VQAO (Vintners Quality Alliance Ontario) received a request from a winery to amend the VQA regulation to add Marquette to the list of permitted grape varieties.
The VQAO has strict policy guidelines when it comes to evaluating new varieties. The VQAO’s Standards Development Committee, comprised of 14 senior winemakers and industry representatives taste tested a range of wine samples made from Ontario Marquette and found it to be high in quality and the variety had a detailed record of parentage and breeding history. From this review, the Committee concluded that Marquette grown in Ontario meets the criteria and recommends that it be added to the list of VQA hybrid varieties.
On August 12th, 2019 the Ministry of Government and Consumer services accepted the recommendation to amend their regulations to include Marquette as a permitted hybrid grape variety.
What is Marquette anyways?
Bottles of VQA Marquette will be hitting the LCBO shelves soon! The Marquette grape is a complex hybrid, one that was made by crossing Vitis vinifera and other Vitis species in 1989. It is the cousin of Frontenac, a well-known French-American hybrid, and the grandson of Pinot Noir, a common varietal that flourishes in Ontario. Due to this crossing, Marquette is a variety with high sugar levels and moderate acidity. Ontario’s cool-climate wine regions offer the perfect temperatures for Marquette to blossom. Marquette wines can be enjoyed immediately, but have also shown to age very well if stored properly.
Marquette wines are typically medium bodied, with aromas of cherries, blackcurrants, and blackberries. Secondary and tertiary more complex aromas include tobacco and leather, with spicy pepper notes on the finish. This allows Marquette to pair well with red meats, roasted duck, grilled pork, and pasta in tomato sauce.