RKS Wine: Stratus Wildass 2019 Merlot: Giving Ontario Merlot Another Chance

In the past few years I have given up on Ontario Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon as a single varietal wine. Could it be that Ontario doesn’t have the terroir and climate for these two grapes? However earlier this year I spent a few days at Niagara-on-the-Lake and discovered a Two Sisters Merlot that impressed at a neurologist/cardiologist/corporate senior executive price, close to $60 for a bottle. So a great Ontario Merlot is indeed possible! Yes travel educates the wine palate and you don’t have to be in Calabria sipping wine at the foot of Vesuvius to make such a conclusion. Niagara-on-the-Lake doesn’t have a volcano but that doesn’t mean it can’t supply wine drinkers with valuable insight and experiences!

Giving that memory fresh meat I try a Stratus Vineyards 2019 Merlot a Niagara-on-the-Lake VQA wine. On the nose some smoky black cherry, blackberry and raspberry all a bit weak and strained. On the plate some tannins linger with some sour cherry influences with a minute smidge of milk chocolate. A lean Merlot far from a Californian or Washington Merlot and of course trailing far behind a Two Sisters Merlot!

Can I interpret this as a refection of Niagara terroir therefore giving an excuse for a flinty lacklustre Merlot? Given that superb Two Sisters Merlot from Niagara-on-the-Lake I can’t hide behind terroir.

(Wildass Merlot 2019, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Stratus Vineyards Niagara-on-the-Lake, $19.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 376822, 750 mL, 12%, RKS Wine Rating 86/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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