Thursday, November 11, 2010

Niagara Peninsula Winery Visit: Megalomaniac (John Howard Cellars of Distinction)

 2010 Sep 04 122There certainly was no other winery like Megalomaniac on our recent visit to Ontario.

It starts with the attitude. John Howard is the owner of the winery and had originally planned to market the wines under his own name. One of his friends called him just another (expletive) megalomaniac and the name stuck. He says that the wine is designed “to be shared by friends of equivalent or even greater egos.” The wine, he says, pairs very well with delusional fantasies of wealth, power, and occasionally, omnipotence.

The roadside sign beckons you to a winding road that through sweeping vineyards on gently rolling hills. As we admired the sights we were startled by the occasional blast cannon that frightens away the birds – and perhaps US tourists.  The winery sits on a 96-acre site on what some say is the highest spot on the Niagara Escarpment, the rocky geologic feature that gives the region its wonderful terroir.2010 Sep 04 123

Our destination at the end of the road was not a magnificent mansion, but an entrance to an underground cellar.An expansive tasting bar gives visitors a total tasting experience in the midst of a production and barrel aging facility. You might call it “shabby chic” because although it is an underground cellar, there were chandeliers and other touches of opulence down below.

Quirky marketing and ‘tude aside, Megalomaniac makes some fine limited quantity, artisan wine. We began the tasting with the 2006 2010 Sep 04 126Narcissist Riesling. This is a bone dry Riesling that is very good with minerally notes.

We proceeded to taste the 2008 Frank Cabernet (Cabernet Franc). This was a winner with a healthy dose of spice and black cherry. The 2007 Bigmouth Merlot provided a pop of cherry and smooth finish. The Merlot was the most noteworthy and is aged for 22 months in French Oak.

If you are audacious enough, insist on having things your way and want wine that matches the sky-high ego of its owner, then be sure that Megalomaniac is on the list for your next visit to the Niagara Peninsula.niagara 035

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