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.
Sourced from select old vines in the West and North Block. Limestone-based soils and the proximity of Lake Ontario on three sides allow for slow, steady ripening of Pinot Noir to achieve full phenolic ripeness in the skins while maintaining balance. There is a prominent acid core to the wines from these vineyards, which allows Dan Sullivan and his team to ripen the grapes to their fullest potential without sacrificing elegance.
Pinot Noir grapes are black-skinned and typically very difficult to cultivate. It is well known internationally and is grown in most winemaking regions around the world. Its origins trace back to the Burgundy region in France. Canada has had great success with this grape variety, producing renowned wines in Prince Edward County, among other regions.
The 2020 vintage in Prince Edward County produced some stunning wines, but with greatly reduced yields. The fruit was sorted and de-stemmed before fermentation in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation was carried out in a combination of French oak, 35%-40% of it new. The wine spent 15 months in oak, softening the edges, before being transferred to bottle.
A bigger, more structured version of Rosehall’s signature Pinot. Ripe cherry and raspberry, with hints of cedar and underbrush on the nose. The palate has some fine-grained tannins and the telltale mouthwatering acidity that lets you know this is County wine. On the palate you’ll find red fruit flavours and earthy, tertiary notes, along with some vanilla and toast. Chill lightly, decant and enjoy with grilled salmon or duck confit.