Wine Review – Ferox

Everyone these days seems to be enamoured with Prince Edward County. There is some fantastic, gritty winemaking taking place to the east of Toronto. There are a lot of reasons to pay attention to the County. But there is a renaissance taking place in Niagara. It started when Two Sisters opened their impressive new facility and make quite the impression with the first few vintages of their wines. But, there are a lot of small places that have started to pop up. 16 Mile and iCellars have both set up shop on either side of St Catharines. There also seem to be virtual labels sprouting up all over the place as well – Meldville comes to mind.

A new addition to the virtual landscape comes from Fabian and Stephanie Reis. Fabian is the grandson of Herbert Konzelmann. Needless to say he knows his way around Niagara. When i met Fabian for the first time he was making the Icewines for Donald Ziraldo. The new label is being made at Reif Estates and is called Ferox. The winged lion brings a little bit of Fabian and Stephanie’s personality to the package. These wines are dripping with ambition (and individually hand sealed wax). They are also priced as such. I’ll be the first to admit when I start seeing the price of a bottle of Ontario wine dip north of thirty dollars I need to be impressed. I don’t mind spending the money, but when you get over that price point we’re not talking about something I’m taking home to guzzle on a Friday night. The verdict on all three wines made in the inaugural vintage – There is true potential here and if this post is the first time you’re hearing about Ferox, I assure you it won’t be the last.

2016 Riesling – ****+ – $38.00 – Aromas are honey and floral with a slight mineral note. I’m not used to finding Riesling with this white flower note in Niagara, and I like it. This wine is dry with a kiss of sweetness to help the honey and orchard fruit pop on the mid palate before finishing with nicely balanced acidity. The dilemma with well made Riesling exists here as it’s drinking great right now, but should evolve nicely over the next ten years.

2016 Sauvignon Blanc – **** – $46.00 – You won’t find another Sauvignon Blanc like this in Niagara – and no, I’m not just being polite. This was made using Acacia barrels and it brings nice tropical aromas to the nose with a slight mineral note that pokes through. This opens up on the mid palate with nice intensity and a rich texture. If you are opening this bottle young I would suggest letting it breathe for an hour before serving. When this bottle was opened the honey note was a little overpowering. But with a bit of time it started to settle down and behave itself.

2015 Merlot-Cabernet – ****½ – $55.00 – In short – this is HUGE. The aromas are complex with rich smoke and vanilla layered over raspberry, blackberry, and black currant. On the palate there is a lot of fruit – it’s perfectly ripe without being jammy. The tannin is still firm and grippy but it’s not enough to keep the fruit from pushing through. I enjoy my big reds young, so you can expect me to enjoy this in 2019 or 2020 but this is built to evolve nicely in a cellar with easy over the next 10 to 15 years.

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