Let the mass exodus begin.
Some Ontario wineries bottle wine that they purchased elsewhere. A lot of big selling, inexpensive stuff is off-shore in origin. It’s legal to do this as long as they add a little local.
The percentage used to be one-third but due to recent shortages in local wine, I believe a splash is now enough. The only way to spot these blends is by the absence of a VQA sticker. And tiny print somewhere on the label mentioning “imported and domestic wines.”
Premium local wineries are hugely opposed to these wines because they believe that anything sitting on the Ontario shelves, and coming from Ontario wineries, should be truly local. I agree that these blends should not appear on an Ontario shelf, and I’d like to see wineries use a different brand name to eliminate confusion. But I see nothing wrong with someone bringing in bulk wine and offering it on the market.
Off-shore blends are usually generic at best, but I just tasted one that brought me back for more. It’s a very good Pinot Noir, and that’s hard to find in the mid-teen price range. We’re also headed into the season when Pinot’s lighthearted feeling fits our casual events. The bright berry fruit flavours and fun feeling invite gulping, with or without food. Lightly chill and expect the first bottle to go fast.
Stoney Ridge is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. For a lineup of its special events, check www.stoneyridge.com.
Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter and Billy’s Best Wines For 2007, a guide to the best wines at the LCBO, available in bookstores or through www.billysbestbottles.com. Sign up for his free wine e-letter at www.billysbestbottles.com.
Niagara (mainly imported wine)
LCBO No.: 240903