Located in Harrow in Ontario’s Lake Erie North Shore region, Oxley Estate Winery’s a relative new kid on the block. In April 2010, they purchased what was then a vegetable farm, and began converting the crops to vines.
But in the short time that proprietors Murray Wilson and Ann Neydon Wilson and their team have been up and running, they’ve managed to convert their property into a quaint, picturesque spot to visit, and have made a pretty big splash considering the modest 38 acres with which they work.
Many of the wines Oxley makes are unique to the region, made from lesser-known grape varieties such as Regent, Bianca and Hibernal, as well as three sustainable varieties known simply as HG-01, HG-02 and HG-03.
Having said that, they also do some pretty nice work with more traditional grape varieties in their little corner of the Lake Erie North Shore region. Their 2013 Chardonnay, for example, took top local white wine at Ontario’s Shores of Erie Wine Awards. (It’s sold out now but if you want to read about it MWC writer Kurtis Kolt gave it a go.)
Here are some great Oxley Estate wines to try:
A blend of Bianca, Geisenheim and Hibernal grapes – just you try and find another anywhere – the Wowza White brings ripe tropical and stone fruit aromas that span the flavour spectrum: peach, papaya, kiwi, mango and pineapple notes show well with modest toasted nut notes. It’s light-plus bodied, juicy and ripe, with those tropical flavours showing well with a dash of acidity courtesy of secondary citrus notes. ($17.15, 12.5 % alc/vol)
Ripe berry (blackberry and raspberry, specifically) and plum notes show well with the more complex, savoury bell pepper, herbal and black pepper aromas here. The ripe berry and spice notes work in harmony on the medium-plus bodied palate, bringing a classic Old World angle to this New World red. ($19.15, 13% alc/vol)
Cab Franc can be finicky, but Oxley’s managed to strike just the right balance of fruit and herbal notes here. On the nose there’s some lovely cassis, ripe raspberry and chocolate notes that work well with a slightly green/herbal character. The medium-bodied red manages that same balance on the palate, never delving into overly jammy or weedy territories. ($19.15, 13% alc/vol)
You’re in luck – buy six or more bottles (you pick which ones... mix and match) and get free shipping on Oxley Estate wines until Jan. 31. Just load your cart and your discount will be automatically applied at checkout. DO it now!
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson.