Day Tripper: swap your stroll in the LCBO’s aisles for an outing to Prince Edward County
This month I’ll be driving two hours east of Toronto and filling my trunk with racy, elegant pinots, chardonnays and sparklers from Prince Edward County. It makes for a lovely summer weekend and puts more money per bottle directly into winemakers’ hands—especially important after an unexpected late-May frost wiped out a goodly amount of this year’s crops. Of the 35-plus wineries in the region, and hundreds of bottles produced there, these are my favourites.
Lighthall 2013 Les Quatres Diables Pinot Noir
$30 | 90 points
Glenn Symons has hit his stride since acquiring a vineyard in the county’s “deep south” region near Milford. County pinot is typically light, but this one is firm and well-balanced with cranberry-raspberry fruit. 308 Lighthall Rd., Milford, 613-767-9155.
Norman Hardie 2013 County Chardonnay
$39 | 92 points
This is a brilliant, stony and tart chardonnay with cashew, peat smoke, lemon-lime and chalky limestone notes. Enjoy it on the winery’s patio with thin-crust pizza from a wood-fired oven. 1152 Greer Rd., Wellington, 613-399-5297.
Rosehall Run 2012 “The Swinger” Syrah
$35 | 89 points
Syrah is hard to grow in P.E.C. (it doesn’t thrive in cold weather), but Dan Sullivan’s 2012 vintage is a nice example, with red currant and cherry, plus cool-climate pepper, floral, wood smoke and meaty notes. 1243 Greer Rd., Wellington, 1-888-399-1183.
Keint-He 2013 Portage Chardonnay
$25 | 89 points
Keint-He is the Seneca name for the region now referred to as Quinte. The winery’s light and juicy chardonnay has complex toasted cashew and vanilla barrel notes with pear and lemon custard. 49 Hubbs Creek Rd., Wellington, 613-399-5308.
Huff Estates 2013 Pinot Gris
$20 | 89 points
French-trained winemaker Frédéric Picard is producing bright, balanced, nuanced and well-priced bottles at Huff. This delicious pinot gris is fresh and elegant, with nectarine aromas and typical county minerality. 2274 County Rd. 1, Bloomfield, 613-393-5802.
Hinterland 2012 Rosé Brut
$37 | 89 points
Jonas Newman and Vicki Samaras have smartly harnessed the county’s cool climate and limestone soil for sparkling wine. The rosé brut is pinot noir–based, its effervescence produced by secondary fermentation in the bottle. 1258 Colossin Rd., RR1, Hillier, 613-399-2903.