Creekside Estate Winery

Header-image-StephenBy Robert K Stephen (CSW)

(TORONTO, ON) – I really must admit I am a bundle of nerves when trying blended reds from Ontario. I can usually count on Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir for the red blends, but add anything else and it’s a big risk.

Creekside ViognierWe have a Creekside blend; the 2012 Laura’s Red. It’s purple black in colour, suggesting some power. It’s got almost a Chilean nose of liquorice, mint, black cherry, smoked meat, and cedar. This is a nice nose.

Its richness does not carry through on the palate, but that’s not necessarily a killer as this is Ontario and we can hope for something unique.

On the palate, autumn leaves, brackish, black cherry, with a touch of bitterness. A nice little nagging drag of cranberry and raisin pie on the finish. Mid-weight wine with a short but lingering finish studded with tar and cranberry juice.

As a party wine this is a no-go, as it’s a bit quirky, but a food wine indeed.

Hate to say this, but as summer is approaching pull this out when the red meat or tofu grilled with chilli sauce is on the plate. That is where the wine belongs. (Creekside Estate Winery, 2012 Laura’s Estate Red, VQA Niagara Peninsula, $19.95 (for the 2011), 750 mL, 13.5%, Square Media Group Rating 90/100). The finish smooth’s out with some decanting and cools down. This just makes a 90 mostly because of its enchanting nose. The 2012 is yet to be described on the Creekside Estate Winery website, but the 2011 is at $19.95. Yet the bottle shown on the picture says 2010. Not that I am a stickler for details, but get your marketing up to speed please.

There is no doubt Pinot Noir from Burgundy is the Holy Grail of red wine. However, if you remember Monty Python’s Life of Brian with the criminals being crucified and one of them happily singing  Look on the Bright Side of Life, I hope you give the same respect to Viognier. A very difficult grape to get right but, when you do, in the Rhone it’ll cost you a bundle.

There is not much of this grape in Ontario. However Creekside takes a whirl at it with a 2013 Viognier; particularly brave as 2013 was a bad year for wine in Ontario as was 2014.

Lots of honeysuckle, honey, apricot, Greek marmalade, and orange blossoms on the brilliant nose.

Stern and firm on the palate with strong notes of apricot and peach. Gentle acidity and a tad of marmalade bitterness.

Short but assertive finish. A real winner and great to drink on its own, but with chicken on the grill with fresh Ontario asparagus, a knockout. (Creekside 2013 Viognier Reserve, VQA St. David’s Bench, 750 mL, 13.5%, $29.95, Square Media Group Rating 93/100). A lot of moola for a bottle of Ontario white, but well invested. Once again this is the 2012 price as the 2013 version not yet listed on their website.

After such a great Viognier can their 2013 Sauvignon Blanc pass the muster?

It has that feeble, light gold colour. Very well integrated notes of almond, peach, and lime on the nose. Hallmark acidity of Sauvignon Blanc for sure. Thick and obvious but never out of whack. More grapefruit than topicality on the nose.

This one leaves you short, rather like George’s dad’s technique of “stopping short” on Seinfeld. Not much of anything on the palate leaving one unsatisfied. (Creekside Estate Winery, 2013 Backyard Block Sauvignon Blanc, VQA Creek Shores, 750 mL, 12.5%, $17.95, Square Media Group Rating 82/100).

My goodness, if 2013 was a bad year in Ontario for grapes 2014 was even more vicious. I am not quite sure how Niagara fared but my dear Lake Erie North Shore was hammered like Hiroshima.

So I see a 2014 Rosé from Creekside in my glass and I really don’t have much hope. It’s one of those medium coloured ones.

Lots of strawberry Kool-Aid intermingled with cherry juice notes. It immediately strikes me as light and frivolous.

Really not much on the palate with some vague notes of dates and rose petals with more Kool-Aid notes. Confused wine.

It lacks acidity, balance and, most importantly, taste. A 2014 orphan. (Creekside Estate Winery 2014 Cabernet Rosé, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Creekside Estate Winery, 12.5%, 750 mL, $13.25 (for the 2013.), Square Media Group Rating 70/100).

Sometimes it’s just better not to bottle at all. A shame considering Ontario produces some of the best Rosés on the globe. Unfortunately, dear readers, this one is a dud. This is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Real risky in a bad year. Cabernet Sauvignon in Ontario needs the hots.

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."Email Robert Stephen
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