Prince Edward County Pinot Noir: A Ruby Wine Gem

I was determined that our recent weekend get-away to Prince Edward would be all pleasure, no work. For me, that means not visiting wineries and interviewing winemakers.

I just wanted to dine at amazing restaurants, like Blumen, stay at a wonderful inn like The Manse, and take long walks along Sandbanks Park beach.

I did all that, but alas could not resist the siren call of one winery.

I blame Blumen.

We enjoyed a fabulous meal, and a spectacular pinot noir from Exultet Estates. I got up the next morning determined to find the hidden, off-the-main-strip, little white shed that houses this winery.

After barreling down some narrow dirt roads, and parking in the gravel driveway, we walked around to the back of the shed and saw that it was closed.

Just then, the door opened and winemaker Gerry Spinoza and his nine-year-old son Joseph invited us in. It was just good luck as they had decided not to go to karate class that morning.

The videos tell the rest of this story …

Joseph SpinozaJoseph Spinoza wineThe amazing Joseph Spinosa, age 9 (above), who employs his father full-time to make wine at Exultet.

Joseph could well make the wine himself, having a complete knowledge of the various wines the winery makes: “Well, the 2013 vintage of the Pinot Grigio tends to be more Gris in how mouth-filling it is,” he explained.

… to swirling and sniffing (his father quickly averted a call to Child Services with: “He doesn’t drink”) …

… to letting us know that his first label (right), shared with his older sister Mari, is not ready for release even though I offered to pay double … perfectionism starts early in this family.

… to checking his father’s calculations on the cash register for mistakes (yes Joseph, it is hard to hire good help, even if they are family).

Norm Hardie was one of several top-notch buyers of Gerry’s grapes before he started bottling his own wine under the Exultet Estates label.

Exultet pictureJoseph above receiving an award from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David Onley. To the right is the pure limestone base in which the vines are planted.

Exultet Estates The Beloved Pinot Noir 2011 was one of five top Prince Edward County Pinot Noirs selected for The Judgement of Prince Edward County, a blind tasting inspired by the 1976 Judgement of Paris that pitted American and French wines against each other.

However, this tasting hosted by the Ontario Wine Society, was all County wines pitted against cool-climate Pinot Noir from around the world, including Carneros, Oregon, New Zealand and Burgundy. Stay tuned for the results!

Exultet whiteboardWhiteboard on the winery wall says it all

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