Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cool climate, epitomized

Toronto has been experiencing quite a strange summer so far. For the last 4 weeks, we haven't really seen temperatures rise to even 25°. I know people make cracks about Canadians living in igloos, but this is getting ridiculous. Totally uncharacteristic of even a Canadian summer.

We get a fairly short summer, but during those 3 months, we get intense heat and humidity. Yes, we do get heat spikes. This year, for some reason, we have yet to see any significant, prolonged heat.

Which is a good thing. Save electricity, money. Be more environmentally friendly. But also good in another way. 2009 will truly be a cool climate vintage. Perhaps it's a bit too early to make that judgement, but we're into July, with no sign of any increase in temperature.

Niagara benefits from a cooler, longer, dry growing season. That's why vintages like 2006 and 2008 were successful. I've really enjoyed the 2008 wines I've tasted so far because of the delicate bouquets, and incredible acidity. If 2009 continues as planned, these wines should be spectacular. 2008 was plagued by rain, a problem that we're not seeing so far this year.

I'm learning to enjoy minor vintages more and more, vintages that the so called experts write off. I'm finding vintages like 2008 show so well, in terms of aromatics, balance, and subtlety. My kind of wines! 2007 was a blockbuster, undoubtedly. But these may not be the best expressions for true Niagara wines - riesling, pinot noir, chardonnay. Wines like pinot noir especially benefit from cool growing conditions. The 2008 Flat Rock I drank last week - a fine wine indeed.

So don't complain that it doesn't feel tropical this summer. I, for one, am excited to see what happens.

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