30 Ontario VQA wines you need to try this summer

There’s never been a better time to explore the wonderful world of Ontario’s unique wines. May means #30DaysofVQA – and we’re taking the opportunity to build our ultimate summer drink list. From crisp whites to fruity, and everything in between, Ontario’s VQA wines are guaranteed to surprise and delight all season.

Legacy Pet-Nat Malbrusco 2020

Adamo Estate Winery, Mono, ON

adamoestate.com

Winemaker’s Notes: A fun and young Malbec that is balanced with a full mouthfeel, a backbone of acidity, a textured mid palate and a smooth, medium-long bubbly finish. Fresh and fruity with many dark berry notes.  Adamo Estate Winery is open for retail from 11:30am to 6:30pm every day.

The Big Reach 2020

Back 10 Cellars, Beamsville, ON
back10cellars.com

Winemaker’s Notes: Mouth watering , grapefruit and crisp apple and precise acidity. Serve chilled as an aperitif, or with shellfish, oysters on the half shell, bay scallops and fresh summer salads. Order under “shop” for curb side or delivery, retail open Friday – Sunday 11:30-5:00.

Big Head Red 2018

Big Head Wines, Niagara on the Lake, ON
bigheadwines.ca

Winemaker’s Notes: Described as “black and red berries in strawberry Jell-O, with cardamom, vanilla and hot cinnamon spill out of the glass”, we’re excited to make this our 2021 cottage fireside wine. Open 7 days a week, 11:00am to 5:00pm for pick-up and retail shopping.

One Horse Town Vidal Cans

Dark Horse Estate Winery, Huron County, ON
store.dhew.ca

Winemaker’s Notes: This floral and fruity wine displays fresh aromas and a balanced palate.  It is light, with a hint of sparkle; offering sweetness with balanced acidity. Plus, it comes in cans making it the perfect summer sipper for those looking to enjoy a waterside view.

Muscat 2020

Fielding Estate Winery, Beamsville, ON

fieldingwines.shop

Winemaker’s Notes: This Muscat is expressive and fragrant, filled with notes of peach, lemon, and white flower. It is fresh on the palate, light-bodied with cleansing acidity and a small amount of underlying sweetness for balance and richness “Summer in a glass”. Order online for delivery across Ontario.

Riddled 2017

Flat Rock Cellars, Beamsville, ON

shop.flatrockcellars.com

Winemaker’s Notes:  A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from specially-selected, hand-picked blocks of our Estate Vineyard. Classic traditional method aromas – like you’ve walked into your favourite bakery. Full-bodied and opulent, this can be an apéritif or hold its own alongside your dinner. Order online for delivery across Ontario.

North Beach Seahorse Rosé 2018 VQA

Harwood Estate Vineyards, Prince Edward County, ON

store.harwoodestatevineyards.com

Winemaker’s Notes:  A lively and refreshing blend of Riesling and Vidal. Our 2018 Seahorse is a well balanced, fruit driven rosé with a long fruit finish. Flavours of stone fruit and strawberry with enticing aromatics of peach and citrus. Pair this wine with BBQ, salads, spicy dishes and sunshine. Open for curbside pick-up and online sales.

Cabernet Franc Rosé 2020

Honsberger Estate Wines, St. Catharines’, ON

honsbergerestate.com

Winemaker’s Notes:  The nose of the 2020 Rosé shows a mix of melon (cantaloupe), cherry and strawberry. The palate is medium-bodied and follows through with cherry, cranberry, red berries and finishes clean and crisp. Open for limited retail shopping Wednesday – Sunday and online shopping.

L’Imparfait Négociant La Soupe Populaire

Hinterland Wine Company, Prince Edward County, ON

hinterlandwine.com

Winemaker’s Notes:  A macerated orange wine from the 2019 vintage, La Soupe Populaire is equal parts: Chardonnay Musqué, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer.The grapes are from the Tufford vineyard at the base of the Niagara Escarpment where a lot of the receding glaciers left big granite boulders, stones, and minerals in the vineyard. Online shopping available and shipping across Ontario.

Portage Pinot Noir 2017

Keint-He Winery and Vineyards, Prince Edward County, ON

keint-he.ca

Winemaker’s Notes: This wine is a blend of Pinot Noir fruit grown in Keint-he’s four estate vineyards. A bright garnet colour, with long dangling legs. Sour cherry and cran-rhubarb on the palate. Dry with healthy acidity.

Rosalie

Kew Vineyards, Beamsville, ON
kewvineyards.com

Winemaker’s Notes: This 2017 Rosalie is the third vintage of our well known “Rosalie” Rosé Sparkling Wine. On the nose, ripe strawberry and raspberry are complemented by a touch of rhubarb and red currant. On lees for a year and a half, bright acid on the palate helps express pleasant tart berry and cherry notes that remain on the crisp finish.

mabilis 2017

Lailey Winery, Niagara on the Lake, ON
laileywinery.com

Winemaker’s Notes: A blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Malbec. Primary aromatics of red cherry, ripe plum, black berry, and black currant with secondary aromatics in the form of vanilla, clove, sweet tobacco and cocoa. The palate plays second-fiddle to the nose, with flavours of red cherry, ripened strawberries, blueberries, red currant, and cranberry dominating. Shop online and ship provincewide.

Piquette

Leaning Post Wines, Stoney Creek, ON
leaningpostwines.com

Winemaker’s Notes: The grapes we used gave us a wonderful light-pink colour and a bright, fruity nose. The nose has vibrant cranberry, sour cherry, and raspberry, layered over funky, yeasty aromas. On the palate, cranberry meets watermelon and honeysuckle with an amazing bread-like middle and extremely refreshing, bright acid on the finish. It is pink, cloudy, super-refreshing and uber-delicious! Offering curbside pick-up, delivery or virtual tasting requests.

Tempest 2018

Maelstrom Winery, Huron County, ON
maelstromwinery.ca

Winemaker’s Notes: A blend of Baco Noir and Cabernet Franc. A lively medium bodied fruit forward wine. The wine starts with the earthy undertones of Baco Noir and like the confident tempest, finishes with notes of cherry, white pepper and spice more typical of Cabernet. A lovely patio wine but substantial enough to enjoy with steak and blue cheese. Shop online and get it delivered.

UNDERGROUND SERIES – PINOT GRIS

Niagara College Teaching Winery, Niagara on the Lake, ON
niagaracollegewine.ca

Winemaker’s Notes: This is not your typical Pinot Gris: it shows its genetic heritage with an almost Pinot Noir – like tannin structure and tawny-pink colour in the glass, with complex aromas of sour cherry, crab apple, strawberries, dried violets, button mushroom and herbs. The palate offers fine tannins, a silky, rounded mid-palate and a long dry finish. Free Ontario-wide shipping available and for a limited time, they’re offering 10% off your order.

Pinot Noir 2018

North 42 Degrees Estate Winery, Colchester, ON
North 42 Degrees Estate Winery

Winemaker’s Notes: Delicate and pretty, this Pinot Noir is currently in the garnet hue stage. Feminine in structure, the nose displays red cherry and currant followed with a whisper of eucalyptus. Dry on the palate, cherry notes are quickly followed with black currant. Structured with medium astringency and plush tannins, this is great with cheese, salmon or duck.

Savage Brut

Palatine Hills Estate Winery, Niagara, ON
Palatine Hills Estate Winery

Winemaker’s Notes: We crafted this classic, sparkling beast according to “methode traditionelle”—the best bunches of Chardonnay grapes pressed full cluster, by hand, then fermented with traditional “prise de Mousse” yeast before resting quietly for more than ten years in the cool shadows of our cellar. Shop online and ship across Ontario.

Private Reserve Rose

Peller Estates, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
peller.com

Winemaker’s Notes: Delicate copper pink colour with a pretty aroma of freshly picked peach, melon, red berry and Rainier cherry. A light, dry and refreshing Rosé. The palate is refreshed with flavours of wild field berries, red apple and pear. Lively notes of cranberry and red berries linger through on the finish. Open daily for curbside pick up and retail. Online shopping and shipping also available.

Pinot Grigio 2019

Peninsula Ridge Estates, Beamsville, ON
peninsularidge.com

Winemaker’s Notes: The nose exhibits lifted floral notes complimented with pear and citrus. The palate delivers flavours of ripe pear and mango with balanced acidity and a long finish. A perfect wine for everyday enjoyment. Home Delivery and Curbside Pick-Up available for all orders. Retail open until 5:00pm daily.

SMALL BATCH RIESLING 2019

Ravine Vineyard, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
ravinevineyard.com

Winemaker’s Notes: This “Small Batch Riesling” was made using grapes exclusively from one site, one grower, one pick date. Made in a balanced style, there is enough residual sugar here to compliment a great spine of persistent acidity that appeases your palate and ends in a quenching finish. Packed with lime, ruby red grapefruit, green apple, and a touch of honey, this elegant Riesling truly is a special white wine.

Gamay Noir Bistro

Redstone Winery, Niagara, ON
redstonewines.ca

Winemaker’s Notes: This Redstone version of Gamay is aged 6 months in French oak and has a lighter hue in the glass to go with vibrant aromas of cherries, plums, cranberries and subtle spice notes. It’s juicy and vibrant on the palate with black cherries, brambly raspberries, touch of cassis and spice with some earthy/savoury notes on the juicy finish. Gulping Gamay!

Pixie

Rosehall Run Vineyards, Prince Edward County, ON
rosehallrun.com

Winemaker’s Notes: A lovely sparkling blend of vidal and pinot noir from one of Prince Edward County’s original wineries. Pours a frothy, bright pink colour. Shows aromas and flavours of citrus, red berry, herbs, yeast and nuts with lively carbonation and rounded acidity all balanced towards dry, cleansing finish. A perfect anytime bubbly. Available for curbside pickup, delivery and through the LCBO.

Flora 2020

Rosewood Winery & Meadery, Niagara, ON
rosewoodwine.com

Winemaker’s Notes: Flora is back. Hot pink and ready to drink. Chill it down and it drinks like a pack of raspberry jolly ranchers. Fermented wild in stainless steel, aged 5 months on lees. Bottled without fining after filtering.

Playdate: Proprietary White

Small Talk Vineyards, Niagara, ON
smalltalkvineyards.com

Winemaker’s Notes: Unoaked, fresh, honey, crisp with stone fruit layers make this a real favourite. Available online for delivery across Ontario.

Pinot Gris 2020

The Organized Crime Winery, Niagara, ON
organizedcrimewinery.com

Winemaker’s Notes: You won’t find your usual basic green apple and pear notes in our 2020 Pinot Gris — and that’s a good thing. The near perfect vintage conditions and extremely low vineyard yields have elevated this wine into a realm of ripeness that our winemaker usually only dreams of. These factors, along with 28 hours of skin contact and minimal intervention in the winery, have resulted in a Pinot Gris bursting with mango, ripe peach and orange blossom notes that harmoniously match the fleshy, yet balanced palate.

Pét Nat 2020

The Roost Wine Company, Grey County, ON
roostwinery.ca

Winemaker’s Notes: Expect this year’s Pét Nat to be floral and fresh with a hint of biscuit from the lees. On the nose you’ll find muscat, lemon, grapefruit, orange, and hawthorn flowers. What makes this wine extra special is that it’s a near-perfect example of natural winemaking: using a wild ferment there are almost no sulphites or intervention in the cellar.

Skin-Fermented Gewürztraminer

Trail Estate Winery, Prince Edward County, ON
trailestate.com

Winemaker’s Notes: Bitter orange, clove and herbal notes reminiscent of Campari, the palate of this wine is absolutely on fire – full with layers of acidity and tannin. Tart, flavourful perfection. Magnums will be released at a future date, after further aging in bottle.

Bo•Teek Clone 458 Pinot Meunier 2019

Vineland Estates Winery, Niagara, ON
vineland.com

Winemaker’s Notes: An energetic, bright acidity is interlaced through- out and makes this Pinot Meunier the perfect wine for food pairing. It is delicious now as a “brawler”; how- ever, more time in the bottle will allow this wine to fully settle into its internal grace.

MUSCAT OSCEOLA 2020

Waupoos Winery, Prince Edward County, ON
waupooswinery.com

Winemaker’s Notes: The profile is dominated by notes of ripe golden pineapple, with notes of caramelized pineapple. The bouquet opens up with notes of stone fruit and orange blossom. The aromas carry to the palate, full of flavour and balanced – despite the sweet aromatic profile this wine is bone dry.

ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2017

Westcott Vineyards, Niagara, ON
westcottvineyards.com

Winemaker’s Notes: 2017 Estate Pinot Noir offers aromas of dark cherry, red currant and earth. A classic, light bodied, cool climate pinot noir with notes of tart red fruit and vanilla on the palate. This pinot also has pleasant tannins and a long finish.

Share your love of Ontario VQA all month long with #30daysofVQA

* Originally published here

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