Michael Pinkus | Grapevine Magazine

Michael Pinkus

Hubbs Creek 2010 Pinot Noir Unfiltered VQAHubbs Creek 2010 Pinot Noir “Unfiltered” VQA, Prince Edward County ($28.95)

I always think a Burgundian winemaker rolls over in his grave every time somebody puts Pinot Noir into American oak. Granted, this wine also saw French and Hungarian, but American? Sacre bleu. But here it works. Nose is delightfully red berry, think strawberry and cherry, which follows onto the palate with cran-cherry, good minerality and the right amount of spice, tannins and acidity on the long finish. Drink now through 2017. Rating: 89 Points (Michael Pinkus)

2012 Leaning Post Chardonnay VQA2012 Leaning Post Chardonnay VQA, Niagara Peninsula ($35)

This wine spent 13 months in barrel and on lees with no stirring—this has given the wine a certain ‘je-ne-said-quoi’ aspect. The nose is buttery with cinnamon, vanilla and pineapple puree notes; palate is buttery with vanilla creaminess, which is delicate and delicious. Touches of spice keep it honest along with an element of apple sauce. Then, of course, there’s the finish that is a beautiful long linger. Drink now thru 2020. Rating: 93 Points (Michael Pinkus)

2011 Rosehall Run JCR Chardonnay VQA2011 Rosehall Run JCR Chardonnay VQA, Prince Edward County ($29.95)

It’s been a while since I’ve fallen for a Rosehall Chardonnay, but with each subsequent sip of this one, I fell a little harder. There’s a lot going for this wine, it’s like sensory over-load: honey aromas followed by floral, dried apple and apricot, fig, vanilla oak and butterscotch. I thought there was no way all this could translate to the mouth, but I was wrong. Silky smooth on the palate, the floral, apricot and honey follow onto the tongue and so does the butterscotch and dried apple. And, there’s also some mineral notes that show up. One of the best Rosehall Run Chardonnays I have had in quite some time. Drink now for the flavours or hold 5+ years for the intensity and intricacies to come. Rating: 92 Points (Michael Pinkus)

2009 36-30 Wines Bubble VQA2009 36-30 Wines Bubble VQA, Prince Edward County ($35)

A very pretty pink bubbly made from 100% Pinot Noir. It is salmon in colour with a lovely apple skin mixed with lemon rind and pith with good acidity on the finish. This is another in an ever-lengthening line of sparkling wines from Prince Edward County, proving that they make delicious bubbly in that part of the province. Rating: 86 Points (Michael Pinkus)

Lailey Vineyard 2012 Syrah VQALailey Vineyard 2012 Syrah, VQA, Niagara River, ($27)

Winemaker Derek Barnett of Lailey has been making some of the best Syrahs in the province (not Shiraz, but Syrah), but this 2012 might be his best to date. Nose is meaty and smoky with blueberry and black raspberry fruit mixed in with white pepper. Palate brings the promise of the nose to fruition in all its smoky-meaty glory adding black pepper, black raspberry, blackberry and cassis for fruit and that sticks around all the way to the finish. There’s also spice and cocoa in there just to make it even better. Great acidity that keeps everything in check. Drink now thru 2020. Rating: 93 (Michael Pinkus)

The Grange of Prince Edward County 2009 Gamay VQAThe Grange of Prince Edward County 2009 Gamay, VQA, Prince Edward County, ($14.95)

Five years might seem a little old for a Gamay, but this one holds its age quite well, especially after it has sat in neutral oak barrels of two years or so. The nose comes off a little funky, but that is more than made up for on the palate with its lively cherry fruit, good mineral and balancing acidity. Drink now thru 2016. Rating: 88 (Michael Pinkus)

Exultet Estates 2013 Cru X Chardonnay VQAExultet Estates 2013 Cru X Chardonnay, VQA, Prince Edward County, ($38)

From the producer that has won best oaked Chardonnay over $20 four years in a row at the Ontario Wine Awards comes this second tier wine that gives you a hint of what is to come in the next batch of “The Blessed. Here, the nose is fresh and lively with apple, vanilla and peach aromas; the palate seems to shuck the oak and replaces it with mineral, then adds lime and apple to the mix. There’s really nice balancing acidity here and the wine is delicate and flavourful. Drink now thru 2018. Rating: 89 (Michael Pinkus)

Exultet Estates 2011 Cru X Pinot Noir VQAExultet Estates 2011 Cru X Pinot Noir, VQA, Prince Edward County, ($29.95)

For those who like their Pinots to be lean, mean, acid-mineral machines this one has you covered. The nose gives off earthy, strawberry aromas with cranberry whizzing to and fro; the palate is fairly easy drinking, but always with that acidity as backbone wrapped in earthy, sour black cherry, nice cranberry and a lingering pleasant finish that brings you back to those first smells of strawberry and fresh earth. Drink now thru 2018. Rating: 88 (Michael Pinkus)

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