In addition to Riesling, Chardonnay, Auxerrois, Bianca, Hibernal, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Pinot Noir, we have planted four sustainable red grape varietals - the German wunderkind, Regent - a fruity, light-bodied red - and the three sustainable varieties developed specifically for our region, still known as HG-01, HG-03 and HG-04 (good to know: HG stands for Harrow Graft). These grapes are sustainable because they can usually survive a period of frigid temperatures, require significantly less spray than the traditional vitis vinifera varieties, ripen fully and can be harvested early in the season before the fall rains. That appeals to us… we can rely on getting a crop of delicious grapes and use much less chemical spray.
Regent has been grown in Germany since 1995. It is classified as vitis vinifera in the European Vitis data base. Regent has been grown in southwest Ontario since 1998 and is also grown in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, the United States (Michigan, New York, Northern California, Oregon and Washington), Switzerland, Latvia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Finland, and New Zealand.
In the field, Regent is upright with medium to large clusters, ripens earlier and has great winter hardiness, is resistant to Botrytis, and fungicide applications are reduced by half.
The HG grapes were developed in the mid-1990s by Valentin (Tino) Blattner of Switzerland, who was working with Dr. Helen Fisher of the University of Guelph. The 2,800 varieties developed by Tino for Essex County were planted in 1997. By 2002, after a rigorous study in the field, the focus shifted to the six best varieties. They were propagated and planted at Viewpointe Estate Winery. The first crop was sent to Niagara College for evaluation. After that, the focus was on the three magic bullets – HG-01, HG-03 and HG-04 - that have realized their potential and promise at Viewpointe, where they are blended into Colchester Cuvée, a dark red, oaked wine, and at Oxley Estate Winery, where they are blended into a dry, fresh Rosé.
We have two acres of root stock at Oxley, much of which is in a block certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, so that we are able to propagate our own vines. That will come in handy when the ten grape varietals we imported from Europe are released from quarantine in British Columbia. They were found during a European Union project to identify, by DNA, ancient and, by definition, sustainable wine grapes along the old Roman wine route. These varietals survived the last “little ice age” in the 19th century and include Red Riesling and Primitivo. If things go according to plan, Oxley will begin making wine from them in 2016-2017.
"Bright", "exciting" and "vibrant" are words often used to describe our wines.
Relaxing, long days, healthy doses of sunshine, the right amount of rain and finely tuned winemaker's details are all the ingredients we needed to make our 2016 Riesling. The brilliant colour, botanical aroma and fruit-driven flavour come together for a breezy, open air feeling. Crisp green apple and light honeysuckle notes on the nose open up to energetic citrus tastes of white grapefruit and lemon peel. Racing acidity meets wet stone minerality on the juicy, dialed-in palate. The finish is dry, humming, lingering ... and waiting for your next sip.
Music pairing: "We Belong" by PAT BENETAR
2016 WOWZA WHITE
The finger-snapping, toe-tapping beat of Wowza White is back, with all the class and charm we love. Golden, captivating colour is the intro to the tickling, lively herbaceous and tropical fruit aromas – like mango, mandarin orange, with underscores of lavender and basil. The hook is the body – sumptuous in flavours of ripe peach and pineapple, with touches of almond and banana joining in. Wowza's honeyed mouthfeel has just enough sweetness to carry and deliver the lengthy, rich, edgy finish. Pairs well with your favourite records.
Music pairing: "Give Me the Night" by GEORGE BENSON
Our Chardonnay brings the beauty of the field to your glass. From the attractive corn silk colour to the peaceful, open aromas of clover leaf and marigold. Slip nicely to the rich palate - lush with notes of ripe peach, lychee fruit and almond oil. The bridge to the mouthfeel is easy; an uplifting citrus note of white grapefruit shows up, and lingers on the fruity, harmonic finish. Enjoy with soft cheeses, or barbecued garlic shrimp.
Music pairing: "Sweet City Woman" by THE STAMPEDER
2015 CABERNET FRANC
Bold, bright cherry hues introduce our 2015 Cabernet Franc. Swirl first, and enjoy its eye-catching colour. Move to the nose, for ripe, fruity aromas of raspberry jam and blueberry reduction. Just enough scent of savoury spices like black pepper and bay leaf to mix beautifully with earthy notes of mushroom and fennel. The palate is purposeful—cool climate Cab Franc shows strength and elegance on the backbone, carrying you through every delicious sip.
Music pairing: "Ain’t No Sunshine" by BILL WITHERS
2015 CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Our Cabernet Sauvignon is an illustration of balance. Darkness meets brightness in the glass, opening with intriguing colours of indigo and violet. Ripe blackberry and rich cherry tones are answered by the natural, earthy notes of cedar, wet leaves, and a gentle hint of tobacco. Signature cool climate acidity keeps everything in check – a characteristic native to the Cab Sauv grape, and to our climate. Warm and lively with easy, friendly tannins. Enjoy with charcuterie, smoked wild duck breast, and roasted vegetable pizza.
Music pairing: "Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing" by CHRIS ISSAK
2015 RIPPER RED
Inky, intense, deep, dark fruit, wild, chewy—the initial descriptors for Ripper Red '15. Crafted with a blend of Regent and the HG (Harrow Graft) grapes, it is a wine that has made its' mark. Cooked blueberry and cherry aromas move chameleon-like to notes of cloves and vanilla on the nose, with swirling. Easy does it with sipping, the way this wine changes in the glass is enchanting. Shifty, fruity and savoury flavours of raspberry, black licorice, pepper and olive on the full mouthfeel, leading to a substantial, sleek, tasty, finish.
Music pairing: "Black Betty" by RAM JAM
2013 CABERNET FRANC RESERVE
– $28.95 Tasting Fee – $2
The 2013 growing season-long warm days, cool, clear nights and abundant sunshine well into the fall. Dark and intriguing, with the burgundy colour of cherry wood opening to the fruit characters of raspberry and dried cranberry. Appealing floral notes of orchid and violet on the nose, earthy tastes of anise and mushroom complimenting warm flavours of vanilla and sandalwood on the palate. A poised, savoury wine-firm in structure and expressive in profile. Relax, pour, enjoy, repeat.
Music pairing: "One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer" by GEORGE THOROGOOD