Friday, November 23, 2012

Tawse - 2012 Top Canadian Winery

The 2012 Canadian Wine Awards have been announced and Tawse Winery, from Ontario's Niagara Peninsula, has been named Canada's Winery of the Year for the third year running.  In 2010, Tawse was the first Ontario winery to win the title and it is also the first winery from any province to win the award three years in a row.

We don't see many Ontario wines out in BC.  Go figure.  Same country, but we see almost as many listings from wine hotbeds like Israel and China in our government stores as we do from Ontario - and almost half of the Ontario wines are icewines.  I don't think they make any icewines in Israel.

So, it was quite the pleasant surprise when I discovered Tawse - and picked up this bottle - at this year's Vancouver International Wine Festival.  I was impressed by what I heard and tasted and hearing the WOTY announcement made it seem only logical to open a bottle to celebrate.

1293.  2010 Tawse Riesling (VQA Niagara Peninsula - Ontario)

Tawse is a family owned, estate winery that particularly prides itself in its efforts to capture its terroir.  They firmly believe that the surrounding lands really do have noticeable differences and completely lend themselves to distinctive wines.  In their desire to reveal the Niagara Pennisula, they produce four single vineyard Rieslings, together with an estate blended wine (the bottle at hand) and a wine from more broadly sourced fruit.  The winery website confirms that part of those efforts to emphasize terroir stem from the fact that "all Tawse estate wines are produced using certified organic and biodynamic farming techniques."  Indeed, Tawse was only second winery in Canada to obtain biodynamic certification for certain areas of production.

This is all pretty heady stuff considering the winery only opened its doors in 2005 and, nowadays, it still only produces approximately 30,000 cases annually.

This 2010 Tawse Riesling won Gold at last year's 2011 Canadian Wine Awards (and helped secure that year's WOTY award) - where it was praised for its bold notes of citrus and minerality.  Regular visitors to this blog will know that I'm a Riesling fiend and this one totally matches my preferred high notes - big fruit with a good brace of citrus and acidity, but with a noticeable touch of sweet that stems from the ripeness of the fruit, not simply from an off-dry, residual sugar kind of finish.

I see that those recent Canadian Wine Awards saw fit to place a total of 32 medals on Tawse wines - 9 Gold, 9 Silver and 14 Bronze.  Crazy stuff.  I also see that a couple of the more "entry level" wines are currently listed with our provincial liquor stores.  That's better than nothing I suppose, but I wish I had more opportunity to try and obtain a broader selection of Tawse wines out here on the West Coast.

I was hoping that I might get another chance at this year's Wine Festival but neither Tawse, nor any other Ontario winery for that matter, is participating this year in Vancouver.  Again, I say "same country," what the heck is going on?  But that'll have to be a topic for another day.  In the mean time, I've got to try and find me some Tawse.

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