Years ago when I started writing about wine I was a champion for the wines of Lake Erie North Shore in Ontario. If you are not producing wines in Niagara in Ontario the state monopoly Liquor Control Board of Ontario gives you a cold shoulder. Yes call it fighting for the underdog. One of the consistently good wineries in LENS was CREW. Initially a rustic small player over the years it has ramped up its image and presence to the point you can regularly see a smattering of its wines in the LCBO. It has been a decade or so since my last visit and a change in back-office administration has meant restricted access for me to their samples.
I am a great fan of Gewürztraminer and too little of it is produced in Ontario. Of late the best Canadian Gewurtz is coming out of Meyer Family Vineyards and Mayhem Wines in the Okanagan, British Columbia. Vineland Estates in Niagara does a good job with it.
How does CREW do with a VQA LENS Gewurtz? LENS has a different terroir than Niagara. Lake Erie North Shore wines are produced close to Lake Erie which is shallower and warmer than Lake Ontario. The higher humidity creates a greater risk of rot and fungus than Niagara where pests are a bigger problem.
The CREW 2019 Gewurtz has a laid-back aroma and given Gewurtz’s tendency for big floral and apricotty/peachy bouquets this no classic Gewurtz. Yes you have honey, peach, apricots and tangerine but subdued and shy. Gewurtz’s fun is often in its bouquet but no riot on the nose here. On the palate no burst of peach and apricot. More of an undertow of peach jam, guava and perhaps a bit too obvious of sweetness. In a “classic” Gewurtz the sweetness is so well integrated in the fruit. Here it stands as if alone in the corner. I get the sense the Gewurtz here is not a matter of terroir but the guiding hand of winemaker Ryan Oldridge.
(Colchester Ridge Estate Winery 2019 Gewürztraminer, VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Colchester Ridge Estate Winery, Harrow Ontario, $18.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 25317, 750 Ml, 12.8%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 85/100).