Estate: Committed to creating a legacy for the generations to follow him, 3rd generation winemaker Gary Pillitteri founded the Pillitteri Winery in 1993. Gary began working in the vineyards alongside his grandfather and father in his native Sicily, and carried his passion for viticulture to Canada. Initially he and his wife grew fruits and vegetables on the estate, but in 1998 Gary decided to experiment with making a small batch of Vidal Icewine. Upon winning a gold medal right out of the starting gate, Gary decided to plant vines and open a winery. Today there are just over 100 acres of vineyards, and Gary’s grandchildren [who grew up working in the vineyards] are managing the export side of the winery, establishing themselves as the 5th generation of the Pillitteri winemaking family. Alongside their renowned Icewine, [which is currently receiving many accolades in the UK] the estate also crafts traditional Niagara wines such as Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
Winemaking: “Hand selected by winemaker Aleksandar Kolundzic, from a select number of barrels as his personal favourite.” Barrel aged in French oak for 24 months. The inspiration for the label of the ‘Exclamation Winemaker’s Select’ wines derives from the 23 stainless steel chairs commissioned by Gary & Lena Pillitteri that now hang on the walls in the barrel cellar at Pillitteri Estates. [The number 23, and combinations of 2’s and 3’s has been significant to Gary Pillitteri throughout his entire life, the estate also has a line of ‘Twenty-Three’ wines.]
Tasting Notes: Garnet in colour with aromas of black cherry, black pepper, sea salt and caramel. Black and red cherry driven, with grilled herbs, a streak of sea salt minerality and silky tannins. Black pepper, smoky caramel and chocolate keep you reaching for more on the lengthy, velvety finish.
Merlot [I could not verify varietal percentage.]
Niagara on the Lake VQA
$68 [Canadian Dollars]
Enjoy now thru 2019