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There are just a handful of places where the perfect combination of cool climate and clay-limestone soils create ideal conditions for growing classic Pinot Noir: quite possibly the most elegant, expressive red wine in the world. Thankfully, Niagara is one such spot. We’ve collected four Niagara wines at a range of prices so you can rekindle your Pinot passion.

Situated by the banks of the Sixteen Mile Creek at the foot of the Twenty Mile Bench, 16 Mile Cellar is a small, boutique family winery run by self-described “zealous winemakers” with a focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. About a third of their 2014 Rebel Pinot is from their organically farmed vineyard, with the balance coming from Malivoire Vineyard atop the Beamsville Bench. The wine spent 18 months in a combo of new and seasoned French oak barrels and was bottled unfiltered.

“Gravity” is the moniker given to the top-tier reserve Pinot Noir from Flat Rock Cellars. It’s so named as a nod to the winery’s gravity-flow design that gently gets the wine where it needs to go without the use of pumps. The grapes are sourced from the best blocks within Flat Rock’s estate vineyard atop the limestone-rich Twenty Mile Bench in the Niagara Escarpment appellation, and the final blend is hand-selected in the barrel cellar from those individual barrels that show exceptional elegance and purity of fruit. The 2015 vintage is impressively complex and drinking beautifully.

Husband and wife Ilya and Nadia Senchuk realized their dream when they founded Leaning Post Wines, named in a literal sense for the anchoring posts at the ends of their vine rows, and more figuratively for the friends and family who supported their journey. Their 2015 Pinot was sourced from two Niagara sites, with 91% from McNally Vineyard in Beamsville Bench and the rest from Lowrey Vineyard in St. David’s Bench. The wine was aged 13 months in French oak barrels.

EastDell is a casual portfolio of wines from Lakeview Wine Co., its aim to create sophisticated, quality wines at approachable prices that make them suitable for any-day enjoyment. Their 2016 Pinot blends fruit from a selection of Niagara vineyards and was aged in a mix of French and American oak barrels for 12 months. It’s a great introduction to Pinot Noir from Niagara and a great starting point for exploring one of the world’s most beloved wine varietals.

The Finer Points

Unfiltered, VQA Niagara Peninsula
520783 (XD) 750 mL $22.95

Violet florals, ripe fruit, vanilla and earth. Fresh and easygoing.

(out of 5) (André Proulx)

Medium-bodied & Fruity

VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment
001560 (XD) 750 mL $34.95

*Late arrival. Product will not be available in time for release.

Generous, complex and approachable with cherry, spice and earth.

89 points (David Lawrason)

Medium-bodied & Fruity

VQA Niagara Peninsula
523183 (XD) 750 mL $29.95

A blend of fruit from the McNally and Lowrey vineyards. Soft and accessible with lithe, lifted fruit.

90 points (Michael Godel)

Medium-bodied & Fruity

VQA Niagara Peninsula
613059 (XD) 750 mL $15.95

Firm and fresh with red cherry, strawberry and sweet spice.

Medium-bodied & Fruity