Rosehall Run began in 2000 with the purchase of farmland by Dan and Lynn Sullivan in one of Canada's top emerging regions for high quality wine: Prince Edward County. Only ten years after their inaugural 2004 vintage, Rosehall Run weighs among the very best of the region.
You'll find the winery on Greer Road, a couple minutes from Norman Hardie and not far from the town of Hillier. In his 25-acre vineyard, Dan Sullivan embraces what are now accepted as the two signature grapes of the County: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Burgundian varieties thrive in the clay-limestone soils, which lend a mineral dimension. Pinot Gris and small plots of other grapes round out Rosehall Run's estate plantings. Dan also sources Prince Edward County fruit to make wine from Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Gamay, as well as some fruit from the Niagara Peninsula. Rosehall Run's Syrah comes from the Fieldstone Vineyard, which is the only commercial Syrah planting in Prince Edward County.
The wines from Rosehall Run are fantastic across the board, but the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are particularly impressive. During a recent tasting, I found that every wine had great vibrancy and purity of fruit. Any oak, when used, played a minor role, and an arc of well-integrated acid framed each wine.
The top selections of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from each vintage are labeled as 'JCR' after co-founder, John Campbell Reston. The 2012 JCR Chardonnay is made from the oldest estate Chardonnay vines, planted in 2001 and 2002. The wine was fermented and matured in 500L oak puncheons. This is delicious Chardonnay from a warmer vintage, it has a toasty nose with spiced apple, lemon, a slight chalky minerality, and on point acidity. It's available on My Wine Canada for $29.95.
The 2011 JCR Pinot Noir is made with fruit from two vineyards on clay and limestone soils, the Rosehall Vineyard North Block and the Fieldstone Vineyard. Both vineyards were planted in 2001/2002 and are managed by the Rosehall Run team. The wine spent 14 months in French oak. The fruit notes are lifted, pure and vibrant—characters of cherry and strawberry with black pepper and subtle savoury notes. It's on the light side of medium bodied and the finish is long and lingering. It's among the best Pinots I've tasted from the County. Find the 2011 JCR Pinot Noir on My Wine Canada.
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.