Day 27: Jabulani Winery – A Going (and Growing) Concern

jabulani sign

I have no excuse. Jabulani is the closest operating winery to my house (for now), and we love owners Tom & Janet. Yet we realized that we hadn’t been out there for two full seasons. With their extended season ending today (September 27th), we decided to stop in yesterday on a beautiful afternoon.

The first change you notice is that the winery is now located in a beautiful post & beam

Jabulani Winery Barn

The new facility, with the pea-stone patio

structure much closer to the road, rather than in the basement of their house which is set back a little further. With super high ceilings, radiant heat flooring, and lots of light they have created a great tasting bar, production area, storage cellar, as well as leaving lots of room to host weddings & parties.

It doesn’t mean that they have given up on the pea-stone patio though, recreating a much larger area with barrels and tables outside to host large and small groups alike. In the hour that we visited, more than 40 people arrived for tastings, and we noted many of them leaving with a case under their arms.

Tom continues to make nearly all of his wines with a combination of his local hybrid grapes and fruit sourced from Niagara (the Chardonnays are the exception), and has about 2 dozen wines on offer! We tried several that we had not tasted from Jabulani before. All wines are quite reasonably priced, although that may change with the increased prices they will have to pay for the Niagara fruit this year.

Here’s a few of the wines we sampled:

2012 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay: Smoky notes, toast, flint, green apple and light citrus. On the palate, there’s a creamy sweetness that reminded me of apple custard, with some light stone fruit and influences. Deb noted a toasted marshmallow note and I had to agree. Minerality and light smoke on the finish. 14.6% ABV, $17.

2011 Barrel Aged Field Blend Chardonnay: There’s more tropical fruit noticeable in this one, despite 2011 being a cooler year. I detect pineapple, sweet baked apples, and hints of caramel…reminding me of a caramel apple pie. Rich. 14.6% ABV, $15.

2014 Rosé: Tom explains that he gave the Frontenanc Gris about 30 minutes of contact roseto transfer some skin colour to this wine, and then added 4% Sabrevois to give it a kick of red fruit notes. I get the red candied fruit on the nose, and the palate is at first off-dry, then transitions to red grapefruit, finishing with a cleansing white grapefruit pith. 14.4% ABV, $14.

2012 Marquette/Cab Franc Select: A blend of 60% Marquette, 40% Cab Franc, this one has loads of red and black cherry on the nose, sweet spice, and a light earthy component. On the palate, loads of black cherry, cassis, and plum, with red fruit taking over mid-way. Nice tannic structure will hold this for a few years, or serve now with some rare meat. 15.1% ABV, $18.

2012 Marquettage: This one is Tom’s blend of Marquette (58%), Merlot (16%), MarquettageFrontenac Noir (12%), Syrah (10%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (4%). The nose has loads of fruit, both dried and fresh, with plums, black cherry, red cherry, and cassis. There’s sweet spice and pepper. The palate is smooth juicy fruit, then a drying cherry finish with a hint of vanilla.Tannins are present but quite refined. 15.1% ABV, $24.

The Winery

Jabulani Winery is only open today, then closes for the season. They open up the two weekends before Christmas, and then not again until June 2016 for the season.

Jabulani Winery
8005 Jock Trail, Richmond (south west of Ottawa)


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