Alvento Winery

After taking this picture, I tweeted that I was really hoping it wasn’t the last time I saw this sign. Based on the feedback I got, I would say there are a lot of folks hoping the same.

Hoping this isn't the last time I see the "Open" sign...

With all the sad news over the dissolving of the partnership that was/is Alvento winery, we really wanted to stop in and see Bruno Moos and Elyane Grenier (proprietors of Alvento Winery). We started with a great chat over coffee and Bruno walked me through a living history of the Tuscany region and the whole history of “Super Tuscans” and the battle of big, bold wines over lighter, food friendly wines. Bruno is like a walking history book and having owned his own vineyard there, is likely one of the best historians we have on that region. I know he certainly added details that were missing from my class studies of Italian wine, and brought the entire subject to life!

One of my favourite people to visit in Ontario wine industry

Bruno then took us through an extensive tasting, including many barrel samples. On the way into the production area we passed a mountain of wine cases…Bruno informed us that he was sitting on more than 42,000 bottles of existing stock! I didn’t realize that he had as much finished wine as he did as he is a smaller producer and a lot of his wine is aged for some time.

Here’s what we tasted:

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon: Still a little rough around the edges given that it was recently harvested, I found this one tasted fairly tart and it was reminiscent of cranberries. Lots of acidity on the finish combined with the cranberry left me puckering a little.

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (take 2): This one was much smoother and seemed much more full-bodied that the previous bottle. The fruits were more integrated and much smoother overall. Bruno then told us that he had blended 15% 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon with the 2011. What a difference it made!

2011 Merlot: This was just busting with fruit – raspberry and sour plums. I sure hope we get to see this in a future release…maybe even as a single varietal.

2006 Elige: This blend (Cabernet Sauvignon 65%, Merlot 33%, Cabernet Franc 2% ) has a great nose of dark, rich fruit, vanilla, leather, and chocolate with hints of candied fruit in the background. The palate was very similar with well balanced oak & tannins, and a sweet spice component.

2006 Emilie: A blend of Cab Franc (70%) and Merlot (30%). This wine is very reminiscent of Spanish or Portuguese wine, with loads of dried fruit and leather on the nose and palate, and a nice smokiness that lingers.

2004 Elige: Another very European style wine, this one had loads of leather and dried fruit, with the addition of mocha on the palate. Bruno informed us that this had been their first year of operation (and not a fantastic year for these varietals) and the wine had been very green at first. Over time it has matured into a very drinkable blend. When Bruno told us that he had a case sale on ($10 a bottle when bought by the case), we quickly decided to load up the car with several cases.

2007 Viognier: A nose of honey and almonds, and a palate of luscious fruit (peaches, apricots) and nuts. This is a handsome example of Ontario Viognier, and I knew we would be bringing some of this home.

Bruno’s case sale went very well and he did indeed sell out of the 2004 Elige. Fingers crossed that their legal battles turn out favourably for this gentle couple and they continue to be such a unique fixture of the Niagara wine scene.

***Update*** I exchanged messages with Bruno and he informed me that the winery is listed for sale now, so they are anxious to see what happens. (Note to self – must buy a lottery ticket this week!)

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