When you drive up to this winery...you think sexy and stylish. It is a beautiful property surrounded by beautiful mature vines.
During our Fabulicious weekend we visited only a very select few...after all, we had two minors with us and that makes it very difficult to winery hop. Stratus was one of our choices.
The outside of the winery building looks very boxy and linear but the space inside is modern and welcoming. Think white, gray and black working in perfect harmony with the sparkle of crystal and chrome.
During our visit we sampled four different wines...I choose two and Edgar picked two. My choices were the 2008 Stratus White and the 2008 Semillon Icewine.
The Stratus White is a blend of several wines - semillon, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and a hint of gewurztraminer and viognier. It was a full flavoured wine with peach and a hint of citrus on the nose with a long finish.
The Semillon Icewine was liquid gold in my honest opinion. It is golden in colour and has tropical scents of mango, pineapple and honey on the nose. The taste in incredible. It tastes of pineapple and orange. So delectable. Dessert in a glass. It was so good that I bought a bottle to bring home.
Definitely stop at Stratus Winery during your next visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is a beautiful winery serving some truly incredibly wines.
In his opinion:
Niagara-on-the-Lake or NOTL for the cool kids has grown dramatically over the last 10 years or so. It's hard to keep up with all the new wineries, given the fact that there seems to be a new one popping up every month. During our many visits we have just made it a rule that we only visit a select few new ones and re-visit our old favourites when we have a chance. This was a chance to re-visit Stratus, quickly but with impact.
The Stratus Winery building is quite striking from the outside, wrapped in sophistication and beautiful linear lines. The inside takes that sophistication to a whole new level with tall walls of wine, a cold minimalistic modern decor but somehow inviting as much as intimidating.
Stratus has what is known as a gravity wine making system where no pumps are utilized to carry the wine through its stages. Gravity does all the work in their 4-story tank elevation, allowing the wine to flow naturally from the stainless steel tank, all the way to the French oak barrels below. The amazing part is that unlike some other wineries in the Region, they don't have the natural slope in the terrain that would help such system, so kudos to the designer.
A lot of new technology and "avant-garde" processes are utilized in this winery, something refreshing for a winemaker from the Loire Valley who learned his craft in traditional Burgundy. Sustainability is also a key point at Stratus.
The wine...yes...let's get to that. Since I was the driver that day, I didn't have the luxury of tasting the amounts of wine I usually do. Still I had a chance to try 2 and here is my humble opinion on them.
2008 Stratus Red, $44.20 per bottle. I'm always kind of skeptical when bottles read just "Red". Surely even the less knowledgeable wine person can ascertain that fact. In the New World we have grown accustomed that the grape varietal is the main part of the label, but in the case of blends...maybe not. Regardless, it is a Burgundy style blend, with noticeable tannins, full of flavour and with earthy notes. Cellaring would be required to even come anywhere close to the award winning 2007.
2010 Stratus Syrah $48.00 per bottle. This wine fell a bit flat for me. Syrah or Shiraz as it is know in some parts of the world is STILL a hard variety to pull off in Canada in my opinion. Very fruity in its aroma and taste and with hints of pepper. Wasn't bad but I believe it's more of a "watch for it in the long run" type of vintage.
Make sure Stratus is on your wine route this year and if possible tour their amazing, spotless, you can eat off the floor wine making facilities. Cheers!!