No sooner had I taken off my coat when I arrived at work this
morning, my boss, Peter Blakeman,
pulled me into his office to meet with and to taste a couple of wines from
Norman Hardie. Hardie, a trained
sommelier turned winemaker, learned his trade in the vineyards of
Burgundy before setting up shop in
Prince Edward County,
Ontario’s fastest growing viticultural region.
Prince Edward County wines started appearing back in 2000 with just one
commercial winery. Now there are more than a dozen and investors are
poised to increase that number considerably over the next few years.
This was my first taste of wines from Prince Edward County and of the
three wines I tasted, I was impressed.
Norman Hardie Cabernet Franc Prince Edward County 2005 $24.00
A youthful robe, not overly dense, but a good even ruby colour with a
purple/mauve rim. Aromas of sweet red and black raspberry, black
liquorish and dusty tannin are strong. The palate is ripe, chewy, fruit
laden and the black fruit acidity keeps it lively and bright. It is a
Loire Valley style of wine. Fifty percent was aged in second year oak
and the reminder resided in stainless steel. Hardie believes in minimal
intervention with his wines. Added sulphur is less than 100 parts per
million. Although it is showing well, a year or two laid down will bring
the wine together. 80 cases produced.
Norman Hardie County Pinot Noir Prince Edward County 2005 $35.00
Although these vines are only three years old, the resulting wine is
elegant and full of promise. It exudes notes of sweet perfume, a touch
of cured meat, vanilla, smoke glycerin and red fruit. The palate is soft
and refined with notes of red fruit, red cherry and vanilla. 80 cases
Norman Hardie Pinot Noir 2005
A wine made from three year old vines and ninety six percent of the fruit is from the Park Vineyard in Niagara. When Hardie makes the
decision to harvest this fruit, he arrives complete with sorting table and machinery to de-stem in the vineyard. The fruit is then packed on
dry ice and transported back to the winery to begin fermentation. Prince Edward County is approximately two hours east of Toronto. The
harvest occurred in the late fall where the cold temperatures allowed for a long slow fermentation. Malolactic fermentation did not commence
until temperatures warmed in the spring and the wine took a light sulphuring in early June.
The Pinot clones are 25 % 7776 25% 113 and 50 % 115. The latter is designed to produce a lighter style of fruit that emphasizes the
The wine was aged in French oak, two second year barrels and one new 500 litre barrel. Hardie believes aging in a larger barrel allows less
contact with the wood which in turn promotes fruit forwardness in the wine.
It is a leathery and muscular wine showing dark fruit, plum, rhubarb and cranberry. It is gutsy, but beautifully balanced. The finish is tight,
yet the powdery chocolate tannin appears to support the dark fruit flavours. 240 cases produced.
For more information on these wines
be sure to visit Hardie's website.
I hope to get up to Prince Edward County to check out the new addition to the Ontario wine scene once the warmer weather arrives for good.
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