Thursday, the 8th of April, I had the pleasure of tasting Canadian wines at the Canadian Embassy in Lima. Accompanying me were my sommelier friends Giovanni Bisso, wine consultant for Supermercados Peruanos, and Israel Iñigo, now working on a personal project before returning as sommelier to Restaurante Central. The event began with an introduction by the Canadian ambassador, Richard Lecoq, who confessed we were going to taste four wines from Niagara Peninsula although his favorite Canadian wines were those of British Columbia. He went on to say that the country produces small quantities of wines, and that the idea of the tasting was to show the quality of Canadian wines and not necessarily promote their sale. After his comments two gentlemen guided the tasting: Tom Findley, president of The American & Canadian Association of Peru, and Nicolas Drouin, president of The Canada Club.
Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery Viognier 2007 – VQA Niagara Peninsula – 13.0% alcohol – Type of closure: natural corkPale yellow in color with flashes of green. Very clean in the nose with notes of white peach, kaffir lime leaf, orange blossom and a mineral note of chalk. On the palate the wine is medium weight and has a touch of residual sugar balanced by a refreshing level of acidity. There are notes of peach, lemon and orange blossom, and the wine has a medium finish. The note of refreshing acidity was a pleasant surprise as Viognier has a tendency towards low acid levels.
Pelee Island Winery “Barrique” Chardonnay 2005 – VQA Pelee Island – 12.5% alcohol - Type of closure: natural corkPale yellow in color, somewhat unexpected from an oak-aged Chardonnay of nearly five years. Clean on the nose with notes of baked pear and citrus notes accented with cinnamon and clove, a touch of vanilla and minerality. Dry on the palate and of medium weight, with notes of apple pie, pear preserves, spices and a touch of butter. Good acidity. Personally I do not like wines with such a strong aroma and flavor of oak, and I believe the wine was overwhelmed by the sensation of oak.
Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir 2007 – VQA Twenty Mile Bench – 12.5% alcohol - Type of closure: StelvinDark purple-ruby in color. Clean and medium intensity on the nose, with notes of fresh fruits like black cherry, blackberry, black raspberry and Red Delicious apple with hints of cherry lozenge, dried herbs, clove, and crushed stones. On the palate the wine is dry and of medium body. The tannins are a bit immature but don’t bother me. The acidity if refreshing and calls for food. The finish medium to long. Fortunately, we began with the next wine before I had finished this one. After thirty minutes in the glass the wine had begun to show more complexity, and thirty minutes more the wine was much more complex and had developed a very pleasant note of rose petal. At the end this was my preferred wine of the event.
Château des Charmes “Droit” Gamay Noir 2007 – St. Davids Bench Vineyard – VQA St. Davids Bench – 13.0% alcohol - Type of closure: natural corkDeep and dark ruby-red in color. Medium intensity in the nose with red fruits like cherry, plum and apple with a note of green peppercorn. This wine has a strong note or iron, and fans of minerality will love this wine. On the palate the wine is of medium body and dry, with notes of red fruits although I felt a touch of blueberry. It has pleasant levels of tannins, alcohol and acidity. It’s interesting to find the Gamay grape outside of France, and this was a particularly interesting wine.
Vintners Quality Alliance Ontario (VQA) is a regulatory agency of the Canadian province of Ontario responsible for maintaining the integrity of the denominations of local wines and compliance of their vinification and labeling.
The International Sommeliers (left to right): Gregg Smith (USA), Giovanni Bisso (Peru), Israel Iñigo (Mexico)
Thomas Findley discussing the Peninsula Ridge Viognier