Between the Lines Winery

Located in Niagara on the Lake in Ontario, Canada, Between the Lines Winery is run by brothers Greg and Yannick Wertsch. They grew up in Germany working their grandfather’s vineyards, when the family came to Canada their father purchased land in order to carry on the family’s winemaking traditions. The name of the winery is a reflection of the roads in the area, which are labeled north/south as Line 1 Rd, Line 2 Rd, etc. [If they had used their surname, the pronunciation would have resulted in it sounding like “Worst Winery”]

Greg studied Wine Economics at Geisenheim University in Germany. He is the more public face of the winery and manages the marketing and day-to-day operations. Yannick studied winemaking and viticulture at Niagara College, and then continued at Weinbauschule University in Weinsberg, Germany. He is known as “the quiet one” and focuses on winemaking, “allowing the region to speak for itself instead of influencing it through aging or other winemaking processes”. Their red wines are only briefly barrel aged in order to maintain the terroir and preserve the fruit character.

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Greg explaining his innovative ‘Origin’, sparkling Vidal single serving cans. At the time of my visit it was unreleased. It is now taking the market by storm and receiving fantastic reviews.

During our visit*, I had the immense pleasure of a private tasting with Greg. Knowing your soil is one of the foundations of winemaking and Greg provided in-depth detail about the distinctive terroir of their 40 acres of vineyards. Pockets of glacial deposits cut across the land, so the soil can dramatically change every couple of feet. The main soil is mixed, sandy loam, whilst the glacial deposits are heavy clay. They take advantage of these contrasting characteristics to suit different varietals needs. Cabernet Franc is planted in the lighter soils, as it receives more heat, whilst Chardonnay is grown in the clay deposits, as clay remains cooler in the heat.

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Between the Lines Riesling 2014
Their Riesling is the result of years of listening to what their customers are looking for and experimenting with different fermentation approaches. People were not interested in a dry Riesling, so they use maolactic fermentation on half the volume of the wine. Malic acid confers granny smith and buttery notes and removes some of the acidity and dryness.
Fresh and fruity with citrus, apples and minerals. Light, clean and crisp, this is perfect for summer sipping.
$15 [Canadian Dollars]

Between the Lines Gewurztraminer 2014
Well balanced, with a fantastic play of sweetness and acidity. Loaded with fresh fruit [peach, apricot traces of mango] along with hints of buttery fruit tart, culminating in a fruity finish.
11.5% Alcohol
$15 [Canadian Dollars]

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Between the Lines Pinot Noir 2013
The 2013 harvest saw the Pinot Noir grapes coming in with high alcohol; they did open fermentation in order to reduce the level. Aged for 3 months in French oak barrels, the wine was very aromatic with aromas of cherry and sun warmed bricks. Soft cherry and black cherry flavours are backed by a food friendly acidity, finishing with hints of earth and dried cherry. [The brothers are honored that this has been selected as the official Red Wine served and sold at Ontario’s Legislative Assembly for 2016. In fact, during our visit, they were in the process of removing the original label and replacing it with one chosen by the Assembly.]
13% Alcohol
$16 [Canadian Dollars]

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Between the Lines Meritage Reserve 2013
Aged for 18 months in oak, Cabernet Franc is the star of this blend. Bright tart fruit harmonizes with a streak of almost smoky minerality. Fantastic with hearty dishes.
12.5% Alcohol
$28 [Canadian Dollars]

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Between the Lines Vidal Icewine 2013
Decidedly different from many Icewines, this is wonderfully balanced with a vibrant acidity to break up the sugar. Gorgeous, rich pear, peach, and honey flavours are never overwhelming. This is fantastic with both sweet and savory dishes.
11% Alcohol
$40

*During our visit to NOTL [Niagara on the Lake] in Ontario, my husband and I booked an all day, private winery tour with Niagara Vintage Tours. Check out their fantastic array of tours and packages here. Our driver Chris, was incredibly engaging and all around fantastic. He took the time to learn what we were most interested in, and focused the tour around those aspects.

Wine Riot NYC!

I was looking forward to attending Wine Riot NYC this past weekend, and it did not disappoint. With 300 wines set up in a trade show manner by distributor, maker or region in the massive 69th Regiment Armory, it did take a few minutes to get my bearings. Whilst I had every intention of taking a systematic approach, I of course went about in an entirely non-methodical manner, just sort of wandering about the labyrinth of tables.

Ultimately, I tasted about 50 diverse wines, ranging from some that I absolutely loved to mediocre to a couple that were, honestly, rather dreadful. Overall, it was a thoroughly fabulous adventure, and difficult for me to distill all of my notes and photos into a post rather than a small novel. Below is the condensed version of my favourite wines that I will be seeking out to enjoy from my local wine shops.

Three absolutely spectacular wines from the Languedoc, all biodynamic [and vinified with indigenous yeasts, unfiltered and unrefined] with a lovely balance of fruit, spice and earth. One always hears the term ‘Garrique’ in describing the distinctive earthy, shrub and herb flavours in wines from southern France. I thought it was rather fantastic that they had a glass jar filled with ‘Garrique’, it was such a practical way to detect and understand such a fundamental characteristic.
Mas Foulaquier L’Orphee Pic Saint-Loup 2010 $19


Well structured with blackberry blueberry, Mediterranean herbs and a compelling flinty minerality.
Chateau Maris Natural Selection Biodynamic Syrah 2009 $17
Minervois la Liviniere
Black currant, blackberry and black peppercorn notes accompanied an earthy undercurrent of roasted herbs and velvety tannins. Fantastic with all kinds of spicy dishes or sipping on its own.
85% Syrah, 15% Grenache


Domaine des Deux Anes L’Enclos Corbieres 2009 $19
If I were asked what does a Languedoc wine taste like, I would give this a pour to explain. Packed with rich velvety flavours of blackberry, black cherry, smoky herbs, black peppercorn and hints of chocolate. A fantastic expression of southern French reds.
50% Grenache Noir, 20% Carignan, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah

I’m a huge fan of budge friendly Bordeaux, and the ladies at Bordeaux Wines really brought some fantastic gems for everyday enjoyment.

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Vidal-Fleury Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise Réserve 2009

 


Following our wonderful and delightfully calm dinner at Wilton’s, I selected Vidal-Fleury Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise Réserve 2009 to accompany my much anticipated trifle. Founded in 1781, Vidal-Fleury is the oldest continuously operating winery in the Rhône Valley. Since the 1920’s they have been making and marketing wines with a focus on the unique characteristics each terrior has to offer in the Rhône Valley.

Pale gold in colour, aromas of white lilies, honeysuckle and peach radiated from the glass. Candied pear and sweet red apple flavours were joined by a fresh acidity in the light to medium body. Clove spiced honey notes comprised the rich finish. Well-balanced sweetness makes this lovely with desert or as an engaging aperitif.

100% Muscat
Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise
France
Bottled by Vidal-Fleury
15% Alcohol
$25 [average price]
Enjoy thru 2019

Rated 90 points by Wine Advocate
Rated 88 points by Wine Spectator

Chateau les Sablines Monbazillac Bordeaux 2009



Bordeaux Tasting, wine #7

Chateau les Sablines Monbazillac Bordeaux 2009

 

Monbazillac is an appellation within Bordeaux for sweet wine covering nearly 2000 hectares of vineyards in the village of Monbazillac in southwest France. The wines produced are a blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle and are similar to that of the more expensive Sauternes; however there is a higher amount of Muscadelle in Monbazillac wines. Dating back to 1833, Château Les Sablines is located in the heart of the Dordogne and practices Viticulture Raisonnée, a French initiative that began in 1993 to clean up vineyards, especially in Champagne. In addition to having an emphasis on protecting the environment and using natural practices, the method includes not using chemicals in the vineyard and preserving the soil and natural ecosystem.

 

Deep yellow in colour, sweet, tropical aromas of honeysuckle, apricot and passionfruit radiated from the glass. Concentrated flavours of apricot, peach, honey and traces of orange blossom abounded in the light to medium body. A fresh acidity kept each sip light and refreshing, whilst cozy traces of cinnamon and honey lingered between each decadent sip. Delightfully summery and fantastically sweet, this is a wonderful glass with both desert and appetizers. [Especially tasty with salty cheeses as the sweetness mellows and the cheese will really pop!]

 

Blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle
Monbazillac/ Bordeaux
France
Mis en Bouteille au Château [Estate Bottled]
13% Alcohol
$16 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2019