Where is Prince Edward County? Is it somewhere on Prince Edward Island? No, it’s in Ontario, between Toronto and Kingston, along Lake Ontario. I would classify it as a peninsula, but it is not long and thin, rather it is more circular in shape. And it’s a very cool climate area in Ontario; cooler than the Niagara region. It’s so cool that some of the wineries bury their vines in the Fall so that the vines survive the winter.
While I stayed in Kingston, Ontario, I made a day trip over to Prince Edward County (PEC) to visit two wineries. The first being the Grange of Prince Edward Estate Vineyard & Winery, located on the west side of PEC near Hillier. The trip from Kingston was quite interesting. Plugging in the Grange’s address into the GPS, I drove along the shoreline, enjoying the sun and rural scenery. The GPS mentioned a ferry ride but I didn’t believe it and pressed onward. Alas, there at the end of the road in Adolphustown was a ferry and on the other side of the ferry passage was the town of Glenora and PEC.
After arriving at the Grange, I tasted some wine and spoke with Maggie, one of the wine makers at Grange of Prince Edward Estate Vineyard & Winery. Maggie is the daughter of Caroline Granger, the owner and original wine maker. Maggie became wine maker for the winery in 2010 through tutelage by her mother as Maggie grew up at the winery. They have 60 acres of vines where they grow Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc. The vines were planted in 2001 and their first vintage was in 2003. Maggie noted that Prince Edward County grapes are characterized by high levels of acidity so that they need longer oak aging to get the fruit to come through, and you will see that aging for their red wines below. Their soils are clay gravel underlain by limestone, and limestone is well-known for providing minerality to wine.
My Tasting Notes
Grange of Prince Edward Estate Chardonnay 2013 (ON $19.95) – Medium intensity bruised apple, followed by honeysuckle aromas in the glass. Medium body, dry and soft, with medium acidity. More honey suckle and apple on the palate.
Grange of Prince Edward Select Pinot Gris 2016 (ON $24.95) – This wine has had 36 hours of skin contact before fermenting to give it more flavour and body. It has a light, toasty stone fruit nose. It is fuller bodied, round with medium acid, and deep stone fruit flavour. An interesting wine. –
Grange of Prince Edward Select Gamay Noir 2014 (ON $24.95) – This wine spent 24 months in neutral oak barrel before bottling. It is medium translucent garnet in the glass. Nice nose with red cherries and sweet currants. Medium minus bodied, dry with flavours of tart red cherries and raspberries. Bright red fruits in general on the palate. Medium acidity and fine tannins. Good quality. More people should try Gamay.
Grange of Prince Edward Northfield Cabernet Franc 2013 (ON $35) – This wine spent 36 months in oak barrel to help soften the acidity in the grapes and bring out the fruit flavours. The wine is deeper, translucent garnet in colour. Deep, ripe black cherry and dark fruit aromas. Medium plus body, round and fruity; red cherries and black fruit. A hint of pepper and red apple along with a light oak treatment. Medium tannins.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
On their website they note that they only ship within Ontario, so if you are in Ontario, you are in luck. The Grange’s shopping webpage. Their wines are also available through LCBO stores in Ontario. Here is a link from the LCBO listing the Grange’s wines. Enjoy.