Here Comes The Sun

Featured in Niagara Today Magazine
Article Contributed by Christopher Fuccillo

I can hear it now, the sound of that famous Beatles song as it leads into the strum of an acoustic guitar intro, “Here comes the sun”. It is exciting as the Spring Season draws closer and the days of Spring rush in. The days get a little longer, the spirit starts to come alive and we look forward to feeling that warm glow on our faces as we find little pleasures to take us out and about from our Canadian hibernation.

This draws me to the dawn of a brand new year of tasting wine and touring the Niagara wineries. Take a simple stroll or drive. Imagine the windows are down or the sunroof drawn back as the maze of vineyards passes by you. Step out of your back door and journey along the great Niagara River, down the famous Parkway.

This year is a highly anticipated year in the Region’s growth of producing world class wines. Niagara wineries are itching to release a good sum of the best of the 2007 growing season. 2007 was all about the sun, possibly Niagara’s best year ever.

In this review we take a look at some grape varieties that love to soak up the sun. All grapes need a good amount of sunshine to ripen but the varieties highlighted in this review fight for that attention. In 2007, a long hot summer with a great deal of sunshine gave us some ultra ripe grapes that have matured into tasty wines for today. We will highlight Pillitteri Estates and some varieties that help your transition from cold snowy days to the sunny and invigorating blossom of Spring.

2007 Pillitteri Estates Viognier
1st course

Viognier is most famous in the Rhone Valley of France but has made its way here to Niagara and is a great replacement to the Humpty Dumpty effect of Chardonnay. If you do not like Oaky Chardonnays but you like a full, rich, fruit driven wine, then this is the choice for you. Pillitteri Winery’s great rendition of this variety has been kept simple, lively and most importantly, true to its natural expression. This wine has developed a rich perfume. Think of aromatic flowers and ripe fruit as you walk through a farmers market. To complement its aromas, it has a lively zest of apricots and orange peel layered with softness and an oily creamy finish.

This a perfect wine for a great start to dinner, easy enough to drink on its own as you are cooking or paired with an appetizer such as seared sea scallops wrapped in bacon with a pear emulsion drizzled over a bed of light mixed frisée, endive and radicchio salad.

Look for this variety to be the next King or Queen of white wines.

2007 Pillitteri Estates Cabernet Sauvignon
2nd course

This varietal just loves the sun. It’s like a day at the beach when you just don’t want the day to end. So keep the day going and spark up the BBQ. The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from Pillitteri has very good substance with notes of roasted coffee, subtle cedar, deep flavours of its customary black currant, beet overtones and a rustic old-world finish of dried herbs. A soft deep mouth feel and lingering finish. Compliment this wine with hearty meats such as a well-marbled Rib Eye with a dry herb rub of mixed Italian spices brushed with olive oil and sea salt and a dash of dried bouillon soup mix.

Cabernet sauvignons from good vintages in Niagara are also a dark horse when cellared, so do not be afraid to lay this wine down to enjoy on a special occasion in 4 to 6 years.

2007 Sparkling Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine Dessert

The first sparkling Cabernet Ice wine in the world! This wine just won top honours at the Effervescents du Monde®, taking best sparkling wine in the world. The event is one of the world’s most recognized sparkling wine championships. Pillitteri and winemaker Dr. Marc Bradshaw have created one of the rarest and most desired wines you will ever have the opportunity to enjoy.

The Sparkling Cabernet Ice wine is sweet magic!

This dessert wine starts subtly to allow you to taste the candied flavours of chocolate and ripe black cherries married with strawberries. Then suddenly, that magic sparkle pops in your mouth to make sure you haven’t forgotten that this is truly a one-of-a-kind gem. Enjoy this wine with friends around a chocolate fondue of very high quality bitter sweet chocolate, an array of fresh fruit, such as strawberries, bananas, oranges and good old-fashioned Italian biscotti.

The magic may be in the wine but the moment is truly shared with friends

Look for the Niagara Vintage Wine Review next time when we embark on another great paperback wine tour about our region and the wines that make everyday special.