Lighthall: I was introduced to Lighthall wines at a tasting event in the spring called "County in the City." After a round of Chardonnay tasting and then a round of Pinot Noir tasting among the various Prince Edward County wineries participating in the event, I selected Lighthall Vineyards & Winery as my preferred wines for both varietals. I spoke with Glenn Symons,owner-winemaker, about the delicious Pinot Noir from 2010. It is one of the most tannic and full-bodied Pinots that I have tasted. So after the three bottles of Pinot Noir were finished, I made two trips to the County to visit Lighthall and other wineries. On my first visit I was fortunate to meet Alice Mennacher who, with her husband Peter, planted the first 8 acres of the vineyard. In 2008 Glenn Symons purchased Lighthall and expanded the acreage and built the winery. At the winery guests are welcome to taste all of the wines; although Lighthall's popular sparkling wine was no longer available.
Pinot Noir Reserve Particuliere 2009: This vintage had low yields so this wine is the most expensive of Lighthall wines. It has a deeper ruby hue and the first aromas were typical pinot aromas (earthy, sour red fruits) but on the "deuxieme nez" I could detect toasted chicory and white pepper as well. The flavours were similar to the aromas; and both the tannins and acidity were subdued. While this was a nice wine, I enjoyed the 2010 and 2011 vintages just as much.
Pinot Noir 2010: The robust flavor is a result of the ripeness of the grapes that year, longer maceration, and the fact that some Niagara grapes were added. Glenn ages the pinots one year in oak, which added to the tannins in the 2010 edition.
Pinot Noir 2011: Rain in the autumn required earlier harvest and then once de-stemmed the grapes were crushed by foot. This pinot is a translucent ruby red; with aromas of cherry, cinnamon, strawberries and a hint of vanilla. I picked out sour cherry, licorice and baking spice flavours. Tannins are low and the body is light - a more traditional pinot style than the 2010.
Chardonnay 2009 Reserve: This chardonnay is lightly oaked with mild vanilla tones. It is a refreshing style that has good acidity but balanced by the touch of oak. I've served it with a chicken stir fry and it was a complementary pairing. The 2011 Chardonnay is oak aged longer than the 2009 but is not an overwhelming California style.
Mute: This is a late harvest, botrytis-affected vidal wine that is subsequently fortified with distilled pinot noir. It is a delicious accompaniment to a dessert plate of cheese, fruit and nuts.
Rose: This is a refreshing tart summer wine made with Cabernet Franc (86%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (14%). It has the bell pepper aroma and flavour you would expect from a Cabernet Franc. I enjoy it with a pate made from game meats and fruits.