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In theory, those inclined can make

bubbly from pretty much any wine

grapes. Champagne, for instance,

actually permits seven different

varieties. In practice, though, certain

grapes have proved especially ideal,

which is why most Champagne is

made from Chardonnay, Pinot

Noir or Pinot Meunier, or some

combination thereof.

Here in Ontario, our cool climate is perfect

for growing the classic sparkling wine

grapes of Champagne, and others, too.

This gives local winemakers an exciting

palette from which to create a diverse

array of bubblies.

Henry of Pelham

makes their Carte

Blanche vintage bubbly from 100%

Chardonnay grown on their estate

vineyard on Short Hills Bench. One-fifth of

the wine is fermented in barrel, all of it

undergoes its bubble-begetting second

fermentation in bottle (in the “traditional

method” of Champagne), and the resulting

sparkling wine is aged an impressive 60

months in bottle before it’s disgorged and

finds its way to Vintages shelves. The

extended time spent in the bottle, on the

lees, imparts a wonderfully toasty

brioche-like character to the finished

wine. The zesty fruit and mellow toastiness

make this bubbly a good choice for veggie

tempura, fish and chips, roasted butternut

squash quiche with sage and gruyère, or

oysters with a squeeze of lemon.


uses 100% Pinot Noir – in

fact, the entirety of the Pinot they grow on

their property – for the Joy vintage bubbly.

They give the juice some grape-skin

contact to impart a pretty pink colour, and

the wine is kept on the lees in bottle for 12

months. This bubbly’s perfumed floral

notes, bright acidity and tangy red fruit will

pair deliciously with salmon in a lemon-

and-butter sauce, or beef sliders with

wilted beet greens and grainy mustard.


makes their delightfully unconven-

tional take on bubbly, the Ice Cuvée, from

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a little splash

of Gamay. The wine spends 12 to 14

months on the lees, after which time it’s

disgorged and the secret ingredient, a

dosage of Vidal Icewine, adds the finishing

touch. The Icewine brings a subtle kiss of

sweetness and an extraordinary dimension

of richness and flavour, making this a tasty



Peller Estates’ elegant building in Niagara-on-

the-Lake encompasses winemaking facilities and a

restaurant featuring themed meals. ABOVE: Henry

of Pelham proprietors (left to right) Matthew, Paul

and Daniel Speck.