Ridge Road Winery – A Detailed Look

I first met Ridge Road Winery owners Jayne and Sean Douglas at Fiesta Buckhorn in July 2010. I had planned to visit their winery with the tour I was organizing in August that year, but as things turned out, they were too far out of the Bench to make it there and back in the jam-packed day we had. So a couple of us stopped into the winery on the way into Niagara (they are on the first edge of the Niagara Escarpment, almost out in Stoney Creek. The friends we brought thought it was the best stop on the tour of 12 wineries we visited that weekend because of the relaxing, friendly environment they have created inside the winery.

Debbie and I have met up with Sean and Jayne at a couple shows since, so we were really looking forward to a nice, relaxed visit with them on our way home from Tastecamp. It always feels like we are visiting old friends whenever we see them. Jayne always has something out to nibble on (try the Verjus bread dip if it is available) and they are in the process of expanding to have a fine selection of cheeses.

We got there early afternoon and there was no one else in the winery, so we had them all to ourselves! We went through a nearly complete tasting lineup with them and chatted about what was new with the wines and life in general. They have 30 acres on the escarpment, about 10 acres planted today. A parents farm a few doors away also has a few acres planted and they use only fruit from that particular area (escarpment) in their wines.

Here’s the notes from what we sampled.

2010 Unoaked Chardonnay: Apple & pear nose and a secondary of something tropical (kiwi?) with a clean citrus finish on the palate and some nice acidity. A great deal at $14.95!

2009 Barrel-fermented Chardonnay: Although this had a relatively modest oaking, there is a nice smooth butterscotch on the palate over the tropical, buttery nose. I don’t like over-oaked chardonnay’s and this one definitely was right up my alley. Ridge Road tries to keep their prices modest and this Chardonnay at $16.95 is another great value.

2010 Intersection: The Riesling and Gewurztraminer grapes had lower acidity this year because of the heat so Sean added some Chardonnay to pick up the acidity. The Gewurtz adds a nice lychee and floral component, the Riesling adds a honey nose and a nice citrus finish, and the Chardonnay adds apple to the nose and acidity to the finish. A great combo summer sipper at $15.95.

2009 Pinot Noir: Quite a funky nose at first, it settles out with 10-15 minutes in the glass to reveal spice and cherry nose, tart cranberry and dark, rich cherries on the palate. Fine balance of tannins makes for a smooth experience. I would hold this for a few years, or decant for a couple hours before serving. $19.95.

2008 Baco Noir: This wine shows characteristic intense and inky purple-red. At first the nose is strong tobacco leaf, but after a few minutes warming in the glass, the leather moves to the back and the bright berries and oak come forward to take center stage. Considering the year, there’s lots of complexity in this wine to make it enjoyable over and over again. $14.95

We realized we had skipped the Rieslings so we finished up with those just as some other guests arrived.

2008 Riesling: Great mineral on the nose with fairly strong petrol. Sean explained that this comes from the limestone rock in the escarpment where they are based. There is a lot of honey mid-palate with the citrus, and it tastes like more than the 7g/L residual sugar. Nice crisp finish. $14.95

2009 Riesling: This one is a blend of two clones and has a lot more citrus and peach fruit on the nose which overpowers the light petrol. A nice cleansing finish makes you want another sip, and another, and so on. Good thing we had to leave. $15.95

It was great catching up with Sean and Jayne again and I can’t wait to see what they do with the 2010 reds. I’ve had some of his 2007 Baco (actually still have a bottle) so I’m expecting great things with the 2010. And of course we brought a bunch of wine home to hold us until we can get down again.

This entry was posted in Experience, Review, Tasting, Winery and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.