Pearl Morissette, Irreverence Blanc 2020, Niagara Peninsula, Lake Ontario, Ontario, Canada
With skin contact on some of the blend, this partial-orange wine is aromatic with ripe stone fruit. On the palate it’s bright and complex, and just a little bit salty.
APPELLATION (AVA): Niagara Peninsula
SUBREGION: Lake Ontario
VINEYARDS: Redfoot Vineyard (Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesling) and Home Farm Vineyard (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir)
GRAPES: 51% Chardonnay, 26% Viognier, 19% Pinot Noir, 4% Riesling
VINIFICATION: Part of the Viognier and the Riesling spent 6 months on their skins in qvevri (amounting to 13% of the total blend); Pinot Noir (as white juice) was fermented and aged in foudres, as was the rest of the Viognier. The Chardonnays were fermented and aged in a combination of foudres and demi-muids. All the wines were blended a year after harvest and spent an additional 8 months aging in a combination of old foudres and puncheons. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. pH: 3.46, TA: 6.28.
PRODUCTION: 1474 cases produced
WINE TO SOFA, TABLE, OR OCCASION: Table
BODY: Medium to full body
PRIMARY AROMAS: Salty, aromatic, ripe peach
FLAVOR: Bright, slight grip, orange rind
SERVICE AND FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTION: Serve slightly chilled (not too cold!).
ABOUT THE PRODUCER: Pearl Morissette
“Francois Morissette is making the most exciting wines in Canada that we know of in his small corner of Ontario. They are uncompromising wines of terroir that easily transcend the boundaries of the Niagara Peninsula; in his words, ‘I don’t make wine for Ontario, I make wine for the world.’”
“Francois’ career in wine began in his early 20s when he spent a year working for Domaine Alain Gras in Saint-Romain, learning about the traditional winemaking methods of the region. Once he moved back to Quebec, he worked towards becoming a sommelier and spent the rest of the 1990s building some of the most ambitious wine lists in both Quebec and Ontario. In 2000, the call of the vines was to loud to ignore and he moved back to France to pursue winemaking full-time, working for some of the most famous producers in the Côte d’Or including Frédéric Mugnier in Chambolle-Musigny, Christian Gouges of Domaine Henri Gouges in Nuits-Saint-Georges and Domaine Roulot in Meursault. After 7 years in Burgundy, he returned to Canada with an eye to make his own wine using the knowledge he gained abroad, and it wasn’t long before he found a partner (Mel Pearl, a developer in Toronto) with whom to make it all happen.
“The estate now owns two vineyards: the 19th Street Vineyard in the Twenty Mile Beach VQA and the home vineyard which is next to the winery, that is part of the Creek Shore VQA: both farmed organically, though not certified. Francois also runs a small negoce project with other likeminded growers in the area. When harvesting (which is done in multiple passes by hand), Francois pays keen attention to the ripeness levels of the grapes as he views this as the key to achieving perfect balance in the finished wine.
“In the cellar, vinifications are done in a wide variety of different vessels ranging from cement tank, to barrique, to cement egg. Fining and filtration is frowned upon, and sulfur is only used in minuscule doses, if at all. Francois makes a range of different wines from his estate.” (selectionmassale.com)