Set The Bar
Lifestyle in Style

Chadsey’s Cairns Winery, Prince Edward County

I was in Prince Edward County for a wedding a couple of weeks ago. Although a hotbed of some 43 wineries I really had no intent to turn this festive occasion into a wine tour. However, while on the road and discovering “The County” on the Friday before the wedding I just couldn’t resist stopping at Chadsey’s Cairns Winery on a Friday afternoon.

Although it has been some time since visiting Lake Erie North Shore I can say it is more down home and authentic than PEC where Toronto money rules culinary hotspots, tourism and housing prices.

Aside from a couple from Quebec we were the only people in the winery. A nice shop and an adjacent barn but no restaurant. Fine with me.

Now what are their wines like gets me very interested! I think the man behind the counter told me they are the third oldest winery in “The County”. A simple tasting area and shop with a barn off to the side and no customers milling about. Have I found an obscure winner?

Well let’s see. The 2017 Pinot Noir which is a VQA PEC has a light ruby colour. A Pinot Noir for sure with notes of raspberry, strawberry, blackberry and coal roasted beets. On the palate a bit harsh and austere as wines from “The County “can be which might work with a limestone soiled Chardonnay but such firmness with a Pinot Noir? On the palate diffuse raspberry, cherry, pomegranate and pepper. The acidity seems a bit high and sneakily prevalent.

I am not going to trash this wine but take account of the unfriendly terroir of “The County” that causes many of its wines to be made from trucked in Niagara grapes hence their oft VQA Ontario as to VQA PEC designation. Hat’s off to Chadsey’s for sticking with PEC grapes! The result is Pinot Noir with a great bouquet. As for taste and all-around quality from both a British Columbia and Ontario perspective it is a rather mundane wine. Perhaps decanting for a couple of hours or ageing it for a few years will improve it but with its slightly out of whack acidity take a risk! Go with a fresh tomatoe salad with local tomatoes or a Neapolitan pizza made with San Marzano tomatoes.

The price does not match the quality and value.

(Chadsey’s Cairns Winery 2017 Pinot Noir VQA Prince Edward County, Chadsey’s Cairns Winery, Wellington, Ontario, $32.30, 11.9%, 750 mL, Set The Bar Rating 88/100).

We move onto a Chadsey’s 2016 PEC VQA Chardonnay. It has a mid gold colour. On the nose it’s coming across as a full-bodied Chardonnay. Definitely oaked but not overly so. The oak seems to enhance the rich pear, Yellow Delicious apple, pineapple and peach. On the palate a big mouthfeel with guava, mango, cantaloupe and peach. Some fine seam of acidity keeps the oak and fruit well disciplined marching finely in tune. Neither a light and zippy Chardonnay nor a big oaked brute but exactly playing the middle.  Chadsey’s has used its French oak well here.

Pair with a Filet of Sole Florentine.

(Chadsey’s Cairns Chardonnay 2016, VQA Prince Edward County, Chadsey’s Cairns Winery, Wellington, Ontario, $29.20, 13.1%, 750 mL, Set The Bar Rating 92/100).

I am not sure if I am in for a Baby Duck with a Chasey’s PTO (Power Take Off). It’s a red sparkling VQA Ontario. It almost looks like a Pinot Noir in the glass with a purplish tinge. On the nose black cherry, strawberry, raspberry and chocolate. Lots of carbonation on the palate. Diffuse notes of blackberry, Cherry Jell-O, and a hint of bacon. Really not much flavour. Short finish.

I mean its thirst quenching on a hot summer day so it serves a purpose. Not complicated enough for a Lambrusco. Too lean for a Baby Duck. The label says it is made from homegrown grapes but the website reveals this is a Gamay/St. Laurent blend.

Grilled sausage on the bun lathered up with mango chutney. Drink now.

(Chadsey’s Cairns Winery, VQA Ontario, Chadsey’s Cairns Winery, Wellington, Ontario, $26.20, 11.5%, 750 mL, Set The Bar Rating 81/100).

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