Post-TasteCamp North interviews: Diane Letulle of the Wine Lover’s Journal

TasteCamp North, held on both the Canadian and the American side of the Niagara river on May 13-15, was a lot of fun and very instructive for the thirty-some wine bloggers and writers present. Pursuing a tradition started by Lenn Thompson for the first two TasteCamps, held in his home turf of New York State, I’ve decided to ask bloggers from outside the region to answer a short series of questions detailing their impressions of the region.

Diane Letulle, of the Wine Lover’s Journal, among other publications, is the third wine blogger interviewed in this series of posts, and the most familiar with the region so far, among US bloggers interviewed here.

Was this your first visit to Niagara – in Canada and/or the US?

I had been to Niagara Falls several times before: it was one of my parents’ favorite vacation destinations.

Had you ever had any Niagara wines before? If so, what was your impression of them?

Five years ago, I took my own family there to show them the Falls. On that trip, we visited Chateau des Charmes – my first experience with Niagara wines.  I fell in love with their ice wine on that trip and remember Vidal as the dominant grape used in those.

After your visit to Niagara, how much has your impression changed?

On this trip, I discovered all the other wines available from the region, and I have become a fan of several of their dry wines – although I do still love their sweet wines.

What did you appreciate the most?

I particularly appreciated the Niagara Chardonnays.  I am not a huge fan of Chardonnay – nine times out of ten this wine does not appeal to my palate.  Here, I discovered Chardonnays with an extra shot of acidity that lifted the flavor profile and made them particularly memorable. The Tawse 2008 Quarry Road Chardonnay was terrific – I opened it for friends this past weekend, and even those who professed not to enjoy white wine really enjoyed it.

What impressed you the least – or what needs improvement the most?

For me, the Niagara Pinots were often a disappointment.  There was a green note that was not appealing. However, even this grape found some nice expressions, especially at Flat Rock Cellars.

What was the most unexpected thing for you, during TasteCamp?

I think I was most surprised by the sparkling wine – I did not realize it was being produced here and really enjoyed several producers’ sparklers, especially the Trius Brut from Hillebrand.

What would your wine of the weekend be?

My wines of the weekend were the spectacular Rieslings of Thirty Bench Winemakers – just superb wines with gorgeous fruit, great acid, and layers of flavor. I would cellar these and enjoy them in a few years to appreciate their development.

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