'Small lot' (or sometimes 'small batch') isn't a wine term with a concrete definition. It's often relative to the winery, or it's a number that elicits a response like, "You only made how many bottles?!" Many of the wines available on My Wine Canada could be argued as being small lot— you won't find production numbers in the same ballpark as the Yellow Tails of the wine world.
What makes these wines worth seeking out? Often there's something special about a specific row of vines, or the grapes from a certain plot in the vineyard, or maybe one particular barrel tastes better than the others. When the winemaker thinks a wine is worth highlighting, it's usually for a reason. Also, we're drawn to things that are rare and limited; wine is no different. Here are a few picks of mine made in miniscule quantities.
1) Trail Estate 2013 Reserve Gewürztraminer (44 cases)
The new Prince Edward County winery, Trail Estate, sourced the fruit for this Gewürztraminer from a vineyard in Niagara's Twenty Mile Bench appellation. It's on the dry side with a lovely rich texture, fresh acidity, and a floral bouquet with grapefruit and peach notes. At the moment, most of the wines that Trail Estate makes are in quantities of less than a couple hundred cases, but this one is particularly limited. ($28, 13.7% alcohol)
2) Orofino 2013 Home Vineyard Old Vines Riesling (100 cases)
John and Virginia Weber make some of the best wine in the Similkameen Valley— especially their Rieslings. This wine is made from fruit grown on 24-year-old vines, and fermented in old oak barrels with natural yeast. It has a little sweetness but, like all good Rieslings, is balanced with plenty of fresh acid. It's citrus-y and minerally, with added complexity from the old vines. ($29. 13.1% alcohol)
3) Haywire 2012 Canyonview Chardonnay (131 cases)
The grapes for Haywire's Canyonview Chardonnay, made at Okanagan Crush Pad, come from a terraced vineyard above Trout Creek in Summerland. The fruit was fermented in concrete using wild yeast. It is an herbal and citrus-y Chardonnay that gets its texture and richness from lees stirring rather than oak barrels. ($24.90, 12.8% alcohol)
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.