Ottawa’s Jabulani Vineyard & Winery Expanded Offering For 2012

I’ve written about Jabulani a couple times admitttedly because it is the closest winery to my house, but also because I enjoy the wines that winemaker/owner Tom Moul is producing. He and his wife Janet are superb people to visit with and they enjoy sharing their wines and experiences with those that grace their doors.

Owner/Winemaker Tom Moul explains his techniques

With a significant increase to 18 tons of grapes processed this year, Jabulani has expanded the depth and breadth of their wine offerings. While 2011 saw 6 wines on offer, the 2012 season expands this to 14 different wines!

The Patio

We went out quite some time ago (long time getting this post up) to sample the new wines on offer in an amazing event where Tom and Janet paired the wines with food courses. It was a small event with roughly 10 in attendance, so we had lots of time to interact with the winery owners.

Trying my hand at battonage…

While waiting for one of the last confirmed attendees to arrive, Tom invited us (many of whom were Algonquin Sommelier program students) to try his 2011 Barrel Aged Chardonnay. The really neat thing is that we got to try it pre and post-battonage, and had direct experience with realizing the buttery influences the lees adds to the wine through that frequent battonage. Tom even let us do the battonage, a first for many of us, myself included.

Here’s what we sampled:

Frontenac Gris/Vidal

2011 Frontenac Gris/Vidal: Continuing on the success of the 2010, Tom again blended his local Frontenac Gris with the Vidal he brings in from Niagara. As I just learned in my New World Wine course, some South African winemakers de-acidify their wine and Tom did this with the Frontenac Gris before blending. The wine is pale in colour, with nose and palate dominated by crisp, fresh citrus, with secondary notes of peach and pear, and even lighter minerality. Although the Residual Sugar is the same as the 2010 vintage, I found this wine seemed much smoother and enjoyable and I think Tim has hit the mark with his “Girlie Wine” label (again that’s not my phrase!). $11

2011 Sauvignon Blanc/Frontenac Gris: With 70% Sauvignon Blanc, this wine exhibits the grassy, asparagus notes expected, but lacks the gooseberry I would expect. The wine is dry with fairly dominant mineral notes on the finish. Tom was worried that the Sauv Blanc was too “grassy” when he first received it, using the phrase “like licking a weedeater” to describe the wine pre-processing. Time (and a nice citrus kick from the Frontenac Gris) has mellowed this into another delicious patio sipper. $12

Frontenac Gris/Pinot Grigio

2010 Frontenac Gris/Pinot Grigio: With light floral notes and citrus on the nose, the palate adds a nice chalky minerality and sweet spice. Despite it seeming a bit drier than the 8g/L RS and the 12.9% alcohol, Tom mentioned that people were enjoying this with spicy food.

Next we moved into the Chardonnays. Tom decided to go with three different styles of Chardonnay for 2012, and it was interesting to see the differences.

Did I mention the food pairings? They were delicious!

1: Barrel Aged Field Blend Chardonnay (2010): With no malolactic, this wine is green apple, citrus, smoke, and toast on the nose. On the palate, apple pie, caramel, and some nice brioche notes were present. New French oak is used twice each harvest – once for the Barrel Ferment, and then this wine comes in for the Barrel Aged wine. $15

2: Frontenac Gris & Un-oaked Chardonnay (2011): With maximum yeast exposure (this wine was left sur lees after fermentation) but no oak or malolactic fermentation, the nose is ripe tropical fruits and candied pineapple and oranges. Lots of citrus in the palate keeps it refreshing. $15

3. Barrel Fermented Chardonnay¬†(2011): Fermenting the wine in the new French oak gives it quite significant oak extraction – which shows both in the colour (deep golden yellow) and the nose – with lots of butterscotch and caramel notes above the fruit. On the palate, it is like a caramel apple-pie with strong mineral core and a surprisingly fresh acidity. The finish is ‘oh so long’ butterscotch apple. $17

Before I talk about the reds, I need to mention the Marquette grape as most people have never heard of it. A cold-hardy hybrid grape that can withstand the winter temperatures here, Marquette typically has cherry, cassis notes but can also exhibit notes of blackberries, pepper, plum, tobacco, leather, and spice. There are a couple wineries in Ontario making a single-variety Marquette, but most tend to blend it with other varietals.

2011 Marquette Cabernet: With the different grapes (Marquette, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon) fermented separately, Tom was able to employ a couple of interesting techniques. He used extended maceration on the Marquette, then added the Marquette juice to the Cab Franc & Cab Sauv skins and restarted fermentation. The nose is dark chocolate, dark cherries and smoke. There is a black pepper stream in the background that continues into the cherry-dominated palate. The finish is dark chocolate cherry, with light tannins making it quite drinkable now. My grandfather would have liked the price:alcohol ration of this one at $16 and 15.5% ABV.

Marquette Shiraz

2011 Marquette/Shiraz: With a 65/35 blend of the two grapes, Tom noted that this was less peppery than the 2010 and more French than New World in style. The nose is big dark fruit, black and white pepper, and a hint of something herbaceous (not really green pepper, but more herb-like). There’s a lot of heat (alcohol is 15.1%) here and this brings along some menthol notes. With a cherry dominated palate, the finish is long dark chocolate. $17

Marquette Cabernet Franc Barrel Select

2010 Marquette/Cab Franc Barrel Select: Tom has some “Barrel Select” wines which were his better wines from 2010 that he decided to leave on oak longer (in this case 18 months). I found this one to be a really interesting and complex wine with stewed fruits, leather, earthiness, and a hint of green pepper in the background. The tannins are well integrated and smooth, making this a fine wine to drink now. 15.1% ABV, $18.

Marquette Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Select

2010 Marquette/Cab Sauv Barrel Select:
With the same process as the Cab Franc, this wine exhinits notes of roasted red pepper, strawberry, cherry, and raspberry. On the palate I found milk chocolate and cherry, sweet spices, and those nicely integrated tannins again added a nice mouthfeel. Long black cherry & cassis finish. 14% ABV, $22.

Marquette Merlot Barrel Select

2010 Marquette/Merlot Barrel Select: With a nose dominated by sweet damson plums, there are secondary notes of sweet spice and black cherries that keep it complex. The smooth, full-bodied fruit on the palate is dominated by dark cherries, plums, and blackberries. There is a long, long dark plum finish. 15.3% ABV, $22.

Marquette Shiraz Barrel Select

2010 Marquette/Shiraz Barrel Select:
Again in a Rhone style, this is a big, luscious, fruit-dominated wine that exudes smoky, peppery notes over the fruit. There is great acidity and balanced tannins. The spicy full mouthfeel fades to a smooth finish. 14.3%, $24

Tom then told us the story behind the name for the next wine. They had decided to make a slightly sweet strawberry wine. After fermentation, the wild turkeys in the area got into the residual strawberry hulls that Tom had thrown in the compost pile. After over-indulging, they ended up with a bunch of wild turkeys who had had ‘one too many’.

2011 Tipsy Turkey Strawberry Wine:
With a full nose and mouth of strawberries, this straddles the line between a sweet patio sipper and a dessert wine. Tom acidified the strawberry wine but still found it a bit flabby so he blended in some Frontenac Gris and Frontenac Blanc to increase the acidity. The palate moves from all strawberry fruit to a bit of a burnt sugar, and then finishes strong strawberry again. Ironically, I could see this pairing well with Turkey! A whopping 14.5% ABV, $13.

Jeripigo (Sold Out): According to, The “wines” are actually unfermented and the sweet grape must is fortified with wine spirit. The result is a very sweet, fresh fruity drink with alcohol backing. With port the grapes are fermented to a certain residual sugar level and then spirits are added to stop the fermentation. Tom’s process is more like the port process whereby he ferments the grapes until about 10% ABV, then adds grappa to stop the fermentation process. The result is a plump, honeyed dessert-style white wine with raisins and marzipan/almond in a luscious liquid. We had picked up some of the $7, 100ml bottles at Christmas (it was also offered in a $15, 250ml bottle).

Located in the west end of Ottawa not too far from Richmond, Jabulani is easily accessible and well worth the visit. There’s a great peastone patio and they also serve wines by the glass if you would just like to sit for a while and savour one of the many wines. They are only open for the next couple weekends – why not head out there before the summer finishes?

Location: 8005 Jock Trail Road
Phone: 613-454-5460
Hours: 11-6, Friday-Sunday (summer)

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