The Cellar Salon | ‘The Big Reds’—Can The County Deliver?

The County Party: Big Reds Cellar Salon | October 15th, 2019

The MH Conservatory was the place to be for last week’s Big Reds. So many County wine lovers, so many County faves came out to celebrate our semi-controversial second Cellar Salon—Big Reds.

So, why was this a risqué topic? Well, the County isn’t known for our big reds and it’s the very thing a lot of incoming wineaux ask for. Facts are, our terroir is often likened to Chablis (Northernmost Wine Region in Burgundy and home of the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape) and many of our winemakers lean towards those Burgundian sensibilities in line with our County climate and special soils.

So, the questions stand: Can we produce the big Cali-Cabs and Bordeaux-like bottles that our peers are known for and should we? Here’s what we came up with.

Astrid on Big County Reds

“When you think about cool climate reds, “BIG” never comes to mind. I just love changing people’s minds, and we’ve got a diverse enough palette here in the County to make that possible. As for the “Elsewhere” selections, it was so hard to pick, but I wanted to do something a little off the beaten track and then round it off with a classic. It was a crowd-pleasing lineup for sure!”

Most Memorable Wine…

There were a lot of solid selections in this mix and we were excited to try the varying varietals (Pinotage in the County! What’s next?), however the MMW most memorable wine of the night goes definitively to Casa Dea Estate’s “Adamo” a wine that literally everyone was totally excited by and found to be a great example of a big County red (and several attendees mentioned they’d be picking up a case stat.) I guess we can call the ‘Big Reds’ Cellar Salon a success!

Big Reds: Wine Re-Cap


Karlo Estates Malbec Hillier 2017

Charred strawberry, pepper, and spice on the nose underpinning a core of blackberry fruit and tarry, grilled notes with just a hint of vanilla on the finish.

Rosehall Run Merlot “Small Lots” Hillier 2016

Red berries, cassis, and vanilla notes on the nose give way to bramble fruit on the palate with hints of cedary sweet tobacco, chocolate box, and spice. Finishes long with great balance and finesse.

Trail Estates Cabernet Franc “Unfiltered” Wingfield Vineyard, 20-Mile Bench, Niagara 2016

Rich and dark with elegant but grippy tannins enveloping cherry, raspberry, beetroot. Vanilla notes caress the red berry fruit through the long finish.

 Del Gatto Estates Pinotage “Odyssey” Waupoos 2018

Juicy and rich with typical flavours of roasted coffee and dark chocolate over a core of black cherry fruit. Creamy and opulent on the finish, makes you want to cuddle up around a roaring fire.

Sandbanks Estates “Entre Nous” Marechal Foch 2018

Assertive nose of jammy plums and raspberry with chocolate notes. Full-bodied and opulent on the palate with a long, satisfying finish. Much of the fruit was sourced from their estate vineyard and enhanced with select lots sourced in the Niagara Peninsula.

Casa Dea “Adamo” Apassimento Cabernet Franc Hillier 2016

Aged for 24 months in French oak, shows aromas of dried fruits and stewed cherry over a palate resplendent with red stone fruits, pipe tobacco, dark chocolate, and exotic spice.


Justin Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles, California USA 2016

Black berry fruit and spice on the nose, plush and decadent on the palate with notes of chocolate, black plums, blackcurrant, finishing with toasty oak, vanilla, and baking spice nestled firmly in the finish.

Domaine Tempier Bandol “Cuvee Classique” France 2016

Up-front vibrant purple fruit, cherries, spice, and smoke on the nose, hints of leather and tar, finishing with intense, ripe, supple tannins. (75% Mourvedre, 14% Grenache, 9% Cinsault, 2% Carignan)

Casina Bric Barolo Italy 2012

Intense balsamic aromas give way to great freshness on the palate, showing flavours of cherry, plum, anise, truffle, dried herbs, tobacco, and violets that sing through the finish.

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