2004 Vintage Report

After the challenges of the 2003 vintage, 2004 offered a more moderate growing season. Though a cold winter and a wet early spring delayed plant development by a week, the berries sized early due to good ground moisture. Spring was cool and gentle, leading to good flowering. Summer was somewhat cool with significant July rainfall. As a result, to limit mildew we performed extensive thinning, which further reduced crop levels. The temperate summer finished with a number of hot, dry days in August and September that allowed for a prolonged period of late ripening. The overall growing season was cool and long, with an excellent finish that produced low-to-moderate yields of fruit with concentrated varietal character. Icewine was a particular standout in 2004 with clear, cold weather beginning fairly early, on December 19th.

This allowed for daylight harvesting—a rarity in Ontario—and produced excellent icewine from clean fruit with naturally high acid levels. As with the 2003 vintage, cool climate varietals like riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet franc and gamay proved to be ideally suited to the Niagara region. This, coupled with the unique microclimate and terroir of our escarpment location helped us to craft a number of excellent wines.

RIESLING
True to their clay till soil origins, the 2004 rieslings are displaying impeccable acid balance. In addition, due to the dry, sunny summer, these wines are fleshier than the 2003 vintage, with somewhat lower levels of residual sugar. The estate rieslings will begin reaching their full expression in early 2006, and should keep for up to a decade. In contrast, the Niagara Peninsula rieslings, especially the off-dry, are very approachable now.

Bud break: May 10

Flowering: June 25

Green Harvest: September 7 - 9

Harvest: October 12 – November 4

Brix: 20.6

pH: 3.13

TA: 9.15 g/L

After the challenges of the 2003 vintage, 2004 offered a more moderate growing season. Though a cold winter and a wet early spring delayed plant development by a week, the berries sized early due to good ground moisture. Spring was cool and gentle, leading to good flowering. Summer was somewhat cool with significant July rainfall. As a result, to limit mildew we performed extensive thinning, which further reduced crop levels. The temperate summer finished with a number of hot, dry days in August and September that allowed for a prolonged period of late ripening. The overall growing season was cool and long, with an excellent finish that produced low-to-moderate yields of fruit with concentrated varietal character. Icewine was a particular standout in 2004 with clear, cold weather beginning fairly early, on December 19th. This allowed for daylight harvesting—a rarity in Ontario—and produced excellent icewine from clean fruit with naturally high acid levels.

As with the 2003 vintage, cool climate varietals like riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet franc and gamay proved to be ideally suited to the Niagara region. This, coupled with the unique microclimate and terroir of our escarpment
location helped us to craft a number of excellent wines.

RIESLING
True to their clay till soil origins, the 2004 rieslings are displaying impeccable acid balance. In addition, due to the dry, sunny summer, these wines are fleshier than the 2003 vintage, with somewhat lower levels of residual sugar. The estate rieslings will begin reaching their full expression in early 2006, and should keep for up to a decade. In contrast, the Niagara Peninsula rieslings, especially the off-dry, are very approachable now.

Bud break: May 10
Flowering: June 25
Green Harvest: September 7 - 9
Harvest: October 12 – November 4
Brix: 20.6
pH: 3.13
TA: 9.15 g/L

CHARDONNAY
With the long growing season and the warm dry autumn, the 2004 chardonnays are proving to be beautifully full bodied with an abundance of lush fruit and natural acidity. While still too early to fully assess, the estate chardonnays are fuller than the elegant 2003 vintage and may deliver concentration levels similar to the standout 2002 vintage.

Bud break: May 6
Flowering: June 22
Green Harvest: n/a
Harvest: October 1 - 12
Brix: 23.5
pH: 3.33
TA: 8.5 g/L

PINOT NOIR
Perfectly suited to a moderately cool vintage with a warm dry finish to the season, pinot noir excelled in 2004. Very low yields contributed to deep color, fragrant aromatics, structured tannins and concentrated full-bodied flavors of red
cherries, earth and spice. Though producing relatively small quantities of pinot noir, the 2004 vintage offers noteworthy terroir-infused character.

Bud break: May 7
Flowering: June 24
Green Harvest: August 27 - 28
Harvest: September 28 - 30
Brix: 21.0
pH: 3.30
TA: 10.0 g/L

GAMAY
Displaying lots of spice and bright, northern berry red fruit, with wonderful food-friendly acidity, the quality of the gamay in 2004 was generally high, leading us to bottle a limited quantity of 2004 Gamay Reserve. Selected from older
blocks of extremely low yielding vines, this vintage has produced an outstanding estate wine with good aging potential.

Bud break: May 5
Flowering: June 22
Green Harvest: August 9 - 11
Harvest: September 30 – October 4
Brix: 22.8
pH: 3.20
TA: 11.0 g/L

BORDEAUX VARIETALS
Our 2004 vintage of Bordeaux varietals rebounded well from the previous year. As a result, we were able to bottle a 2004 Estate Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend. To ensure the highest standards of quality, we declassified all but the finest of our Bordeaux fruit to our Niagara Peninsula tier of wines.

Bud break: May 15
Flowering: June 23
Green Harvest: September 2 - 4
Harvest: October 7 - 28

With the long growing season and the warm dry autumn, the 2004 chardonnays are proving to be beautifully full bodied with an abundance of lush fruit and natural acidity. While still too early to fully assess, the estate chardonnays are fuller than the elegant 2003 vintage and may deliver concentration levels similar to the standout 2002 vintage.

Bud break: May 6

Flowering: June 22

Green Harvest: n/a

Harvest: October 1 - 12

Brix: 23.5

pH: 3.33

TA: 8.5 g/L  

PINOT NOIR
Perfectly suited to a moderately cool vintage with a warm dry finish to the season, pinot noir excelled in 2004. Very low yields contributed to deep color, fragrant aromatics, structured tannins and concentrated full-bodied flavors of red cherries, earth and spice. Though producing relatively small quantities of pinot noir, the 2004 vintage offers noteworthy terroir-infused character. Bud break: May 7 Flowering: June 24 Green Harvest: August 27 - 28 Harvest: September 28 - 30 Brix: 21.0 pH: 3.30 TA: 10.0 g/L GAMAY Displaying lots of spice and bright, northern berry red fruit, with wonderful food-friendly acidity, the quality of the gamay in 2004 was generally high, leading us to bottle a limited quantity of 2004 Gamay Reserve. Selected from older blocks of extremely low yielding vines, this vintage has produced an outstanding estate wine with good aging potential. Bud break: May 5 Flowering: June 22 Green Harvest: August 9 - 11 Harvest: September 30 – October 4 Brix: 22.8 pH: 3.20 TA: 11.0 g/L

BORDEAUX VARIETALS
Our 2004 vintage of Bordeaux varietals rebounded well from the previous year. As a result, we were able to bottle a 2004 Estate Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend. To ensure the highest standards of quality, we declassified all but the finest of our Bordeaux fruit to our Niagara Peninsula tier of wines.

Bud break: May 15
Flowering: June 23
Green Harvest: September 2 - 4
Harvest: October 7 - 28