The wines of Hinterland, Prince Edward County
Visiting wine country in Ontario, Canada, part 6



Leaving Niagara behind, I headed up to Prince Edward County for a day of visits, and the promise of some swimming in the lake. A bit further north, the County is proper cool climate, with a short, cold growing season. The wine scene here is less well established than in Niagara, and feels a lot more pioneering.

Hinterland was a great visit, with a good vibe. Refreshingly, itís not an operation where someone wealthy has sunk a pile of money into a winery, but rather a work of passion, built up incrementally. The winery is a converted dairy barn that previously was home to 48 cows, but now houses baby sparkling wines instead.

Me flanked by Jonas and Vicki

The couple behind Hinterland are Vicki Samaras and Jonas Newman. She studied plant pathology and worked for the government in pharmaceuticals, in a previous life, while Jonas was already involved with wine.

'We started planting vines here and decided to see what the vineyard could make,' says Vicky. 'It told us to make sparkling wine.'

They planted their first vines in 2005, and the debut vintage was 2007, with the first wines released in 2010. Yields are low, at 2 tons per acre: what they don't have in vine age they make up for with low yields. Production is 4000 cases.

The font on the labels is a Toronto subway font designed in 1962.

They make sparkling wine in three different ways. First, Charmat, which involves doing the second fermentation in a tank that can take the pressure. Second, traditional method, with second fermentation in bottle and then disgorgement. Third, method ancestrale, which involves bottling before primary fermentation has finished, so there is no secondary fermentation stage.

Vicki is Greek, and in 2006 she brought Jonas to Greece, and they decided to make wine from some of the great vineyards on the island of Limnos. They joined a coop in Limnos in 2011 and I had a chance to try the wine from this project too. They visit the island twice a year.



Hinterland White Cap 2012 VQA Ontario, Canada
Made by the Charmat method. Lovely fruity, lively wine with a hint of sweetness. Very bright and fun with nice fruit  and good acidity. 88/100

Hinterland Blanc de Blancs 2011 VQA Prince Edward County (hand disgorged sample, not ready for bottling yet)
Fermented in 5 year old barrels. Very fresh and bright with subtle sweetness and hints of reduction. Lovely intensity and freshness: I reckon this will be a fabulous wine.

Hinterland Les Etoiles 2010 VQA Prince Edward County, Canada
60% of the crop was lost to frost. Fermented in 4 year old barrels of 225 litres. Lovely concentration. Fresh, pure, bright and fruity with lovely precision, and citrus and pear fruit with a hint of peachy richness. 91/100

Hinterland Riesling Traditional Method 2009 VQA Prince Edward County, Canada
Taut, fresh, citrussy and bright with some apple fruit and attractive freshness. Pure, bright and precise. 89/100

Hinterland Rosť 2009 VQA Prince Edward County, Canada
Lovely cherry and strawberry fruit, showing great precision. Just perfect balance: very fine with lovely fruit. 92/100

Hinterland Rosť 2007 (Recently Disgorged)
This was the first wine made here, from 3 year old vines. Lovely concentration of citrus, cherry and cranberry fruit, with lovely weight and great precision. 91/100

Hinterland Les Etoiles 2009 VQA Prince Edward County, Canada
Subtle toast with a bit of spiciness, and lovely grapefruit and citrus characters. Lemony notes dominate, and thereís a hint of citrus pith too. 90/100

Hinterland Les Etoiles 2007 VQA Prince Edward County, Canada
This was disgorged a year ago. Lovely toasty edge here to the attractive citrus fruit, with some subtle nutty notes. Lively and precise with nice acidity, great purity and good concentration. 92/100

Hinterland Lacus 2012 VQA Prince Edward County, Canada
Made from Cabernet Franc, this is an amazing vivid pink colour. It really does taste of Cab Franc, with lively pure cherry fruit and some leafy blackcurrant notes. Thereís a hint of chalk, too. Wonderful stuff. 90/100

Hinterland Ancestral 2012 VQA Prince Edward County, Canada
This is 100% Gamay, made in a semi-ancestrale style (VQA wonít allow cloudy wine so this is recreated in tank, filtered and then bottled). Itís off-dry, sweet and cherryish, and is thoroughly delicious. 87/100

Terra Lemnia Muscat 2012 Limnos, Greece
Bright, textured and pithy with lovely purity and a hint of greenness. Lively, pure and dry but really fruity. Distinctive stuff with real appeal. 91/100


Pearl Morissette
Hidden Bench

Closson Chase
Huff Estates
Rosehall Run
Norman Hardie

Wines tasted 07/13  
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