Dan Sullivan of Rosehall Run has succeeded at crafting elegant PEC wines for over 20 years, focusing on highlighting the specific terroir of the County and creating some of the best examples of cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the world. Dan received the “Best Red Wine in Ontario” medal at the 2020 Ontario Wine Awards for his signature JCR Pinot Noir 2018. Sitting on the “Hungry Point” isthmus, surrounded by Lake Ontario on 3 sides, the vines dig deeply into the rocky, calcareous limestone soil. The long sunny days and cool evenings of the region, along with the high acid levels and low pH of the estate soils, ensure Rosehall wines are never lacking in freshness and structure. It is this kind of nervy tension that allows for the production of sublime sparkling wines, both traditional method as well as tank-fermented sparklers, including the exceedingly popular “Pixie” brand. The key to Rosehall’s success is its attention to detail in the vineyard. Sullivan believes that he simply bottles what the vineyard gives him. Yields are infinitesimally small compared to other wine regions, made smaller still by careful selection. Grapes are harvested at full phenolic ripeness, made difficult by the sometimes slow ripening and by the inherent climactic dangers of long hang times.
Nestled on a peninsula on the north shore of Lake Ontario, a short drive from Kingston, the Prince Edward County wine region sits on a bed of porous limestone. This is crucial for creating the mineral, brightly acidic wines the region is known for. The vineyards benefit from breezes off of Lake Ontario, keeping the temperature down on hot summer days and cool at night. “The County” was first settled in the late 18th Century and, after years of farmland agriculture, began growing grapes in earnest by the early 2000s.
There are two plantings of Musqué at Rosehall Run: ‘Vina de Casa’ ca. 2004 on the most northeast extremity of the property and ‘Woody’s Walk’ ca. 2002 immediately south of the Casa-a section. In total, there are almost 2300 vines, about one acre in total.
Made with Chardonnay clone 809, which tends to show a more intense flavour profile. In France, it is often used for blending superior white burgundies, adding perfume and complexity, especially when unoaked.
Hand-harvested fruit from the closest vines to the winery. Gentle pressing of the grapes, followed by cold fermentation in stainless steel utilizing selected yeasts. The wine only spends a short period of time in vat (4.5 months to be precise) before bottling, in order to retain its youthful vigour.
Brilliant acidity is the calling card of Chardonnay Musqué and this is no exception. It has an expressive nose of melon, ripe peach, pear, acacia and orange blossom. But it is nervy and taut on the palate – much drier than the nose would belie – with notes of citrus and green apple. This refreshing, bracing white should be enjoyed chilled as an aperitif or with mussels or grilled shrimp.