I had the chance to sit down with the wines from GreenLane Estate Winery in advance of its feature as this month's Wine Club winery. The winery thrives within the Lincoln Lakeshore appellation on the Niagara Peninsula under the helm of Dianne Smith, winemaker and general manager. These are mostly small lot wines from Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery has some coveted plots of old vine Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon. For more info on the winery, check out my past post on GreenLane Estate Winery. And for notes on my favourite wines from them that I tasted last week, read on!
GreenLane 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay - The winemaker's notes attached to this wine make a bold claim: If you don’t like Unoaked Chard, then this wine will make a convert out of you! I hope this is the case, but any unoaked Chard haters out there will have to try it out for themselves. The majority of the world's unoaked Chardonnay is made in an inoffensive style and lacks any sort of depth to make it interesting to drink. This one from GreenLane has the refreshing qualities you want, but also offers a little depth in texture, minerality in the finish, and great balance. There's a smidgen of sweetness here, which isn't overtly obvious with the balanced acidity, but it helps give the wine a little softness and makes it very easy to drink. In my mind, this is a perfect picnic sipper. ($17.95, 13% alcohol.)
GreenLane 2012 Old Vines Riesling - This wine is made from fruit grown on 22-year-old vines in clay and sandy loam soils. This is one of GreenLane's best-known wines, and considered by the folks at the winery to be their flagship white. There's a touch of sweetness here followed by a wave of acidity that keeps the palate fresh. It has the qualities to make it a very food friendly wine—particularly dishes with a bit of spice, or to accompany sweeter meats like shrimp and pork. The fact that the current release is 2012, gives us a chance to try a Niagara Riesling with a little age. The lean, citrusy characters of lime and green apple are starting to give way to the complex spice and nutty notes that come with age. ($24.95, 11.4% alcohol.)
GreenLane 2013 Cabernet - This elegant and structured Bordeaux blend is one of my favourite value picks for Ontario reds. The dark fruit and herbal notes of the Cabernet Franc (60%), hit the right balance with the juiciness and spiciness of the old vines Cabernet Sauvignon (40%). This wine will please novice and experienced wine drinkers alike, particularly if served alongside summer barbeque fare. A wine for under $20 with such lovely balance and layers of complexity is a rare find. ($16.95, 12.3% alcohol.)
Get in on these great wines by joining the wine club! The deadline to ensure that you get GreenLane's vino is Sunday night, so sign up before then and then sit back while we send you wine, tasting notes, and pairing suggestions!
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.