Saturday, September 18, 2010

Niagara Peninsula Ontario Winery Visit: Angels Gate Winery

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Another in our series of reports on Niagara Peninsula wineries.

The Angels Gate Winery sits just below the forested Niagara Escarpment, the rocky ridge that gives this wine region its unique terroir. The winery opened in 2002 and its focal point is its Mission style winery building with its gabled tower. There was a sense of excitement walking up to the impressive structure and wondering what is inside.

The impression in the tasting room is first class all the way. The soaring ceiling and plentiful windows give an airy, comfortable ambiance. Although it was chilly and overcast during our visit, there is a patio that must be ideal for wine sipping on sunny days.

Despite its angelic name, it proclaims that it produces “devilishly good wine” and we were anxious to see if that was the case.

We started with the 2006 Vidal Blanc which was pleasant with a touch of sweetness. The Cabernet Merlot, which is aged for 12 months in Oak barrels, had blackberry flavor notes and I considered it punchy. The Cabernet Franc 2006 I rated as good. We also tried an earthy Gamay Noir – a distant cousin of Pinot Noir.

About halfway through the tasting, tasting team member Ace of Bass made the comment, “I need a compelling wine.” Although pleasant, none of the wines spiked into the remarkable range. Our server sensed this and offered up a nice 2008 Riesling and we wrapped up with the best wine of the visit, a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wines of Angels Gate are great values, with the VQA Gewürztraminer costing only $13.75 and the Cabernet Merlot going for $15.75 Canadian. We didn’t hear any harps playing, but if you want a memorable tasting experience you’ll find it at Angels Gate Winery.

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