An unusual title, I agree. But let me explain.
I first heard of Leaning Post wines a couple years ago from Rick Van Sickle. I had contacted them about putting their winery in my app, but they weren’t ready to go back in 2012. Fast forward many months and I start seeing activity on Twitter and Facebook that they are readying the winery to open, and then finally…they are open just before we head down to Niagara in December.
We make arrangements to meet them on a blustery December Saturday, and arrive a little later than planned but they are still waiting for us (thankfully). They welcome us into their rustic barn – which is more reminiscent of the wineries of Prince Edward County than most of the wineries in the Niagara region. They’ve spent much time getting it functional while trying to leave the history and feel of yesterday intact. It’s quaint, nicely decorated, and everything about it screams cozy.
We chat briefly about the winery, and how it came to be with both of them working full time jobs and with young children (Ilya is the winemaker at Foreign Affair winery). They are warm, welcoming folks (both from the Winnipeg area if my notes aren’t wrong) and we could have sat there chatting all evening. Eventually Ilya suggests we try some wine, so we proceed to taste through the lineup of wines they have on offer.
2012 Leaning Post Wines Chardonnay: This oak-fermented and oak-aged delight is vibrant and lively. The nose is red apples, brioche, and caramel apple pie. The palate adds some green apple and citrus, light lemon curd. The wine is lush and smooth in your mouth at first, and then the lively acidity kicks in and leaves some lemon pith lingering on a crisp finish. $35, 170 cases
Leaning Post 2010 Lowrey Vineyard Pinot Noir: With an expressive nose of cherry, cranberry, and sweet spice, the wine becomes more intriguing with more air time – this is the kind of Pinot you want to have over the course of an evening, discovering it bit by bit. The palate repeats, but the sweet cherry turns slightly tart and the cranberry notes kick in to remind you that this wine will match nicely with food. Moderate tannins will hold this for a while if you want to put it away. $38, 125 cases.
Leaning Post 2010 Merlot: This was a very interesting wine. Ilya explained that he had made this in 2010 and it was sitting in oak. It was “doing nothing” for 24.5 months in oak and then at 25 months it finally blossomed. He admitted that he was ready to sell it as bulk juice at 24 months, but he is glad now that he hung onto it. Deep ruby-purple hues hint at the complexity. Plums, black cherry, and hints of vanilla and mint greet the nose. This is a monster Merlot that is not for the faint of heart – big fruit, solid structure, and hearty tannins will carry this beauty for a long aging period if you so desire. The finish is tart Damascus plum, and slightly chalky (but not grippy) tannins. A keeper! $38, 115 cases.
Leaning Post 2012 Syrah (Barrel Sample): A delightful mix of sweet cherry and alcohol (a bit reminiscent of cherry cough syrup) dominates the nose, with hints of black pepper hiding in the background. On the palate, lush, rich cherry intermingles with a decent helping of pepper, some dark fruit notes, and hint of herbaceousness more like Jalapeno pepper than bell pepper. Modest tannins and a peppery finish indicate another wine I would love to pair with food. Watch for the spring release of this one.
It was getting dark and we felt like we should be going. We wrapped up some purchases and I took a few more shots of the interior of the ancient barn. We really didn’t want to leave just yet…
“Wait,” you’re saying (if indeed you are still reading), “What about Larry the Lover?”. Ahh yes. Larry. So one of the funny things we noticed was this sign (below) painted on the door. As Ilya & Nadia were renovating, they came across this sign, incorrect spelling and all. Given the age of the barn, no one knows for sure when it was painted and they decided to leave it as a piece of history? Larry? Well there was another sign painted on a different door which had to be removed in order to facilitate the production area. That sign read “Larry is a good lover”. Although it would have added to the quirky nature of the old building, that one had to go.
Leaning Post Winery:
Address: 1491 Hwy 8, Stoney Creek, ON (One of the first wineries you encounter when coming into the region from the North)
Open: Fri-Sun 11-5