Sunday, June 09, 2013

Konzelman Estate Winery in Ontario (CA)

So, with Niagara Falls well behind us, we started touring the wine country, with my wife and children in tow. Konzelmann had not been a drive-by, but a destination. It had been recommended to me by a number of folks who like quality wine. They were not wrong.

Konzelmann Estate Winery is situated on the south shore of Lake Ontario in the wine regions Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is owned and operated by Herbert and Gudrin Konzelmann, who made Canada their home in 1984. For over a century there has been a winery in the Konzelman family. Expertise, techniques and most importantly, the passion to ensure that the job is done well has been handed down through six generations.


Konzelmann Estate Winery was officially the seventh winery to open its doors in Ontario, and now is one of over 140. Currently, the sixth generation of the Konzelmann legacy - Herbert's grandson, Fabian Reis - has taking a leading role in the family business. Production includes over thirty wines with a total output of 500,000 bottles per year, and they have received hundreds of awards and accolades during their time in Canada.

The tasting room is rich and opulent. Dark woods, glass, lots of expensive lighting. It's beautiful, and chock-a-block with more than 20 different wines all made by Konzelmann. That said, I tasted almost only the high end wines from the portfolio, save a few pits stops here and there.

Herbert Konzelmann is considered one of the most experienced vintners in Canada. He was among the pioneers of the Ontario wine industry and has received dozens of awards and accolades both locally and internationally. Today, he continues his family’s winemaking tradition with his daughter, Claudia and grandson, Fabian Reis. Fabian joined the business after attending one of Germanys premier oenology schools, having studied wine making, business and viticulture.

Riesling 2009 Reserve 4 Generations
Konzelmann has been making Riesling for more than 25 years in Canada. It is made in an Alsatian style with aromas of citrus fruit, lychee nut and lemon grass on the nose coming though as promised. Honeydew and sweet lemon as well as some petrol overtones. Very pretty. Elegant.

I sampled two Pinot Noirs from Konzelmann. First was the 2011 Pinot Noir. This was a light bodied wine with cherry and hints of bright tart plum, with nice acidity to keep he fruit fresh, with a low tannin, soft finish. Very nice. Quaffable.
The second wine was actually the first I had had. We had stopped for dinner the first night, and the sommelier suggested the Konzelmann and it went beautifully with a porch chop. I was in love. was the Pinot noir 2010 Spaetburgunder. It's with a wine like this, aside from the Riesling, that you are reminded fully how deep the roots go with their German traditions. My first thought was, "What in the heck is Spaetbugunder?" Well, according to Konzelmann, "In Germany, the Spätburgunder is to red wine what the Riesling is to white wine: the cream of the crop. Sensitive to climate and soil, it needs warmth (but not intense heat) to thrive and does well in chalky soils. As the name implies, it ripens late (spät) and it was brought to Germany from Burgundy, where it has probably been cultivated since at least the 4th century (first documented, however, in the 14th century). [It is] called Pinot Noir in France."
That said, this wine was bright deep cherry, with a beautiful nose that also had hints of black currant, vanilla,  spices, and white pepper. A beautiful wine. Elegant. Lovely. Easily my favorite. 

Konzelmann's Baco Noir is one of their best sellers. It was a deep red wine with dark sour cherry and
blackberry flavors, smokey, and earthy. A small hint of oak. A big, interesting Baco Noir.

Konzelmann also makes a fun pink sparkler. This was a nice, bright, pink sparkler. Very, very fun. Brought home a bottle of this!

The tating room was stacked with this wine. How do you not take a shot at trying at least one of them. They had red and white, so I definitely choose white. This was a light, bright, acidity bombshell, with hints of ginger, lemon, and gooseberry? As acidic as Vino Verde, but more like a kind of Riesling. Very interesting, and yes, chilled, it would make an excellent accompaniment to sushi! Very fascinating! 

Anyway, the trip to Konzelmann was a success. We were tasting a number of wineries, so I could not taste the entire range of wines. But our trip there was fun and eye-opening. Very impressive. a great find!!!