Prince Edward County [General]

2008 Aug 3
Just came back from a couple of days in PEC. Went there with relatively low expectations regarding the quality of their wines. In some respects those fears were confirmed, but in others, we were simply blown away with some of the wines being produced, especially the Pinot Noirs.

Quick recap on some of the wineries we visited.
-Waupoos Estates: Ideallic setting, had a nice lunch on their gazebo overlooking the grapes and the lake. Wines were so-so, pinot gris was okay.
-The Grange: Cute winery, somewhat hard to find, they use all their own grapes, good Riesling and Pinot Noir.
-Carmela Estates: Snotty people, for no reason , their wines were aweful. Should be called "Carmela's Plonk".
-Sandbanks: Good Baco Noir, that's about it.
-Rosehall Run: Excellent Chardonnays and good Pinot Gris.

-Huff Estates: Beautiful winery, we enjoyed their whites, particularily their Pinot Gris and Riesling Off-dry.

-Long Dog: Just outside of Milford, a little hard to get find but oh so worth it. Excellent Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, and a truly excellent 06 Pinot Noir. Really good. Their 07 Pinot Noirs are supposed to be amazing...

-Norman Hardie: Nice winery, simple, modern, and industrial with an exposed cellar. Great oaked and unoaked Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, but was most impressed with their 06 Pinot Noir, truly a great world-class Pinot. Then we got a preview of their 07 pinot noir...and it was amazing. Truly one of the best I have had. We immediately pre-ordered two cases.

So had a great time, actually more enjoyable than our last Niagara trip. Dinner at Michael Potters' Harvest was really excellent. I have a feeling this area is going to do really well and those wineries making good wine now will just keep on improving as the vines age. It seems the soil is perfect for Pinot Noir/Gris and Chardonnay.
If 2007 was as good of a year for all wineries as we tasted in the Norman Hardie Pinot Noir, it will put PEC on the map with world-wide recognition.

2008 Aug 4
Thanks for the info, my wife and I are going in 3 weeks; this'll be useful.

2008 Aug 5
Great info. We're heading down in October, probably, so we'll keep this in mind. I've heard the same thing that you discovered: the soil is amazing for Burgundian grapes (Pinot Noir/Chard). I don't think you can ever have enough Pinot, so this is a Good Thing.

Some time this weekend I'll have to do a little write-up on my just-completed Niagara Wine Tour!

2008 Aug 6
Nice report, DD! It's great to see PEC making strides in becoming a major wine and foodie destination. As with any relatively new winemaking area, the quality is a bit hit-and-miss (we found much the same thing when we toured Vancouver Island last year), but I think you've identified most of the "hits". The only one I would add to the list is Closson Chase.

Re Sandbanks: though the Bacos are quite impressive (if you like chocolatey/raisiny kinda reds), I'd encourage folks to also try their Cabernet Franc. The 2006 currently on offer is not as good as the 2005 was, but it's still well-made and food-friendly. We also enjoyed the Marechal Foch, a fruity, somewhat Pinot-like red, and we ended up buying some of that instead of the Baco when we visited last month - first time we've had a Foch in eons! It was one of Inniskillin's mainstays back in their early days.

Alas, we didn't get to Long Dog on our brief trip to PEC in July. We still have a bottle of their 2004 Pinot in our cellar, but haven't acquired anything from them since then. We were treated to a barrel sample of their 2005 Pinot, which was terrific, but missed out on the final product. :-( Hopefully, we'll manage to snare some of the 2007's when they're released.

Lastly, I'm glad to see you mention Pinot Gris - this is a neglected variety which is doing very well in both PEC and Niagara. BC is often touted for Pinot Gris, and just about every winery there makes one, but I think the Ontario versions are coming on strong, and can match or surpass those from BC. Besides, you can't get the BC products here, but that's another story...

2008 Aug 7
Draft Diner - Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. We've found in recent years that the wine from PECounty is definitely improving... a lot of that has to do with young vines.

Waupoos Winery is a beautiful winery (especially their garden restaurant in the summer), but they still aren't there yet with a "winning wine". We were pleasantly surprised by the Ice Wines they were featuring during our visit in March. With "Maple Ice" and "Winter White" they have maybe stumbled upon their calling.

We fell in love with Long Dog a couple of years ago, and have a bottle of their 2005 Pinot tucked away to be enjoyed over the holiday season this year (the first bottle was impressive).

Rosehall Run and Norman Hardie have come a long way in the last two years.

As others have said PECounty is beginning to set itself aside from the style of wines that Niagara has been producing (live & learn). I too agree that this region is more suited to the Pinots (both Red & White), along with some mid range reds like Baco Noir, Cabernet Franc and Foch. I've even had a decent Gamay from the region (but right now I can't remember who from).

Anyways, you might want to check out TASTE! Prince Edward County's annual food & wine show in the Fall. It is a great showcase of what is happening food & drink wise in the county. A good chance to preview what is coming down the vine (so to speak). The info for this year's event is on the Ottawa Foodies Events Wiki, along with links to other wine & foodie events in the county.