...First and foremost I'd like to thank those who made the fair this year possible: My staff.
Yes, of course the wineries are cheesemakers are why we do the fair, and choosing local artisan products is what we attend for, but without my staff the day cannot happen. They struggled for weeks in advance getting set-up, put in MANY extra hours and took-on duties, AND put-up with me :)
I then wish to extend thanks and admiration for the wineries and cheese-makers whose products were enjoyed. The response by guests in this 3rd year was incredible as we sold-out the fair weeks in advance!
I now label the local wine-makers and those passionate about Ontario making high-quality wine "Wine Warriors", for it is a daily fight to change perception about local winecrafting being capable of creating world-class wines!
I have gone over my notes on all 74 wines poured and my personal impressions/highlights are before the results of the People's Choice Awards!
My opinions are based upon my personal tastes and preferences to wine styles.
Highlights for myself during the tasting (in no particular order and having no bearing on price) included the overall quality of chardonnays and rieslings poured!
These two varietals are really coming into their own here by Ontario producers and they are being embraced and stylistically made unique; Megalomaniac's 'Homegrown' certainly shows a style and methodology difference with the blending of riesling WITH a splash of rielsing icewine!
Chardonnays that scored top marks in my notes included Southbrooks' vertical series, Lailey Vineyard and Norman Hardie. Rieslings ranged from dry to VERY sweet and most of those had enough acid to keep them from being 'flabby'. Megalomaniac, Kacaba and Chateau des Charmes all appealed to my sweet tooth!
Reds that stood out most for me were the Cab Francs of Lailey and The Grange, but the blended reds ranged from whimsical to serious. Recommended buys from me include the winners below, PLUS Nyarai Cellars 2007 Cab/Merlot ($18.20) and Pelee Island 2007 Cabernet/Petit Verdot ($19.95).
Winners of the 2010 Ontario Wine Fair People's Choice Awards:
Fav Dry Riesling: Lailey Vineyards 2008 Riesling ($18)
Fav Non-Dry Riesling: Kacaba 2009 Riesling Reserve ($17.95) *NOTE that this was BY FAR the most popular category, with a fierce fight between Kacaba, Megalomaniac & Chateau des Charmes - it was close!
Fav Dry White: Legends Estates 2007 Semillon ($16.95)
Fav Non-Dry White: Cattail Creek 2009 Chardonnay Musque ($17)
Fav Single Variety White: Sue-Ann Staff 2008 Pinot Grigio ($18)
Fav White Blend: Nyarai Cellars 'Trois' 2009 ($19.50)
Fav Chardonnay UNDER $20: Trumpour's Mill (The Grange) Unoaked Chardonnay 2008 ($14.95)
Fav Chardonnay OVER $20: Another close category with lots of votes, but the winner by a nose is Norman Hardie's 2008 Unfiltered Chardonnay ($35)
Fav Rosé: Cattail Creek's 'Serendipity' Rose 2009 ($14)
Fav Pinot Noir UNDER $20: Rosewood Estates 2008 Pinot Noir ($20)
Fav Pinot Noir OVER $20: Rosehall Run - Rosehall Vineyard 2007 ($27.95)
Fav Merlot: Angels Gate KEW Vineyard 2008 Merlot ($15.75)
Fav Cab Franc UNDER $20: Black Prince 2008 Cabernet Franc ($15.95)
Fav Cab Franc OVER $20: The Grange of Prince Edward 2007 Cabernet Franc ($34.80)
Fav Cab Sauv UNDER $20: No votes
Fav Cab Sauv OVER $20: Megalomaniac 2006 'Bravado' ($24.95)
Fav Single Variety Red: Legends Estates 2007 Malbec Reserve ($18.95)
Fav Red Blend: Fielding Estates 2008 'Red Conception' ($18.95) AND Southbrook's 2001 Cabernet/Merlot (This will be going straight to my cellar program!)
Fav Winery *NOTE: it is clear from looking-over ballots that people can choose a different winery than those whose wines they voted on. As such next year we will have a category for "Fav Winery" AND "Fav Winery REPRESENTATIVE"
Fav Winery was Lailey Vineyards.
Congratulations to our winners: These wines as chosen by the attendees will be purchased by cafe Taste for our by-the-glass & cellar program.
See you on the patio to drink through our winners' circle!
Jeremy Day - Wine Geek