Vieni Estates Wine & Spirits
Vieni means 'Welcome' in Italian - and Italian influence permeates the atmosphere and wine making techniques. Italy meets Canada in their enthusiasm for Gamay, Baco Noir and Marechal Foch grapes as well as their patriotic naming of the Canada 150 and Bruce Trail series.
The Sparkling wines, which I found to be one of their strengths, are made in the 'Charmat' method (Metodo Italiano). According to Vieni's brochure the Metodo Italiano includes a secondary fermentation, that produces the bubbles, in stainless steel pressure tanks. Motorized agitators inside the tanks simulate the riddling process. The Charmat method guarantees more control over the final produce and is preferred when processing aromatic grapes such as Riesling and Pinot Noir where freshness and intensity of aromas are desired qualities. (Think Prosecco style).
They also offer both Appassimento and Ripasso style wines.
Appassimento involves drying the grapes on straw for a few months (4 in the case of the Vieni wines that we sampled) to concentrate flavours and sugars.
Ripasso involves the adding (or repassing) a lighter wine over the leftover grapes or grape skins from the Appassimento method to increase colour, flavour and texture. This induces a second fermentation which also increases the alcohol level.
Vieni Estates is also unique in that they have imported the ancient grape known as 'Aglianico' which the Greeks introduced to Italy and which, according to Virgil (I did say ancient right?) was once dominant in the finest of all wines of Rome.
In the Spirits department Vieni offers 'Graspa' their version of the trademarked Grappa and a Maple Syrup infused Brandy.
Tasting Stand Out
Bollicine 2014 Extra Dry $19.95
This was an absolute delight. A lively sparkling with a fine mousse. A bit more structured and elegant than the Momenti. A subtle green apple profile going on here. This is a perfect sparkling for anytime but it will definitely enhance any special occasion you choose to uncork it for.
PS. Check out the 'state of the art' lights in the tasting area....at first glance you might think you've had too much to drink!
Momenti Sparkling $13.95
This blend or 60% Vidal and 40% Pinot Grigio is delightfully lively on the palate. A bit of a candied nose with a refreshing touch of ginger on the palate. You cannot go wrong with this offering at $13.95. At 11% alcohol it is perfect for brunch, toasting, picnics and even just sipping.
There is a Vieni Momenti Extra Dry Sparkling Rosé (Ontario,Canada) 486357 $16.95 that was released in LCBO April 29, 2015. Follow the link for tasting notes. I did not sample that one but based on the sparklings I tried I would say this is a safe bet for a reasonable sparkler at a reasonable price.
Canada 150 $16.95
This tribute to Canada's 150th birthday is a blend of Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier and Baco Noir. It has a tart cranberry feel to the nose and palate. A savoury sparkler that would be a welcome addition to an appetizer course for sure. I suspect there will be many toasts with this throughout 2017!
Sparkling Apple Cider $13.95
This is made from 5 or so local apples. Initial sensation is effervescence which almost overpowers the delicate apple and honey on the nose and palate. At 6% alcohol it would be a very refreshing sipper on a summer's day. I suspect it will have its following.
Chardonnay Private Reserve 2012 $32.95
This is a mature, golden straw coloured chardonnay, well aged in oak. My notes say 24 months as per our enthusiastic attendant at the winery. The web-site says over 12 months. Regardless oak is the dominant feature in this powerful wine's profile. Smooth on the palate, full bodied, nicely structured.
Red Trillium Ripasso $16.95
The Red Trillium Ripasso is a product of the 're-passing' of Vieni's 2013 Gamay Noir/Pinot Noir blend over the dried grape skins of their Appassimento. The result is a medium bodied wine with aromas of candied strawberry, fruity on the palate with light tannins and a medium finish. More body than a straight Gamay or Pinot Noir, slightly thick on the palate but an enjoyable sipper.
Appassimento 2012 $69.95
A blend of predominantly Aglianico with small amount each of Merlot, Cab Sauv and Cab Franc. It has a rich and robust nose, reminiscent of port probably somewhat due to the 16.5% alcohol level. It is rich and smooth on the palate with a rich, raisiny quality. Tannins are fine and smooth. Long, luxurious finish. Amarone style but very different grape profile.
Visit Vieni Estates website for info and tasting times.