Owners: The Landsborough Family
Category: Winery Destination
‘Home’ Ranking out of five: 5/5
Date: (writing date: November 18, 2020)
Posting Date: January 22/23, 2021
When Carrie and I first visited Maelstrom (linked) we drove down the lane of the house and went into the renovated garage right behind. There, we discovered a helpful person willing to give us a tasting. Inside was virtually the entire family-operated winery, including the filling and corking stations. This was about four or five years ago, now.
Interestingly, each time we go to Maelstrom (about every other year) there is a new improvement. Today there is a lovely, separate building for tastings and now, this year we discovered this wonderful, covered patio (linked to the main building) where we could sit amongst the fields of grapes and taste wine to our heart’s content.
Located just off highway 8 between the thriving metropolises of Clinton and Seaforth (78925 Sanctuary Line) Maelstrom is one of the wineries you’ll visit that’s on a gravel road. It is about a kilometer or two off the main highway heading south off #8.
Inside you’ll discover bottles of some grape varietals you many have never heard of before. Our first visit to Maelstrom introduced us to Frontenac Blanc. Planters Ridge (linked for you) describes Frontenac Blanc as a mutation of Frontenac Gris. It was found in Quebec in 2005. Frontenac Blanc has high acidity (like a Pinot Grigio) and has Canadian winter-hardy vines. The varietal has a light taste and a crisp finish and it is like nothing you’ve tasted before!
In the white category Maelstrom produces what you might expect from Ontario: Chardonnay, Riesling, and Vidal. Another lesser known grape (to many) is L’Acadie Blanc. Wikipedia (linked for you here) cites L’Acadie Blanc as a cross between Cascade and Seyve-Villard and it is also a cold-hardy varietal. You’ll want to give it a try too.
When you visit the emerging region of Lake Huron, you’ll become accustomed to seeing and hopefully tasting these cold-hardy Frontenac and L’Acadie Blanc varietals.
In the red category you’ll find Marquette, which is another lovely cold-hardy hybrid, and Cabernet Franc. There’s also a Baco Noir/Cab. Franc blend called Tempest that you’ll want to give a whirl!
My wife and I are wine-bidextrous. What I mean by that is that she prefers white, and I prefer red, but we can both drink and enjoy both. So, she usually has a flight of white and I a flight of red, and we trust one another to buy the kinds we will both enjoy once we get home.
Maelstrom changes each time I visit, as I’ve said. It’s moved from quaint (closed-in garage), to homey and professional (with the dedicated wine-tasting building). The new tasting building has a wood interior and exterior which is quite gorgeous … if you like and appreciate wood. Now, add to that professional tasting area, the outdoor romantic patio and you can create whatever experience you desire (full flight tasting indoors out of the weather or a leisurely glass on the patio outside). I like going here and have made the trek three times, so something great keeps bringing me back!
If a part of what I share with you is ‘finding a home away from home’ then Maelstrom readily meets this criterium. This winery is off the beaten path. The people who work there are knowledgeable and friendly. I’d like to think that everywhere “I take you” you’ll have this kind of experience with the people. But Maelstrom, in its remote locale, will offer you something more.
If you’ve only ever experienced the speed and pace of city living, well … you’ll feel something different at Maelstrom: you’ll feel country living … perhaps even ‘farm living’. I define country living as more casual, a slower pace (from the city) and farm living is more casual yet. On the farm everyone is your friend. You won’t be rushed at Maelstrom. At Maelstrom you’ll always feel welcome.
There’s something about basking in the fresh clean air outside with a leisurely pace to the visit that makes tasting Maelstrom wine far more enjoyable than you can possibly imagine.
Now, if you don’t like traveling down gravel roads, you will have to overcome this objection. A part of what makes Maelstrom so relaxing, so pretty is the remoteness of the building … a remoteness that reconnects you to the land, to the clear farm-fresh air and to the grape varietals you’re about to taste in your flight!
If you ask questions of the staff, you’ll be answered as though you’re family. There’s a je ne sais quoi about the place that makes you take a deep breath and say ‘ahhhh, I feel at home here.’
Maelstrom was our first experience with a number of cold-climate varietals which Carrie and I both love, so we have a romantic connection to the place because of that first-time experience. We are appreciative to Maelstrom for introducing several entirely unique one-of-a-kind grape varietals to our palates. I hope you go there and have a great experience too.
Availability: I don’t believe any of Maelstrom’s wines are sold anywhere else other than on the premises, so everything will be one-of-a-kind!