World Class Wines from Ontario

Ontario now produces world-class wines with prices to match. In tasting through 265 local wines recently, both as a judge and wine critic, six emerged that can go toe-to-toe with the best from around the globe.

The latest trend is capturing “somewhereness” in wines, our equivalent of the French word terroir. The producers are dedicated to showcasing wines that express the exact soil, microclimate and natural conditions that make a single vineyard unique. These are our ultimate wines of distinction.

Closson Chase 2009 Churchside Pinot Noir
As with many Prince Edward County reds, this is light in style, but very flavourful. Aromas of beetroot, black cherry, vanilla and exotic earthy spice. The flavours are inviting with lilacs, black cherry, cedar and vanilla in a mellow style marked by gentle smoky finesse. Tiny production from famed winemaker Deborah Paskus.
$49.95, at the winery or online.
Rating: 91

2027 Cellars 2011 Fox Croft Vineyard Riesling
Virtual winemaker Kevin Panagapka ““ although he doesn't yet own a winery of his own ““ is making stunning Rieslings. This single vineyard example is gorgeous, with aromas of jasmine, white peach and lemon drops. The flavours dish up lime candy, pine nuts, peach and candied ginger leading into an extremely long finish of candied citrus, lime blossoms and minerals.
$25, available at
Rating: 92+

Stratus 2008 White
This vintage dropped Riesling, opting for an exotic melange of 37 per cent Chardonnay, 28 per cent Semillon, 23 per cent Sauvignon Blanc and 6 per cent each of Gewí¼rztraminer and Viognier. Aromas of buttery creamed corn, coconut and golden apple are quite bewitching. The flavours unfold with big butterscotch, yellow apple and white peach, overall, simply delicious.
$44.20, Vintages (#660704) or winery.
Rating: 91+

Tawse Quarry Road Vineyard 2010 Chardonnay
Heady aromas of toasted hazelnuts and almonds, with lemon drop, fresh golden apple and minerals that captivate the senses. The flavours show refined lemon meringue, spiced apple and a gently buttery and silky citrus-rich texture. The prolonged finish unveils wet stones and lemon zest. Created from a vineyard rich in limestone on the
Vinemount Ridge.
$34.95, replaces the 2009 (#111989) at Vintages stores.
Rating: 93

Hidden Bench Terroir Caché 2008 Meritage
This Beamsville Bench winery has luxury wines above this level, but this 47 per cent Merlot, 22 per cent Cabernet Franc, 21 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 per cent Malbec Bordeaux style blend is available and luscious. Big black cherry, tar and blackberry aromas lead into mellow cherry, vanilla and cedar accented flavours with a hint of charcoal on the finish. A marvel with charred meat from the barbecue.
$35.20, Vintages and the winery.
Rating: 91

Flat Rock Cellars 2007 Sparkling Brut
The Flat Rock is a sleeper among Ontario's sparklers made using the real Champagne method. It shows yeasty, lemony lime and slivered roast almonds aromas, and a full-bodied, lemony hazelnut and biscuit-flavoured core that is absolutely seductive. The finish is rich and long with a hint of peach and a super fine bead of bubbles.
$35, winery only or online. Only 174 cases produced.
Rating: 91