Creekside Estate Winery2003 Reserve Pinot Noir
Creekside Estate Winery has developed a stellar reputation – they cleaned up at the recent 2007 Ontario Wine Awards (www.cuvee.ca) – so it is no surprise that they can make decent Pinot. But this 2003 should cement their Pinot reputation. In fact it should highlight it, underline it, cross its t's and dot its i's, and pretty much raise it on a pedestal.
The Niagara region, particularly the Bench of the Niagara Escarpment, has shown sporadic suitability for Pinot, and – occasionally, in the right vintages at the right vineyards and in the loving hands of the right winemaker – even signs of being a potential Pinot Noir "star."
Niagara has, like Burgundy, a cool climate, and has great limestone terroir for producing aromatic whites and reds, with acidic structure and minerality. The Rieslings have been great for years, but there's been a longstanding question about red wine, since severe winter-kill has been a periodic distraction (destruction?) Most so-called experts have proclaimed Cabernet Franc as the best suited vinifera variety, but wines like Creekside's 2003 Reserve sure make a case for Pinot.
Tasted blind recently amongst 18 premium Pinot Noirs from Ontario and around the world, the Creekside stood out as one of the top 3 wines for most of the Sommeliers present. It shows forward leafy & minty aromatics, on the pleasant side of the vegetal section of the wine aroma wheel, along with some cherry fruit, some rustic "old world" character, and a hint of beetroot. On the palate it has very firm tannins, evident acidity, and – the key – balance. It's a Power Pinot, and a great food pairing wine.
Reviewed May 17, 2007 by Craig Pinhey.
Craig Pinhey is a professionally certified Sommelier, educator, wine judge, and wine writer. He is on the tasting panel for Wine Access, Canada's most respected wine magazine, and is the provincial wine columnist for the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal. Craig appears weekly on CBC Radio, and is regular beverage columnist for Halifax's The Coast, East Coast Living, Progress Magazine, and [here]: New Brunswick's Urban Voice. He prefers wines with mineral and earthy notes, distinct varietal fruit and regional character, and moderate alcohol so he can drink more of it.