Red Wine from Ottawa-Gatineau: Embracing the Uniqueness

By Melanie Lloyd 

Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to sample wine from the Ottawa-Gatineau area through a couple of tastings and a wine expo.

This  blog will focus on red wine and is simply a starting point to the many wines from the area. A special shout out goes to Donna Henhoeffer who hosted the tasting that included the bottles reviewed here. There are more wineries from the area that I look forward to writing about in the future.

Cold Climate wine tends to be tarter than cool climate wine and is quite distinct on the nose and on the palate. This uniqueness is due in part to the climate and terroir found in colder regions.

It is also due to the use, in many cases, of hybrid grape varieties that are more resistant to the cold. All of the following wine contains hybrid grapes with the exception of the Pinot Noir.

Although cold climate wine is distinct, there are similarities when it comes to the aromas we typically associate with both warm and cool climate wine. Here are my observations to share:

SCHEUERMANN VINEYARD + WINERY UNFILTERED PINOT NOIR 2016

A bright pale ruby coloured Pinot Noir that is earthy with aromas of sweet tobacco, musk, and tart red berries.

On the palate, it has sour field cherry flavours. It has invigorating acidity levels and silky tannins. The flavours linger on the palate.

Wine-Food Pairing: This wine would pair well with salmon or with a cheese platter that includes Wensleydale Cranberry Cheese served with cranberry hazelnut crackers.

DOMAINE DE PONTIAC VILLAGE FIRST HARVEST RED WINE

This Red is a blend made from Frontenac Noir, Sainte-Croix, and Sabrevois, all hybrid grape varieties. On the nose, there are aromas of jalapeño and red bell pepper, earthy beets, and hints of mint.

On the palate, there are flavours of sour cherries, red field berries, and a kick of black pepper. It has subtle metallic undertones, silky tannins, and tart acidity. Overall, an enjoyable wine!

Wine-Food Pairing: A barbecued steak would pair well with this wine.

FRONTENAC NOIR DOMAINE DE LA MÉTÉORE 2014

This tart bio wine is made from Frontenac Noir, a hybrid grape that can stand the cooler climate of Western Quebec.

On the nose, there are aromas of bell pepper, strawberry, cherry, wet cedar, and hints of vanilla, sweet spice, and cocoa.

On the palate, there are flavours of sour ground cherries and a touch of bell pepper. It is light bodied with silky tannins, invigorating acidity, and a slight bitter finish. The flavours linger. I love the tartness of this wine!

Wine-Food Pairing: Pair with a charcuterie plate that includes salty dried sausage.

JABULANI MARQUETTE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014

This wine is made with Marquette, a hybrid grape, and with Cabernet Sauvignon. Visually, it is purple with a light blue rim.

On the nose, there are aromas of Christmas cake, dried prunes, blackstrap molasses, and hints of black licorice.

On the palate, it is very tart with flavours of dark berries, butterscotch, vanilla, and subtle notes of black licorice. The tannins are structured but well balanced by the acidity of the wine.

Wine-Food Pairing: This wine would pair well with braised beef.

SM’OAKED COLLECTION SMOKIE RIDGE VINEYARD SABREVOIS 2010

Made from Sabrevois hybrid grapes, this garnet coloured Red is meaty and fairly complex on the nose with aromas of ripe raspberry, leather, black licorice, sweet spice, truffle, and hints of vanilla and smoke.

On the palate, the tannins are well integrated with the fresh acidity and it has flavours of blackcurrant and sour cherries.

Wine-Food Pairing: A barbecued steak would pair well with this wine.

SUROÎT DOMAINE MONT-VÉZEAU FORTIFIED RED WINE 2012

This fortified Red has dried prune and date aromas as well as sweet tobacco, butterscotch, and licorice.

It is sweet on the palate with flavours of dried dates, black licorice, molasses, black pepper, and a touch of butterscotch and oak. Overall, a nice product!

Wine-Food Pairing: This wine would pair wonderfully with dark chocolate.

I look forward to writing more on the subject in the future. I will include other wineries from the area, as I am impressed by some that are not listed here. 

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