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New Niagara on the Lake winery called Stratus
  steve  2005-05-09 18:07   Stratus has taken an very upscale approach to wine making, with J.L. Groulx as their head wine maker. Their Stratus white is "a blend of 5 different white grapes" and I found it quite enjoyable. The Stratus red is another blend of several grapes and is very tight but shows excellent potential. The people in the winery have taken the novel approach of not divulging the exact varieties or percentages, creating a bit of mystery... and a healthy price.

The Gamay Noir is a knockout! I really liked it and found it comparable to the equally superb 13th Street Gamay Noir.

Stratus is well worth a visit as are many of the established local wineries.
Stratus in Niagara-on-the-Lake releases 2002 Gamay Noir
<  2  & For those who purchased bottles from the 2001 offering, this is your chance to replenish your inventory. For those who heard about the fuss, here is your opportunity to taste the hype! Only a few barrels of this delicious wine made it to bottle. Purchase now!

“This plush and rich red wine shows the power and personality that Gamay is capable of in Niagara's vineyards. A bright cherry, cedar and earthy note greets you on the nose, while the attractive palate presents lively flavours of cherries and raspberries, with a creamy middle and some nice background spice notes. The lingering finish suggests a concentrated cherry flavour. This is extremely enjoyable right now and will age nicely over the course of three to five years.”

— Christopher Waters Vines Magazine, December – 2005

Gamay, a vinifera variety native to the Beaujolais region of France, is ideally suited to Niagara's climate. It is winter hardy and consistently reaches full ripeness. In cooler vintages, gamay provides us with freshness, clarity and balance. In warmer years such as 2002, these characteristics are bolder, richer and juicier. This is the quintessential crossover wine, loved in bistros and fine dining rooms alike. It is a versatile food wine, pairing easily with both hearty meat dishes and seafood.

The Stratus Vineyard has two distinct mature plantings of Gamay. It is a limited, yet important, component of the red assemblage wine Stratus Red, as it adds fruitiness and liveliness. In addition to sourcing fruit from our own estate, a portion of this wine was made from a neighboring privately held vineyard, renowned for producing ripe, distinctive gamay.

Warm summer days, cool nights, and a dry autumn define the 2002 vintage. The fruit was picked between October 10 and 17 with average ripeness over 23 degrees brix. In keeping with Stratus' viticultural mandate of rigourously low yields, the crop came in at less than 2 tonnes per acre. Once in the winery, the fruit was subject to the scrutiny of the sorting table teams. If a berry made it to tank, it was in perfect form.

Following fermentation, the wine spent an additional 20 days on the skins for heightened extraction of flavour and color before aging patiently in french oak barriques for 650 days. This is not a typo–650 days; just shy of two years. Remarkably, the barrel-aging contributes complexity yet never interferes with the intense fruit character of the wine.