Wine Reviews – Taking a New Look at 13th Street Winery

13th Street has recently finished building a new addition to their facility. I was shocked to see how quickly the new addition had been built. I usually make a few pilgrimages to the barn to grab some buttertarts or stock up on Saskatoon jam (one of the few places in the province that regularly has it) so it looks like I need to start making my visits more often. That being said the building isn’t the only thing that’s new at 13th street. The fall I had a chance to head to Archive (909 Dundas St W) to taste through a large number of wines recently released from the winery. I can say without a doubt that this is the most solid the portfolio has been in a while.

2012 1er Cuvée Brut – $34.95 – ****+ – This bone dry bottle of sparkling was made with zero dosage. The aromas offer up a nice toasty note layered over orchard fruit. This is exactly what I would expect from the warm 2012 summer to be captured. Golden delicious apple and citrus dance on the tongue and are met with beautiful acidity. As the wine finishes a mineral note makes itself known and welcome to help round out the package and give this wine some nice depth.

2014 Riesling – $23.95 – **** – This wine tells a story of great balance. I will admit that I don’t reach for Riesling as often as I should but sipping on this wine it has me asking the question – why aren’t I? A strong mineral note forms the foundation of this wine and goes from nose to finish. The fruit on the nose and on the palate is apple, peach and honey – it starts to open up with a bit of sweetness. But before it can grab hold of your taste buds sweeping acidity washes the palate clean leaving your mouth anxious and salivating for the next sip.

2016 Chardonnay (Wine Club) – $24.95 – **** – There is a symphony of fruit on the nose of this bottle with melon, apple and honey. There is nice texture to this wine and it blooms open with all the fruit from the nose and then it’s met with vanilla and spice. Vanilla and spice are very well restrained and let the fruit notes take front and centre here. The spice note does linger for a while on the finish.

2016 Whitty Gamay – $23.95 – **** – Every Gamay fan knows that 13th Street knocks it out of the park with this varietal so it should be no surprise that this delivers. The nose is rich and concentrated with dark cherry and blackberry. The fruit follow through on the palate with a nice note of black pepper that makes an appearance and only moves more front and centre with every sip. This will be drinking beautifully now, but it will evolve and relax a little in a cellar over the next 4-6 years.

2014 13th Street Sandstone Vineyard Gamay Noir – Vintages 130195 – $29.95 – ****½ – This wine is simply stunning. So if you’re reading this on a mobile device head to your nearest transportation so you’re closer to the LCBO by the time you’re done reading this. This is still a medium bodied wine, but I don’t think it knows that. The concentrated aromas of cherry and black pepper climb out of the glass with such intensity you may forget to take your first sip of the wine. Your mouth will be greeted with beautiful dark cherry, and black pepper but there is a nice vanilla note from time spent in French oak. The tannin is silk and this wine rolls off the back of the tongue with ease. There is nice acidity on the finish that reminds you that this wine is still, in fact, Gamay. A bottle of wine like this presents a dilemma… This would make a fantastic addition to a cellar if you want to hold a bottle or two for 4-6 years… but it’s drinking so great right now. So if you plan on keeping this for a few years, I wish you luck in resisting the urge to enjoy it now.

2016 13th Street Gamay Noir – Vintages 177824 – $19.95 – ***½+ – There’s something funky on the nose of this wine. This funk is layered over red cherry and a spice note … but it’s something interesting and inviting. When this wine opens up on the palate it reveals with nice concentration juicy, ripe cherry and a peppery note on the finish. This checks the boxes of what you would expect from a great gamay but brings something a little wild and unexpected. Great acidity brings up the finish and smooth tannin keeps this easy drinking. Enjoy immediately or allow to age for 3-5 years.

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