It was October 2011, when I did my review of 13th Street Winery, and back then I was impressed with the organization. Lots have changed when I visited the winery in September of this year. They tore down the red barn that housed their gift shop and green house, and built a new building that is several times more spacious for guest to come and taste their wines than before. The old tasting area is now the gift shop and bakery. Thankfully, the Gallery Room that houses artwork and a beautiful, very long wooden table from Indonesia is still in place. The winery has now introduced two wine clubs, to which I belong to the Cellar Door. Managing all this is their new Sommelier; Corinne Maund, who did an excellent job pairing wines with chef Josh Berry when I attended the winery’s Wine Experience Dinner on November 22, 2018. More on that later.
Winemaker Jean Pierre Colas (JP) has made a name for himself in the wine business in 1998, when Wine Spectator Magazine awarded his Domaine Laroche Grand Cru Les Clois 1996 as White Wine of the Year. Furthermore, that same year, Wine Enthusiast awarded 99 pts for his Grand Cru Chablis Blanchots “Reserve de L’obedience” 1996. He has continued his success at 13th Street Winery with his 2012 Premier Cuvée, which garnered 95 pts from Decanter, Ontario Wine Awards for 2018 White Wine of the Year and 2018 Sparkling Wine of the Year, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wine. I reviewed it here on my web site, and I gave it a Top Pick and highly recommended.
I had the opportunity to talk with JP on November 21 at a wine and food seminar at the winery as we sat across each other at their special 5 course wine pairing dinner the next night, which is their monthly Wine Experience Dinner. JP left his home of Chablis and traveling the world working at different wineries, but in 2000 he decided that he wanted to settle down in all places Niagara Region. He worked at Peninsula Ridge before coming to 13th Street Winery in August of 2009. He is very proud of his wines, which he should be, but he’s especially proud of his 2012 Premier Cuvée made 50/50 with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, and the 2016 Blanc de Blanc, which is 100% Chardonnay. He made the Blanc de Blanc in his minimalist way; simple but exciting with no dosage, so it’s bone dry. To him, this is Chardonnay. The 2016 vintage was tough, and he stated: “If you have bad grapes, the oak barrels will not save it.” Very true JP. Someone at the dinner asked him what his favourite wine was? He answered: “The one being bottled.”
Wine Experience Dinner, November 22, 2018:
As I noted before, Corinne did a marvellous job with her wine pairings to Josh’s food preparations. Josh is an amazing chef, and you can get some of his food preparations at the winery’s bakery shop. Here’s a tantalizing look at the wine and food pairings that night.
Charred heritage carrot salad, carrot top pesto, goat dill ranch and candied pecans, paired with 2015 13th Street Vineyard Riesling.
Pan-seared scallops, double smoked bacon, charred leeks and potato celeriac puree, paired with 2016 Blanc de Blanc.
Bucatini Pasta, truffle cream, shaved black truffle, local mushrooms, Celtic Blue and Grana Padano, paired with 2017 June’s Vineyard Chardonnay & 2016 L. Viscek Vineyard Chardonnay.
Local beef tenderloin, red wine rosemary jus, fingerling potatoes and rainbow Swiss chard, paired with 2016 Cabernet Franc.
Celtic Blue cheese cake, 13 Below Zero & caramelized onion jelly, bee pollen & caramelized honey, paired with 2015 13 Below Zero Riesling & Blanc de Blanc, which made this experience as eating two different deserts. Give credit to JP for doing the Blanc de Blanc pairing.