A tantalizing bouquet of tarte tatin, honey-tinged apricot and mineral notes wafts easily from the glass. A generous mousse—aka bubbles when poured—precedes seemingly endless streams of fine-bead bubbles winding their way to the surface—a beautiful sight. It’s medium bodied and creamy-smooth textured with a lively, refreshing attack on the palate with flavours of custard apple, blood orange and lemon-lime adorned with piquant minerality persisting through the clean, mouth-watering finish and aftertaste.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are commonly blended together to produce sparkling wines around the world. The best cuvées are typically made in the traditional méthode champenoise. Wines made in this style can be crisp and fresh-tasting in some examples, steely and mineral-driven in others, or have characteristics of bread, toast and butter. Some of the best wines will have elements of each of these and be rich, integrated and ageworthy. Grapes used in sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir wines are picked earlier than those used in still wines to maximise acidity. The style is therefore suited to cool-climate viticulture.
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.
Dan Sullivan and his family selected the location of Rosehall Run winery in the early 2000s because of its proximity to Lake Ontario and the remarkable Hillier clay soil, which is scattered with numerous rock and shale fragments on a limestone base. This soil is similar in composition to the soils of the Champagne region in France, so it is no wonder that the vineyards yield grapes that make beautiful cool climate wines. As luck would have it, Rosehall Run has taken full advantage of the similarities of its terroir to Champagne
Dan Sullivan loves his ’60s and ‘ 70s rock and prog-rock, British invasion music, and sprinkles references subtly throughout his portfolio. Stardust is the theme in David Bowie’s album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. This is Rosehall’s top traditionally-made sparkling wine made from 55% Pinot Noir and the rest Chardonnay, all estate fruit and left to age on its lees for an incredible six years before disgorging.