Will Canadian Wines Benefit from a Tariff War: Part 4


Robert K. Stephen (CSW)

President Trump is full of smoke and mirrors. Monstrous butcher and assassin Putin a friend? NAFTA on. NAFTA off. Bilateral talks with the Mexicans with Canada on the sidelines. Big threats against China. Is it a negotiating technique like on some reality show. Is the White House the new Shark Tank? Are the sharks circling around Trumpie? Secret sex settlements, campaign fraud convictions and personal lawyer fraud. Now pipe bombs which have nothing to do with him or his rhetoric?

Well if Canada ends up screwed at least us little guys can boycott U.S. wines and as we have seen in this series of articles Canada can produce enough good red and white wines including sparklers and Rosé to obviate any need for U.S. wines. Why in the first place are we drinking so much California wine? Is it because it is a profitable business for liquor monopolies that are too frightened of opening a true inter-provincialCanadian Wines Tariff wars with United States wine portfolio. Why are there so few Quebec and Nova Scotia wines on the shelves of the LCBO?

And if tariff matters get nasty is the LCBO sticking its head in the stand and continuing opening up the doors to California wines? Is the Canadian government going to reciprocate and levy a steep tariff on U.S. wines? Or is the Canadian consumer going to take matters into their own hands?

The Westcott Lillias Chardonnay is light gold in colour. Notes of apple, cinnamon, guava, pear and pineapple on the palate. Quite full bodied with a bit of a spicy and peppery quality on the palate. Peach and pear as well with a medium finish. A fine example of unoaked Chardonnay. Well done!

The LCBO refers to a Chablis style Chardonnay for this wine but its lack of sharp acidity makes me disagree with that statement. It also states it would be good with fish. Provided a cream sauce is involved such as a Coquille St. Jacques I would agree but for simply prepared broiled and grilled fish I think not.

It calls for roast or grilled chicken slathered with about anything. Drink before the end of 2019.

This is my first Wescott wine. Not a bad start!

(Westcott Lillias Chardonnay 2017, VQA Vinemount Ridge, Westcott Vineyards, Jordan, Ontario, $21.95, 12.9%, 750 mL, LCBO # 425322, Square Media Group Rating 92/100).

I recall a few years ago at a wine testing I had some Keint-He Chardonnay and it was terribly oaked. As a result I have shied away from their wines but one must move on and not be imprisoned by their past. So I am anxious to give the Keint-He 2014 Portage Pinot Noir a swirl and swallow

It has a light black cherry colour and there is no doubt it is a Pinot Noir on the nose. Full of raspberry, black cherry and a hint of strawberry. A bit brackish and burly on the palate. There is nothing in my book that says Pinot Noirs must be soft, elegant and sensual. Cherry with bits of raspberry jam on the palate.

Short finish. A simple Pinot Noir.

(Keint-He Portage Pinot Noir 2014, VQA Prince Edward County, Keint-He Winery and Vineyards, Wellington, Ontario, $25, 12.7%, 750 mL, Square Media Group Rating 87/100).

We keep rolling on to a completion of this series with an Organized Crime Chardonnay. Organized Crime seems more applicable to Putin than Trump but the goings on with the Trump gang and ex-gang certainly aren’t criminal….right? Innocent until proven guilty!!! But is this a guy you want to be negotiating with?

The Chardonnay is a light gold in colour. Aromas of apple pear and melon. And again this what you get in the palate. Discrete acidity. Despite being aged some 10 months in oak still rather crisp and clean on the palate. A rather uninspiring Chardonnay. Decent but the Wescott reviewed above is much more exciting!

Short finish. Best served with simply prepared pork roast or herbed roast chicken.

(Organized Crime 2016 Chardonnay, VQA Beamsville Bench, Organized Crime Winery, Beamsville, Ontario, $18.95, 13%, 750 mL, LCBO # 408435, Square Media Group Rating 87/100).

Geez, another Chardonnay from Ontario. It is a Redstone 2013 so it has a bit of grey on the beard. Light gold in colour. On the nose apple crisp, bacon, pineapple, guava and Flemish pear. On the palate a fairly solid presence. The acidity is perfect and a moderate low burn finish tinged with white pepper. Very controlled fruit on the palate and tightly knit elements of apple, Flemish pear and a high degree of minerality. Even though aged in oak it is well integrated adding just a touch of subtle power.

I would say this could cruise nicely into 2021. Would suit grilled lamb coated with pesto or simply pasta with fried garlic in olive oil coated with pesto. A foodie wine.

(Red Stone 2013 Chardonnay, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, $25.70, 13%, 750 mL, LCBO # 511428, Square Media Group Rating 89/100).

Why not wrap up with a Closson Chase 2016 Pinot Noir from the County? Light raspberry red in colour. On the nose sweet red cherry, raspberry, strawberry jam and black cherry. Soft and supple on the palate yet with a noticeable slightly gruff finish. Not sensual but a bit of a tigress. Great minerality and tightly hidden fruit of raspberry, strawberry and rhubarb pie. A tight fisted and brilliant Pinot Noir. Is it the limestone of Prince Edward County in Ontario that hides the power and complexity of this Pinot Noir. A Canadian gem.

It is so good it deserves to be sipped on its own before any food hits the palate. Ideal for B.C. salmon on the grill or served on bagels with cream cheese and capers. Even better with smoked salmon added to garlic, shallots, and fresh basil simmered in 35% cream and Rosé served over egg pasta. Take me to the moon Mr. Sinatra.

I have had aggressive Pinots, raspy and rough-edged Pinots, sensual and soft Pinots but this one is simply in its own category and being tight fisted. I would be tempted to say give it until 2025 to soften but if you like a James Cagney Pinot right now this might be for you. A Gangsta Pinot Noir?

(Closson Chase Closson Chase Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016, VQA Prince Edward County, Closson Chase Limited Partnership, Hillier, Ontario, $34.95, 12.3%, 750 mL, LCBO # 145888, Square Media Group Rating 93/100).

So let’s say good-bye to this series. Let’s hope for the best!

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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