Southbrook, Triomphe, Pinot noir, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Canada, 2015
On VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) Niagara Peninsula
VQA, amongst other things, means that the wine is made from 100% grapes from the designated area, in this case the Niagara Peninsula. As  points out, the Niagara Peninsula is strictly an isthmus, running east-west, separating Lake Erie to the south from Lake Ontario to the north. There is a difference in water level of about 100m, and it is the Niagara River incorporating the Niagara Falls, which drains Lake Erie into Ontario.
The peninsula is bisected east-west by the Niagara Escarpment, which rises to 100m above the Lake Ontario shore line, at 2-12km back from the shore. The mainly north facing vineyard is sited on the rising land between the Lake and the escarpment.
The climate here is continental, with excesses mitigated by Lake Ontario. This acts as a heat sink, radiating relative warmth in the very cold winters – defending (but not always successfully) the vines from low temperature damage or death, and extending the growing season by protecting against spring and autumn frosts, and as a cooling agent in the hot summers. This climate mitigation, together with the mostly north facing vineyard, results in a cool-climate viticultural region, though the summer temperature can exceed 30C. The climate ideally suits gewurztraminer, pinot gris, pinot noir, riesling and sauvignon blanc, additionally these varieties should ripen: cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, semillon and syrah .
This wine: lot no. 54-WL-106 (I think), organic, varietal pinot noir, aged for 9 months in mostly large format not new French oak, Diam 5 agglomerate cork closure, 12.5% abv, ex-Canada, $CAN30 (05/17)
Consumer tasting note: pale ruby hued, with aromas of dried cranberry, red currant, red cherry, a floral hint, and low-key cumin; medium bodied, with a palate of cranberry, red currant jelly, red cherry and a spicy edge. Finishes medium-long. Decant for an hour.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, pale intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of dried cranberry, stewed red currant, red cherry, whiff of peony, touch of toast, cumin, warm beeswax.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium (-) tannins, medium alcohol, medium body, medium (+) intensity, a smooth texture with a sense of sweetness in mid-palate, with flavours of cranberry, red currant jelly, red cherry, hints of spice, dried red cherry. A medium (+) length with a clean red berry finish.
Quality: very good, perfectly balanced fresh(ish) acidity with alcohol; a sound intensity throughout, with slightly lesser concentration; showing moderate complexity from exposure to oak, which is well-integrated, with just a frill of toast and a pleasant touch of spicy cumin, and time in bottle. Finishes medium-long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for further ageing, over say 2-3 years – a sound structure, quite well developed, with fruit to work with, and a sound length.
- Phillips, R. (2017) The Wines of Canada. Infinite Ideas Ltd.
- VQA Niagara Peninsula. [online] accessed 09/01/18.