My family calls Prince Edward County, one of Ontario’s burgeoning wine regions, their home. When they first moved there, I remember the wines being, well, young. But over the last few years, the vines are aging, and winemakers are starting to grow into their own, producing world-class bottles.
Case in point, this tremendous collaborative release from sparkling winery Hinterland and Joe Beef’s ringleader Dave McMillan. The funky micro-label produces expressive, quirky wines with labels done collaboratively by Canadian artists.
Past bottles have been super fun, don’t-take-yourself-seriously wines – quaffable, skin-contact iterations of local grapes like Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Noir. But the new vintage released a couple of months ago caught me off guard.
My favorite bottle out of the release is the Meuniere. Pinot Meunier, a cousin of Pinot Noir, is a small, thick-skinned red grape hardly bottled as it’s varietal – instead, it’s most commonly found as the secret ingredient in Champagne.
L’Imparfait Negociant’s single varietal Meuniere is elegant, vibrant, and drinks like a Cru Beaujolais, with layered red fruit and delicate tannins. Light, bright, and romantic.
What I’m incredibly excited about with bottlings like this is its part of the county’s finding of their stride (partly with the help of a wave of Montreal and Toronto émigrés who have opened up hip new restaurants and hotels to boost the area’s profile). There are justly renowned Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, but now growers are flexing creativity, working with grapes like Zweigelt and Meuniere. I could go on, but as a local, bottles like these are marking an exciting next chapter for the region.