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Wine Wednesday: Lighthall Vineyards

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It’s no secret that I love bubbly. After family, friends, human rights and shoes, there is nothing I care about more than wine with bubbles.

Last week, foodiePrints was invited to Savvy Company‘s “Sip Swirl Savour & Selebrate” annual wine event. Not only is it a great excuse to put on heels and a little black dress, it’s a wonderful yearly opportunity to try “local” Ontario wines. This year’s event was also a fundraiser for United Way. With the ability to order wines at the event and a donation to a good cause, what could be better timed for Christmas?

With Chateau des Charmes, Sandbanks, and Closson Chase among the wineries present, I was hard pressed to find a favourite….until I heard whispers about a sparkling wine in the far end of the room.

Dragging The Beau behind me, I made a bee-line for the back table and there encountered Glenn Symons, owner and winemaker of Lighthall Vineyards.

Although Lighthall has been a vineyard since the early 2000′s, it had only been producing grapes to sell to other wineries. Glen bought the vineyard and turned it into a winery with a couple of years of production under his belt and big plans in his future. Monopolizing Glenn as I tend to do, he graciously explained that the winery is named after the road in Prince Edward County on which it is located. Not the most exciting story but, he assured us, the road is named after a Captain who was a well known Rhum Runner during Prohibition; Lighthall Road running straight to the Lake and by water to the United States, I can only imagine the good Captain made a small fortune.

As for the logo of the winery, it is a photo of the Luna Moth, taken at the winery with Glenn’s cell phone (and I remember thinking adding a camera to a phone was a pointless and silly idea). Whatever the beast, the logo is both beautiful and compelling in a prehistoric manner.

The bubbly that had drawn me to Lighhall did not disappoint. I was intrigued when Glen told me Lighthall Progression Sparkling was made with Vidal grapes. When I hear “sparkling wine”, I think Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier or Chardonnay,the classic Champagne grapes, or Prosecco if it’s Italian. I had never tried a sparkling Vidal and wondered if it might be sweet, with hints of the honeyed ice wines which are often made with Vidal.

Progression is made in the “méthode Charmat”, with secondary fermentation (the one that creates the bubbles) taking place in stainless steel tanks rather than in the bottles as in the méthode Champagnoise. This is the method use to produce Prosecco and is less costly and labour intensive. For a Charmat method, I found the bubbles to be small and persistent, not dissipating immediately. The wine was lemony and green apple tartness and, as a bonus, it was capped not with a scary cork, but with a bottle cap!

The Beau was most impressed with Lighthall 2010 Pinot Noir. Unlike many Prince Edward Country Pinot Noir wines, it was more fruity with cooked cherry and black pepper noticeable and less acidity than many, more reminiscent of South American Pinot Noir wines. We both felt it would make an excellent addition to our cellar (but we first need to make room for the wine as it is currently at capacity).

Lighthall Progression Sparkling Wine

Lighthall Progression Sparkling Wine

We left Sip Swirl Savour & Selebrate with orders for a case of bubbly and six bottles of the Lighthall Pinot. If you would like to try them, you can order from the winery or, if we’ve made Prince Edward Country sound enticing enough, head down to the winery to meet Glen yourself.

foodiePrints has raved about Prince Edward County a lot this year. You can add Lighhall to out list of favourites.

Although trained as a sommelier, I pay my bills working as an IT consultant. I love what I do for a living and keep wine as my hobby. As it looks bad if you only drink, I have occasionally been known to eat as well. Growing up on four different continents, I love to cook and appreciate the cuisines of the world. But wine is my passion. With a well-stocked cellar, I am always on the hunt for new wines and love hearing from people about their latest find or interesting pairing. My approach to wine: Drink what you like. Wine reviews need not be stuffy. Numerical ratings are meaningless. If it tastes good, drink it! If you don’t like it, then it’s not the wine for you.

Comments

Debbie Trenholm

Many thanks Claire for the great blog about Lighthall and the rave reviews about our annual Savvy 'Selebration'. The Savvy Team of Sommeliers have become big fans of Lighthall and Glenn has become a fantastic Savvy Fan too. Lighthall was the feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club for the month of October and we were thrilled to introduce our subscribers throughout Ontario to this new boutique winery which is literally a one man show - Glenn. Enjoy your bubbly...it is the last case of the 2011 vintage. Glenn promises me that the 2012 will be ready soon...and in his words 'is even more beautiful'. Cheers! -Debbie

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