Monday, August 21, 2017

Viewpointe 2009 Colchester Cuvée, Canada

Colchester CuveeThis wine from Lake Erie North Shore is Canadian to its core, utilizing three grapes developed in Harrow, Ontario. For the end result, you’ll have to read on…

A Different Viewpointe

One of the advantages of our former stomping grounds in Northwest Ohio is that you can easily pop across the border and visit Ontario wineries. Within an hour, maybe 90 minutes, you can be rolling up to a winery in the Lake Erie North Shore region.

A favorite stop of ours is Viewpointe Estate Winery in Harrow, Ontario. Viewpointe, befitting its name, has a panoramic view of Lake Erie. The light-filled tasting room is designed with plentiful windows to enjoy the scenery. The outdoor space is special too. As you can imagine, this is a popular destination for tourists or for wedding parties.

All the above wouldn’t be worth a hoot if the wine didn’t measure up to the classy surroundings. We’re happy to say it does.

Sustainability In A Bottle

Viewpointe is a member of the Southwestern Ontario Viticulture Roundtable and is focused on sustainable winegrowing practices, including experimenting with varieties with smaller ecological footprints. That experimentation led to the development of new, truly local grapes. The grapes, dubbed HG for “Harrow Grown,” were developed over more than 10 years by Viewpointe owner John Fancsy and local viticulturalist Peter Pfeifer, who were looking to develop a grape that would reflect the terroir of their home region of Essex County. The HG-1, HG-3 and HG-4 grapes are used in the creation of Colchester Cuvée.

The HG grapes are more disease resistant than other varieties typically harvested in Canada, giving Viewpointe and the other wineries who use them a leg up in the often difficult Canadian growing conditions. HG grapes haven’t yet been recognized by the Ontario Vintners Quality Alliance, so this bottle doesn’t carry the VQA designation – which is usually the sign of high quality north of the border.

Our Viewpoint On Viewpointe

When we arrived in our new home in North Carolina, it was high time to uncork this bottle. I really had no idea on the aging potential for this wine, but suspected that the we would soon be pushing the envelope on the drinkability window. On the nose this wine is savory, with scents of leather and meat.

Upon sipping, my reaction was, “this is really different than what I was expecting.” I had thought this would be a Cab Franc driven Bordeaux-style blend. The savory notes continued to lead the way, with ripe cherry flavors also coming through the deep garnet colored vino.

I see that a vintage 2010 Colchester Cuvée vintage was produced, but Viewpointe’s website doesn’t show any Cuvée after that. Perhaps it was all sold out or produced in limited quantities due to a couple of harsh winters we experienced up north (remember the Polar Vortex!).

I paid $17 Canadian – a good value in whatever currency you may use. This is an enjoyable bottle and we commend Viewpointe and our friends in Lake Erie North Shore for experimenting with new grapes. We can’t wait to see what’s next out of the laboratory!

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