A founder of modern Niagara viticulture, Château des Charmes has long been one of my favorite wineries from Ontario. This solid and constant estate was founded in 1978 by Paul Bosc, a fifth-generation French vigneron whose family had come from Alsace through Algeria before being seduced by the Niagara’s winegrowing potential. It became an early standard-bearer of the movement towards vitis vinifera and the development of quality wines from the area. With Inniskillin and Cave Spring, the Bosc family was one of the very first to obtain a licence to produce and sell wines in Ontario in the post-Prohibition era.
Among the various lines of wines produced at Château des Charmes, my favorite has always been the St Davids Bench Vineyard series. The chardonnay, in particular, has always struck a balance between the oaky, ripe side of things and the mineral, lively character that makes Niagara chardonnays so interesting. I’ve also liked the St Davids Cabernet Sauvignon, the few times I’ve had it, with a restrained, cool-climate feeling to it.
So when I found the St Davids gewurz on the SAQ shelves, I was quite happy. I don’t believe I’d had it before, and was looking forward to see if it corresponded to the general impressions of the series: classic, balanced, tasty and easy-drinking, even as it showed structure and definition.
The 2006 St Davids Bench Vineyard gewürztraminer has the same classic elegance and balance that I’ve come to love in other wines from that particular range. The nose, with its expansive aromas of roses and spices (ginger, in particular), is textbook gewurz, and so is the balance between acidity and sweetness that comes in with the citrus, rose and spice flavors. Served blind, it could easily pass for alsatian. Very pleasant, through and through, and a terrific value at under 20$. The type of wine that will keep me returning to the Château des Charmes St Davids Bench line for years to come.