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Stratus Viognier Skin Fermented White, 2021

Shipped and sold by Stratus Vineyards

2021 Niagara Peninsula 750 mL, 11.9% ALC/VOL
Critic's Rating 90 pts

This wonderfully aromatic wine has aromas of chamomile, white pepper and tangerine zest while, on the palate there is a marvellous fusion of Asian pear and orange blossom. With a slight bitterness and a gentle tannin structure, a slightly saline minerality unites the gently acidity with nuances of bergamot tea and lemongrass to the finish.

What is the sediment?

Pure and natural, this wine has inherent proteins from contact with the skins during fermentation. With no sulphur and no additives throughout the winemaking process, sediment naturally occurs with time in the bottle and is safe for consumption. Think Kombucha or freshly-pressed apple cider! For a more classic pour, gently decant.

Growing Conditions: Defined by highly variable weather, 2021 was unpredictable from start to finish. The year started with warmer than average January temperatures. Spring settled into predictably seasonal temperatures and generally dry conditions – a great start to the growing season. As the summer progressed, hot and dry conditions prevailed. Despite unexpected scattered rain and severe thunderstorms at the end of the month, extreme heat and drought were the predominant challenges faced in August. Unstable weather in the fall presented challenging harvest conditions. Rain and humidity at inopportune times required a strategic approach to picking grapes at their peak. Many of the red varieties were harvested at the tail end of November and in early December.

VQA Niagara Lakeshore

Critic's Rating

This is an “orange wine, but not to the extreme,” explains Stoyka. It’s unfiltered and unfined and spends a minimum of 10 days on the skins, but in the modest range for orange wines. “It’s a gateway to orange,” Stoyka adds, a bridge for dedicated fans of Stratus to dabble in the natural wine playground and pique their interest, without scaring them away. It has a fairly clean nose of orange peel, Asian pear, dried flowers and apricot with a golden/blush hue in the glass. It’s tame, fresh, and pleasant on the palate with ever so subtle tannins, orange peel/zest, citrus, apricot, and pear fruits with a hint of bitterness on the bright and juicy finish. There is subtle cloudiness in the bottle with natural sediment that gathers at the bottom of the bottle, so, when chilling, stand the bottle up in the fridge before pouring.
- Rick VanSickle, Wines in Niagara
  • National Wine Awards of Canada 2022, Bronze Medal National Wine Awards of Canada 2022, Bronze Medal
  • National Wine Awards of Canada 2023, Bronze Medal National Wine Awards of Canada 2023, Bronze Medal
  • Connoisseur Note(s):

    Honeyed orange colour. Advanced, raisined/dried muscat flavour, like moscatel de Setubál, unique to be sure - smells sweet, but the palate is dry, tonic, notably bitter, firm, drying. Not a wine of pleasure - more of an intellectual exercise. Tasted blind at the NWAC awards June 2022. 89 Points — John Szabo, MS, WineAlign

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    • National Wine Awards of Canada 2022, Bronze Medal
    • National Wine Awards of Canada 2023, Bronze Medal