Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Magnotta Winery

Magnotta Winery Tour and Tasting

While in the Toronto area, I visited the Magnotta “award winning winery” in Vaughan. A big commercial affair, I was surprised by how tasty—and cheap—their wines are. They have so many varietals I was like a kid in a candy store. They have everything from lower priced blends (most $7-10) to VQA premium vintages that have 100% Ontario grown grapes. They use both bulk juice and grapes picked from their own four Niagara vineyards or their Maipo Valley (Chile) vineyard, depending on the price point of the wine and whether it’s Premium, Vintage and/or VQA or not.

Next time you’re in the Toronto area, try one their wines, either from one of their seven Ontario stores or from a restaurant wine list.

Their wines are very affordable and worth ever shiny penny. Cheap doesn’t always equal plonk. Since you can’t buy their wines in liquor stores they pass on the savings by purchasing directly from them.

I did the winery tour at their Vaughn location (the Beamsville location also offers tours) and tasted many wines and spent a small fortune. The variety of wines available was nearly endless. I bought Blueberry fruit wine, sparkling wine, an Amarone-style wine (using dried grapes for concentrated flavour and sugars), Meritage blends and plenty of aromatic whites. So far, I haven’t been disappointed.

Their buttery oaked 2004 Chardonnay (Limited Edition, barrel aged, VQA, $16.95) went deliciously well with Thanksgiving dinner. It was a perfect match for the turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes. Mmm. Can’t wait for Christmas dinner!

They sell six sparkling wines using both the Traditional Method and the cost-effective Charmat Method. All were ridiculously cheap and the few I tried were amazingly delicious. The 2006 VQA Magnotta Brut was $9.95 and their Traditional Method 2002 VQA Blanc de Noirs was $16.95. Jeez, I think I need a case for the holiday season.

Their VQA Meritage ($19.95) is a yummy full-bodied blend of Cab Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Merlot. Red fruits, smoke and vanilla oak flavours abound. A perfect winter sipper, either alone or with a nice juicy steak or roast dinner.

The most expensive wine I bought was their Amarone-style Enotrium. Delicious! It’s a very rich, full-bodied Meritage blend (Cab Sauvignon, Cab Franc & Merlot). It’s big and ripe with dark fruits (cassis, blackberry, plum), hints of spice and a rich, delicate sweetness (1). It was well worth its $39.95 price tag. Yum!
Overall, I was impressed (Can’t you tell?). To be honest, I tried some Ontario wines from the LCBO that really, really disappointed me. So, I didn’t expect much from Magnotta for several reasons, but I was pleasantly surprised.

This is a great place to get loads of wine for a wedding or big bash—or for inexpensive every day drinking. Wine should be affordable and Magnotta makes it easier to break open a bottle just for the fun of it or to pair with a weekday dinner you whipped up or ordered in.

Try and enjoy!