January 30, 2009

Carmela Estates Winery 2004 Pinot Noir

(Re-Tasted January 2009) ... Those who are even a little skeptical on the winemaking ability of those in Prince Edward County should have been around when I popped the cork on this ‘04 from the County. What a marvelous piece of winemaking, though I have to admit I am not too surprised because he has becomes somewhat of a celebrated master of this particular grape here in Ontario over the past few years. For those not sure of whom I speak, I’m talking about Norman Hardie, who currently has his own eponymous winery right across the road from his former employer (Carmela). Not much info on the bottle as to the origin of these grapes (though speculation is that they came from Wismer Vineyard in Niagara) … it is a VQA Ontario, but PEC did not have their DVA designation in 2004 when these grapes were harvested, nor did they have it when this wine was released in 2005. But they did have one thing going for them, a well traveled Pinot-lover in winemaker Norman Hardie, who’s goal is to make the ultimate Ontario Pinot Noir. Here he brought the yield down to one-tonne per acre, that’s fairly radical for that time. The nose is smoky and earthy, with cinnamon, dried sour cherries and vanilla nuances. Taste-wise you’ll find spiced cherry with a vanilla mid-palate, nice tannins which still retain quite a bit of a drying kick on the tongue and a toasted cinnamon finish. Absolutely lovely, and definitely at its peak right now – I am not sure whether to open my other bottle or lay down for another couple of years just to see what happens.

As mentioned this wine is Norman Hardie-made and sold for much less than what Norm is now charging for his Pinots (at the time it was a $20 bottle) … this was the winery where he cut his teeth in the County and if you have some bottles of this you are in for a wonderful surprise … this wine shows the love and dedication Norm had/has for making really fine Pinot Noir. Kudos.

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