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.
Twenty Mile Bench is a sub-appellation of the larger Niagara Peninsula region, located near the town of Vineland. Limestone and sandy soils, warm summer days and cool evenings and stiff breezes coming off Lake Ontario ensure acid structure is retained, even in warmer vintages. This is cool-climate viticulture, with wonderful versions of Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay garnering international acclaim. Nestled on a peninsula on the north shore of Lake Ontario, a short drive from Kingston, the PEC 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.
Two PEC Estate plantings of Muscat Ottonel date from 2004 and 2007, respectively and total 850 vines (about 2/3 of an acre) while one acre of Nedelko Gewürz in Niagara dates to 1999.
Gewürztraminer’s homeland lies in the foothills of the Alps. It is a pink grape, like Pinot Gris/Grigio, that also grows really well in cooler climates. The variety is inherently bursting with bright aromatics of lychee and rose petals. While sometimes it can be perceived as a sweeter variety, its naturally heightened acidity and alcohol content can create seamlessly balanced and complex aromatic wines. Muscat Ottonel is easier to cultivate in cooler climates than the other Muscats (there are 200+ different varieties of muscat alone!). It ripens late and is sensitive to noble rot, which makes it a prime candidate for creating rich dessert wines. It often shows intense aromatics of flowers and orange peel.
The small, concentrated crop in 2022 was ideal for producing fruit with lots of sweetness and intensity. Both the Gewürztraminer and Muscat were harvested late to reach their peak ripeness and then co-fermented cold and slow in stainless steel vats.
Reminiscent of terrific off-dry aromatic German wines. Exotic tropical fruit, honey, lychee-ginger and baking spice aromas. On the palate, great lime-cordial acidity balances the sweetness. Enjoy young with a plate of prosciutto and melon, creamy blue cheese, peach cobbler or apple crisp. Only 1000L of this rare, small-lot bottling, with great mid-term aging, were rendered.