June 6, 2009

No. 99 Estates Winery - The Great One Delivers Great Wine

We often try to visit wineries wherever we travel, and in 2008 we visited Wayne Gretzky's winery, No. 99 Estates Winery, in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region of Ontario.

Recently at Acker, Merral & Condit, located on Manhattan's Upper West Side, we went for a tasting of Gretzky's wines hosted by Opici Imports and Eddie Mio (who works alongside Wayne Gretzky at the winery and for the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes). Eddie formerly played goalie for the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers.

We sampled the 2007 Merlot (Niagara), 2007 Unoaked Chardonnay (Niagara), 2005 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Vidal and Shiraz Icewines.

2007 Unoaked Chardonnay from Niagara ($14.99)
Light straw color, light and fragrant fruit, some peachiness, citrusy and tart in a fresh and clean style. This 'naked' Chard is only 12.5% ABV and is great as an aperitif with hors d'oeuvres.

2007 Merlot from Niagara ($19.99)
2007 was likely the Niagara appellation's best year on record, so the reds had more of a chance to ripen a little bit more than in prior vintages. Slightly fruit forward with some oak and cedar on the nose, the Merlot does not have that New World over-the-top berry and alcohol (which is expected from an Ontario red wine).

The wine is round with a medium body, dried cherry and blackberry, soft tannins and a medium finish. Overall, a pleasant wine in an Old World style.

We also picked up a bottle of the 2005 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.99) that we loved at the tasting. It's difficult to find a Napa cab from a good year for under $30 and having several tastes at Acker, it appears the winery selected some good juice for their cab. Cheers!


  1. The unoaked chardonnay sounds interesting...I usually avoid chardonnay due to the overpowering oak.

  2. Sounds good, will definitely try the Merlot. I like slight fruit flavours in the background.



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