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.
The land where Rosehall Run chose to establish its roots was previously known by local farmers as “Hungry Point”, where conditions were dry, winds were harsh and shallow-rooted plants did not always thrive. It turns out vinifera grapes are right at home here! The vines dig deep into the earth, gathering enough water and nutrition from the mineral-rich clay to produce ripe, concentrated fruit.
Pinot Noir grapes are black-skinned and typically very difficult to cultivate. This variety is very well known internationally and is grown throughout the world in most winemaking regions. Its origins trace back to the Burgundy, France. Canada has had great success with the grape, producing renowned wines in Prince Edward County, among other regions.
“Cuvaison for the Cherrywood selection lasted 24 days before being pressed and settled into mostly second fill French barrels but also two stainless steel barrels, one fitted with Cherrywood heads and stave inserts as a control/test barrel. Along with this, we purchased extra stave inserts to infuse about 40% the wine in oak at a later date in order to control the extraction rate as we hadn’t worked with cherry wood before. While we found the wine took on the wood quickly, it took a bit of time to integrate and adds a touch more savoury grip than we encounter with our signature élevage program” – Dan Sullivan, Winemaker
Classic Dan Sullivan Pinot, plenty ripe in fruit up front, but with that distinctive sweet n’ sour tang, zesty acidity and soft tannic structure. Bright and crisp, with Bing cherry, tart raspberry and a hint of spice on the palate. The nose has some distinct toasty elements, the cherry and spice that the palate has. Ready to enjoy now, this will only gain more complexity with some mid-term aging.