same fruit along the palate. On the palate, it is invigoratingly tart, zingy, and refreshing—with good mid-palate heft coming from both the tart berries and the oak overlay. Excellent quality. Following this fruit-and-oak crescendo, the aft-palate character of the wine accentuates the oak, which leaves a pleasant spicy finish.

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