Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ontario Wines Just keep On Coming Part Three: By Chadsey's Cairns and Keint-He Wineries

By Chadsey's Cairns Winery And Vineyards
This property was purchased at the beginning of the 19th century by James Chadsey whose son William inherited it in 1819. The property fell into the hands of a William's son, Ira. Ira committed suicide in 1905. Ira's claim to fame were a series of stone cairns built on the property. Cairns were common in Ireland (his family's homeland) in those days and were thought to be built as a commemoration of one's life much as Eskimos build stone figures to show that they had visited a location. Ira's suicide and rather bizarre existence initiated many stories about him.
His being an agnostic gave rise to his possible belief in reincarnation. The story was told that he built the Cairns as a guide to his home when he was reincarnated------as a white horse.The story and legend has stuck and some of the cairns can still be found on the property.
The present owners are Richard Johnston and Vida Zainieriunas. Prior to purchasing the land, Richard was an MPP for Scarborough West (10 years), Chair of the Council of Regents (Governing body of Ontario's colleges), President of the First Nations Technical Institute and President of Centennial College. Vida has a private psychotherapy practice in PEC.
The Visit!
Tino, Denise and I visited the winery and grounds of this historic place. The cemetery near the front of the property added a note of austere yet historical credibility to the place. The boutique decor was consistent with the rest of the farm. The barn was filled with many amusements for people to view and must be also used as an entertainment facility.
Through the boutique one could see the vineyards planted in 1999 and beyond. I gazed at the expanse while I was on the deck just outside of the boutique.
The grounds around the winery had a both rustic flavour and unspoiled old country charm. There seemed to be something new at every corner. The personalities of Richard and Vida made the visit complete. At some point I want to come back and take a trip into the wood's interior to see the cairns which so far have evaded me.
The Wines
I only tasted one wine and that was the 2007 Chardonnay which was a very clean wine with tropical and white fruit flavours. The wine reflected the minerality of the soil in the fact that there was a pebble like backdrop to the fruit on my palate. The acidity reflected the cool nights of the area even in a warm year like 2007. I obtained this wine courtesy of Richard who took the time to travel to Whitby on his way to Toronto and give me the wine to use on a television program. I had the wine with a small pork roast with apple topping. The match was perfection.

Keint-He Winery And Vineyards
Named after an Iroquois village which existed in the area, the winery has also adopted the painting by Canadian artist Anne Hopkins (1838-1919) titled Canoes In A Fog, Lake Superior as the label on its wine bottles. The winery is a very modern and well situated place with three vineyards. The main thrust is to develop Burgundian style vineyards with varietals such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier.
General Manager Bryan Rogers who has extensive experience in media and film production as well as two Masters degrees, met me in Whitby to discuss his wines as well as give me a bottle of his great unfiltered Pinot Noir to use on a television program.
With the seriousness that is being used in making sure that no stone remains unturned in order to produce quality product as well as the raw talent that seems to be part of the team, it seems clear that Keint-He will be a winery to be reckoned with as it develops.