Their labels and name may hearken back to settler’s times in North America, but Keint-he’s wines are anything but old-fashioned — in fact, they’re relatively timeless.
Established in Prince Edward County in 2006 by retired banker Ron Rogers, Keint-he (pronounced kent-hey) Winery & Vineyards takes its name from a nearby Iroquois settlement; the sepia tone labels, meanwhile, depict pelts being transported by canoe in paintings by Canadian artist Frances Anne Hopkins (1838-1919).
Winemaker/vineyard manager Ross Wise has a long pedigree of working with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and other cool-climate varieties. Most notably, the New Zealand-born Wise spent time making wines at that country’s Felton Road and Grove Mill — both producers of tremendous Pinots — before cutting his teeth in Ontario at Niagara’s Flat Rock Cellars.
Keint-he’s Prince Edward County vineyards use France’s Burgundy region as a benchmark, which is reflected nicely in the 2011 Portage Pinot Noir. Visually, it’s light and looks extremely delicate (and low in alcohol at 12.1 per cent), but in aroma and flavours it brings focused cherry notes as well as elegant white pepper, raspberry, and black tea notes.
The winery also sources grapes from various areas of Niagara to make some of their wines — areas such as St. David’s Bench for the slightly more structured 2012 Queenston Road Pinot Noir and Twenty Mile Bench for the super-delicate, Burgundian character of the 2012 Fox Croft Chardonnay. They also do a killer job with Gamay — a grape showing tremendous promise in Ontario — in their juicy, Beamsville Bench-sourced 2013 Voyageur Gamay Noir.
There’s never been as good a time to test-drive Keint-he’s wines — they’re the upcoming featured winery of My Wine Canada’s wine club. Taste what Prince Edward County producers are capable of when creating wines made from some of the area’s best grapes as well as when Niagara fruit is made using PEC sensibility. There are only 2 days left (ends May 15th) to get in on the Keint-he wine club shipment, so sign up now!
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson.