A quality-focused, friendly, fun, dynamic Niagara winery with sustainability in mind. That’s Coyote’s Run, making small batch, handcrafted, estate-grown VQA wines.
The St David’s operation is re-branding, with a shiny new website and new labels. Purchased in June, 2016 by a Toronto investor who loves high-quality VQA wine, it has a new head winemaker, Chris Protonentis, who worked alongside respected winemaker David Sheppard for three harvests and produced some of Ontario's best wine.
A grad of the wine/viticulture program at Niagara College, Chris has made wine in Western Australia plus Niagara’s Stratus and Ridgepoint, including apassimento reds and an award-winning white Cabernet.
Coyote’s Run is just 15 minutes away from Old Town Niagara-on-the-Lake with its lovely boutiques, stores and restaurants. The 65-acre property, in the flat, sprawling Four Mile Creek sub-appellation, grows Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
On the shore of what was ginormous Lake Iroquois in the last Ice Age 11,000 years ago, on one of the warmest sites in Niagara, the vineyard has two distinct soils; Red Paw, ancient red clay yielding bold, expressive wines; and Black Paw, dark, heavy clay that retains warmth and moisture delivering low yields and concentrated flavors.
A great example of the latter is the 2015 Estate Syrah, $34.95. There’s only 200 cases of this thrilling example of rich, dark, smoky-tarry red with layers of blackberry, cassis and black plum, soon to be online and at the winery (93) or the sturdy Pinot Grigio 2016, $15.95, brimming with summer hay aromas, honeycomb, wet stone and orchard fruit notes (90), winery, online, LCBO.
Coyote practices integrated pest management and precision viticulture focusing on canopy and environmentally sustainable viticulture. Grape pomace mulch increases organic material. Compost improves soil structure and adds nutrients. Cover crops include red clover, alfalfa and oil seed radish. Pruning, shoot tucking and positioning, leaf and fruit thinning are all done throughout the season to optimize fruit quality.
Run, Coyote, run! 905-682-8310
At the speed of digital flight, we now move to the Southwest of France for a pink and fruity moment: Chateau Clamens is a newbie at the LCBO, $18.95 for the delicious Cuvee Julie 2016, a rose of considerable charm (90). A blend of the little known (around here) Negrette grape and the ubiquitous Syrah, it’s aperitif-perfect and heaven sent for light summer fare such as skewers, grilled meat or fish, salads and casual dining.
Consistent winner of a slew of accolades, it’s berry-scented, dry and has a fresh citrus-apple tang. From Fronton, just north of Toulouse, the winery’s slogan is: “A thousand hours of sun, poured directly into your glass!” I’ll drink to that!