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 between Lake Ontario in the North, Lake Erie to the South and the Niagara River to the East, the Niagara Peninsula is one of Canada’s top wine producing regions. The moderating effects of the bodies of water create a moderate temperature during the growing season, similar to France’s Bordeaux and Burgundy regions. With almost 15,000 acres under vine, Niagara produces a number of grape varieties, most famously, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Cabernet Franc.
Owner Bob Nedelko has made this vineyard on Twenty Mile Bench one of the most special in Niagara. Sustainably grown, old vines are rooted deep in the limestone bed – they have had to dig deep for the water table, which adds complexity to the wines from which they are crafted.
Made from two of the world’s most famous grapes, this classic pairing forms the foundation of the “Bordeaux Blend”. Cabernet Merlot wines can run the gamut in terms of style depending on where they are grown and the wine maker’s preference. Generally, they are strong, complex wines with solid fruit expression and good acidity.
Harvested at optimal ripeness, the grapes are destemmed, then gently pressed individually. After a slow ferment on the skins, the Cabernet and Merlot are blended and barreled in a combination of French and American oak. 20% of the oak is new French.
This is more Bordeaux than California. There is fruit and weight – it isn’t overly lean or green – but there is finesse and structure underlying the power. Notes of jammy black fruits on the nose mingled with sandalwood and earth. The black fruits continue on the palate, along with some ripe strawberry, baking spice and toast. The acidity is present but not overwhelming and the tannins, while ample, are soft enough to sip on its own, or enjoy with roast beef au jus.