On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

PRA Winery Podcast Tie-in

01 Nov 2023

(July 2023) ... We sat down with Diego Corradi, the export manager for PRA winery in the Veneto region of Soave to discuss all things Soave and Valpolicella - the white and the red wines of the area. You can listen to our podcast here, but below are some of the highlights and the reviews of the wines we tasted.

PRA is a classical Soave producer, owning 40 hectares and six "crus" of the grape which grows at the higher elevation areas of the region, in volcanic soils. The grape that makes Soave is Garganega and Diego describes it as a very malleable grape, like Chardonnay. The laws for the area state 70% of Soave can be Garganega ... But PRA likes to use 100%. Interesting to note that their Soave was sealed under screwcap, and has been since 2010 - during our interview, we learned that screwcap has not always been allowed, and that it was not possible to use one on a wine bearing the "classico" label until 2015. Now all of PRA's white wines are sealed with a screwcap. But for 5 years this winery was ahead of the curve.

2021 Otto - Soave Classico
You can learn all about the name by listening to the podcast, let it be said here though that it is named after a dog - the rest of the story here. This 100% Garganega sits on fine lees in stainless steel for 6 months, giving the wine a creamy mid-palate before rolling into green apple and minerality on the finish. An easy wine to sip on, especially on a hot afternoon.

We moved on from Soave to talk Valpolicella, something that PRA has only been making since 2006. The wine we tried was "Morandina", the name given to their "cru" that sits on the eastern side at high elevation. That elevation helped explain the bone shaking acidity within the wine.

2021 Morandina Valpolicella
Sour cherry and raspberry fruit co-mingle with red currants and mouth-puckering acidity. Clean and precise, a wine that needs a meal.

To listen to the full interview with Diego of PRA, follow this link.


Mission Hill Tasting (Podcast Tie-in)

26 Oct 2023


(March 2023) … Mission Hill came to Toronto for the first time in a while and they brought with them their new winemaker. It’s the first time in their history they’ve had a woman at the helm: Corrie Krehbiel. I attended this tasting and then we talked with Corrie on the podcast. I review the wines tasted below and for the rest; I suggest you listen to the podcast - link can be found here.

Mission Hill 2019 Oculus (Legacy Collection) Oculus
Merlot 52% / Cabernet Franc 30% / Cabernet Sauvignon 17% / Petit Verdot 1%    
First vintage 1997 - Beautiful fruit: blueberry, mocha, dark and red, layered and lovely; red licorice and anise seed join in mid-palate to the finish. Also has notes of tobacco, with silky and elegant tannins. Very classy wine.  (**** ½+)    

Mission Hill 2018 Quatrain (Legacy Collection)
QuatrainSyrah 47% / Cabernet Sauvignon 26% / Merlot 18% / Cabernet Franc 8%    
Quatrain was looking for an identity and it has found it - 2016 they made the change to Syrah dominant.
Smooth and silky with a peppery backbone, blue and black fruit notes includes: blueberry, blackberry, smoked-plum, all with a delightful length to the finish with spicy-tannic notes.  (**** ½)   

Mission Hill 2020 Perpetua (Legacy Collection)
Chardonnay 100%
From the Border Vista vineyard and Naramata Ranch - it has some weight to it with peach pit, apple and mineral plus some smoke, good acidity and a touch of spice - hard to beat that long finish.  (****+)

Mission Hill 2018 Compendium (Legacy Collection)
Cabernet Sauvignon 44% / Merlot 30% / Cabernet Franc 26%
Spends 18 months French oak / 30% new – Smoky-cigar box, intense, with a long finish. Fruit includes notes of blackberry and cassis, but there’s even some floral notes and some bittersweet chocolate; there were times I thought this wine was just showing off.  (****)

Mission Hill NV (2021) Exhilaration Brut (Charmat)
Pinot Noir    
This is a pretty little sparkling, rosé, with notes of citrus, with hint of pineapple and peach - 3 months of lees stirring helps create its depth of character ... long finish.  (****)    

Mission Hill 2020 Vista's Edge (Terroir Collection) Mission Hill 3
Cabernet Franc    
22% whole bunch - concrete fermented - and aged in foudre (large barrels).
This wine takes it’s beginnings from Compendium: smoky-cigar box, earthy, black raspberry, stony, with some tannin grit.  (*** ½+)

Mission Hill 2014 Quatrain (Legacy Collection)    
Merlot 44% / Syrah 28% / Cabernet Franc 14%  / Cabernet Sauvignon 14%    
While this wine was double decanted before serving, it still was pretty closed. Smooth across the palate, so the tannins have toned down, and the more you sip the fruit emerges with some pretty undertones – but there is nothing overly wonderful about this wine, yet. More time? I guess we wait and see. If you have any, open at least one to check it out for yourself.

Link to the PODCAST by clicking here.


Get Our Newsletter

* indicates required

Follow Us on Social Media

Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube

RSS feed