Walking into the winery at Westcott Vineyards, you are transported back to the past. With their beautiful, rustic décor and vintage photos, it’s postcard pretty. And if the beauty of the place isn’t enough of a draw, a chance to sample their wines certainly makes a visit worthwhile.
A small-batch winery, the grapes are overseen by Viticulturalist Alain Sutra of Bordeaux France and Assistant Vineyard Managers Sonny Nguyen and Garrett Westcott, then turned into wine by Head Winemaker Arthur Harder. Here, they take pride in quality over quantity.
Arthur, who Shawn and I had the chance to chat with during our visit, has been making wine since 1981. He grew up in Vineland Station and studied chemistry at Ryerson before moving to Germany. There, he studied viticulture for 14 years, while working for two small wineries. He brings a European sensibility to Westcott and works to create vibrant wines that bring terroir to life.
The Violette Brut sparkling wine is 66% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay and is nicely balanced with lots of limestone and citrus. This dry, refreshing sparkler would be a good start to any meal or celebration.
The 2013 Lillias Chardonnay, which will be poured at the upcoming i4C Chardonnay event in Niagara, is unoaked, but has a hint of mallow on the nose and pineapple on the palate. An easy-drinking summer Chardonnay.
The Delphine 2012 rosé is a blend of Cabernet Franc (85%) and Pinot Noir. Full bodied and food friendly, it’s got earthy strawberry on the nose and a
fruit-forward palate. Shawn and I are excited to have this one on our patio this summer. I also absolutely love the flowers on the labels of the first three wines – striking and tasteful.
The 2012 Estate Chardonnay is barrel fermented and the oak works well here. A good wine for food pairing, this is lovely on the palate and I’m a fan of the buttered popcorn notes on the nose.
The 2012 Chardonnay Reserve is a limited release of only 100 cases and is made from a selection of four barrels. 2012 was an amazing vintage, explains Arthur, a once-in-a-lifetime vintage in many ways. This wine is nicely oaked, with buttery notes and vanilla on the palate. There’s citrus, muted melon and vanilla on the nose. I would highly recommend it.
The 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir is a big Pinot, with a smoky/spicy nose and lots of tannin. This still needs some time to age and should be drinking beautifully in 5-7 years.
The 2012 Estate Pinot Noir spent 1.5 years in barrel and has a mix of root beer, earth and spice on the nose. With a long, peppery finish with notes of red plum, this is another that could use a bit of age, but will be worth the wait.
Shawn and I so enjoyed our visit to Westcott, which is nestled in the 20 Valley near Sue Ann Staff’s winery. Just a year old, I suspect it will quickly become a popular destination for fans of high-quality Niagara Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Learn more about Westcott Vineyards at their website.