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style wines from Niagara, Canada Jamie Goodes wine blog

Time:2019-05-20 06:59wine - Red wine life health Click:

Wine Canada Niagara appassimento

style wines from Niagara, Canada Jamie Goodes wine blog

This tasting at the Terroir symposium in Toronto was led by Elsa Macdonald, and it focused on the topic of her MW dissertation: appassimento-style wines from Canada’s Niagara peninsula.

These are wines that have been made from grapes that have been dried pre-fermentation. The drying process, made famous in the Veneto region of Italy for its use in making Amarone and Ripasso, removes moisture from grapes, concentrating many of the flavours. There are also some physiological changes in the grapes which affect the flavour of the resulting wines. One of these is an increase in glycerol. It seems that while sugar and flavours are concentrated, acidity isn’t, and nor are green characters in the grapes.

style wines from Niagara, Canada Jamie Goodes wine blog

Drying grapes

style wines from Niagara, Canada Jamie Goodes wine blog

Of course, drying grapes isn’t without risk. Some botrytis development is actually desirable, but not too much. For this reason, the grapes need to be harvested carefully, and only bunches that are unblemished are suitable for the drying process. Apart from rot, the big threat is that volatile acidity can increase.

style wines from Niagara, Canada Jamie Goodes wine blog

The panel leading the tasting: L-R Graham Rennie (Rennie Estate), Andrzej Lipinski (Big Head), Angelo Pavan (Cave Spring), Barclay Robinson (Foreign Affair), Lydia Tomek (Burning Kiln), Magdalena Kaiser, Marco Piccoli (Arterra) and Elsa Macdonald

There has been a lot of interest in appassimento in Niagara. This is because it is a cool climate region with a short season, and so red wines here can often benefit from a little post-harvest extended ripening. Also, what was previously an affordable wine can suddenly become a more expensive one, which makes this a potentially lucrative opportunity for wineries.

These wines were all tasted blind, and notes and scores are as written blind, without further modification other than to add technical details. I was quite impressed: I wasn’t expecting to like these wines as much as I did. We began by looking at a solitary white wine, and then five partial appassimento wines, before tucking into to some full appassimento examples.

Burning Kiln Stick Shaker 2016 Niagara, Canada
This is 100% Savagnin (dried from 22.7-28.2 Brix), 16.2% alcohol. 31 g/l residual sugar. Rich and sweet with broad texture and grapey richness. It’s an unusual wine with some sweetness, but also some warmth from the alcohol. 87/100

Partial appassimento

Foreign Affair Winery Dream 2016 Niagara, Canada
Bordeaux style blend. 17% dried grapes (for 100 days in a barn). 14.2% alcohol. Rich and quite intense with good freshness. Has some grippy structure and some creamy, spicy complexity. Lovely depth with nice intensity, showing some vanilla on the finish from the oak. Pretty stylishly done. 92/100

Arterra Wines Epoca 2016 Niagara, Canada
100% Merlot, 20% dried (in crates in a controlled room, 6 weeks, 10 C). 14.5% alcohol, 11 g/l residual sugar. Concentrated and rich with nice freshness, as well as some oak character (vanilla and cedar). Nice weight and structure with some grippy tannins, and finishing with lots of cedar notes. 90/100

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