Catch-up Post: Coyote’s Run

Oh boy. I’m really late catching up on these posts. I was almost going pass on posting and then I realized that this was the best wine trip we had ever had, and there was no way I wasn’t going to finish them, even if I was late!

So going back to where we left off on our late summer tour: We had finished the first day at Di Profio Wines. Sunday morning was the formal part of the tour, with a driver to get us around to the four wineries. 

I’ll cover breakfast and our first stop of the day (Coyote’s Run) in this post – the rest of the day’s stops will follow (soon, I promise!).


Great little breakfast spot!

On a previous visit down, Debbie and I had chanced upon The Bleu Turtle one evening. Normally just a breakfast/lunch place, they open up once a month or so to the regulars on a reservation basis. We had just walked in off the street and knew nothing about the fact that they aren’t a dinner place, nor that this was a reservation-only crowd. That night they had managed to squeeze us in and we enjoyed a fabulous meal. So when I was searching Yelp for breakfast joints near our hotel in Thorold and saw how close they were, four of the six of us headed over. Their breakfast fare is not just decent – it is fantastic. We enjoyed delicacies like Mushroom, truffle & goat cheese omelette and French toast with apples, maple cream, & oat crumble. All with fresh, made that day bread. Nothing beats a hearty breakfast before heading out for a day of wine touring.

Back at the Hotel we met up with Terry from Niagara Classic Transport and he showed us to our transportation for the day – a big, black stretch limo. The stretch limo ended up being the nicest method we have ever encountered for touring wine country. While not cheap even split between the 3 couples, but when you consider the costs of over-indulging and driving, it puts everything into perspective.

Off to Coyote’s Run

Arriving at Coyote’s Run, the sky looks a little ominous…

Whenever we organize tours, we tend to favour the smaller, family-owned wineries, and/or ones that we have never been to. With Debbie on a serious Chardonnay kick in the last year, she had fallen in love with the “Black Paw” Chardonnay from Coyote’s Run. They also happened to be a family run farm that we had never visited, so it was an obvious choice.

Introductions in the Tasting Room

Brian Yeo (otherwise known as @BeerlyBrian on Twitter) ended up being our beer (er wine) guide at Coyote’s Run. He started the tour explaining the main differences in the distinctly different soil types – the fuller bodied, more masculine wines coming from the more common “black” soil (containing a lot of organic matter), and the more delicate, floral (feminine) wines coming from the “red) soil, which is stonier and contains much more iron.

“Black Paw” Vineyards on the left, “Red Paw” on the right. I think.

Brian explained that ith 35 Acres planted, Pinot Noir dominates the acreage. Producing about 14,000 cases a year, the LCBO snaps up about 8000 cases divided amongst 5 different general list products. The rest is sold through the winery, restaurants, or Vintages releases. The Estate wines typically have production of 300 cases or less.

Lots of interest in what they do and how they do it…

Obligatory Barrel Shot

Love the eyes on this guy

As we made out way through the production area, Brian spouted off more facts and anecdotes with ease. We ended up back where we had started in the tasting room. 

Refreshingly Cool in Here

Engineers love machinery…

We were luck to have timed this trip with the weekend pre-release of the 2010 “Rare Vintage” wines. Here’s what we tasted:

2011 Red Paw Pinot Gris $17.95: A very fresh nose of lime citrus slightly obscures a light herbaceousness that was hard to pin down. It reminded me of asparagus, one of the tour group thought it smelled like marijauna (if the RCMP is reading this, I have his contact info for you). The palate is crisp and juicy, leading to a slightly bitter lemon peel finish.

2010 Rare Vintage Red Paw Pinot Gris $24.95: Taking a fine Pinot Gris and putting it in 6-7 year old oak for just 4 months can certainly change the makeup of the wine. Although there was still a fresh central core to this wine, the time in barrel smoothed out any rough edges, added light toast and vanilla hues, and gave a great lemon-vanilla finish.

Tasting the Rare Vintages

2010 Red Paw Chardonnay $21.95: Much more delicate than the Black Paw Chardonnay my wife fell in love with previously, this one is red aples, citrus, and light butterscotch and smoke notes on the nose. There is a hint of tropical fruit and almost a light floral note on the wine. The palate is smooth, apple cream pie, with a delicious finish that lingers for just the right length of time.

2010 Black Paw Chardonnay $21.95: With stronger notes of green apple and citrus dominating the nose, the palate gushes with full-bodied fruit. There is a dreamy creaminess and smokiness to this wine from the decent oak integration that made it Debbie’s favourite Chardonnay of 2010.

2010 Rare Vintage Red Paw Pinot Noir $49.95: Comprised of the 828 clone only, this Pinot is big. It has a husky cherry nose and alcohol says it is not messing around. There is significant sweet spice and light earthy notes behinds the cherry that speaks to the significant oak aging. The body is full, supple, and juicy with an ultra-long sweet spice & raspberry-cherry finish.

2010 Rare Vintage Syrah $24.95: The nose could fool you into thinking this is a warm-climate shiraz – lots of juicy dark fruit, sweet spice, and hints of black pepper. The palate is more conservative and I found the blueberry dominated fruit was almost tart in comparison with the nose. The acidity in the wine keeps it very refreshing and the then finishes more like a Rhone style syrah, with a somewhat long, peppery finish.

2010 Rare Vintage Meritage $32.95: mostly Merlot and Cab Sauv, some Cab Franc is added to round out the flavour profile. Dark cherry dominates the nose, with smoky plum and cassis notes poking through. On the palate, the wine was still somewhat tight, with cherry, cassis, and some tart cranberry thrown in. I recently tried this again at the Ottawa Wine and Food show and it is mellowing out, although I am going to hang onto mine for several more years before opening.

2010 Rare Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon $24.95: The first time Coyote’s Run have done a single variety Cabernet Sauvignon, and what a vintage to start with! The nose is big, dark fruit with hints of violet and mocha. The palate is all about big fruit – cassis, blueberry, and blackberry liquer. Matched with great tannic structure, this is another wine that I want to hang onto.

All of us left here with cases of wine. A fine start to a great day of tasting.

Where to find them (easy if you use the Uncork Ontario app!):
Coyote’s Run Estate Winery
Box 113, Concession 5 Rd. St. David’s, ON

Acknowledgements: All photos in this article courtesy of Andrew Weber, the member of the tour not in any of the photos. 🙂

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