The Old Third 2011 Pinot Noir: The 2011 pinot from The Old Third is a terrific follow up

to the excellent 2010, furthering establishing the quality status of this 5-acre, densely planted, organically farmed vineyard on the Closson Road terrace. It’s an authentic reflection of this cooler vintage, and a severe selection was required to achieve this level of quality. The colour is tending already to garnet, while the nose offers an enticing mix of dried rose petals, sweet pot pourri and delicate red berry-cherry-raspberry-wild strawberry fruit. Wood is again masterfully integrated, and tannins are ultra-fine, giving this a finely woven, silky texture on a light frame, braced by ripe, succulent acids. Considering the slim, lithe and forward nature of this wine, I’d recommend enjoying this over the short term, from now until about 2016 or so. Another refined and delicate Volnay-esque effort from winemaker Bruno François. Tasted June 2013.91 points JOHN SZABO, Wine Align – June 2013 
The Old Third 2010 Pinot Noir:Supple, elegant nose, with notes of roses, red cherries and subtle spice. The palate is pure and elegant with beautifully textured red cherry fruit. Real finesse here. Such a lovely pinot noir.93 points JAMIE GOODE – July 2013 

The Old Third 2011 Pinot Noir Blanc:

This (mainly) Pinot Noir producer believes that white Pinot can be as good as Chardonnay in Prince Edward County. This small lot is barrel fermented and barrel aged in 65% new oak and the result is a gorgeously aromatic white with ripe apricot, pear, butterscotch and toasty vanilla on the nose. It is finely textured with ripe tropical fruits and lovely finesse through the finish.

91 points RICK VAN SICKLE – 2013

The Old Third 2010 Pinot Noir:

Supple, elegant nose, with notes of roses, red cherries and subtle spice. The palate is pure and elegant with beautifully textured red cherry fruit. Real finesse here. Such a lovely pinot noir.

93 points JAMIE GOODE – July 2013

The Old Third 2010 Pinot Noir:

The 2010 from The Old Third Vineyard is a terrific example of County pinot noir. The warmth of the vintage shows through, offering sweet red berry – raspberry, red cherry, currant – aromas, very delicate and nuanced. Wood is very well integrated, merely a light frame of spice, allowing the characteristic stoniness of the region to take centre stage. The texture is silky-firm, with light, seamless tannins and the finish is long and perfumed. A very refined, elegant expression all in all that will appeal to fans of the old world, Burgundian style (very Volnay-like in fact), and a wonderful addition to the Ontario wine repertoire. Tasted April 2012.

91 points JOHN SZABO, Wine Align– 2012

The Old Third 2010 Pinot Noir:

This is the third vintage from the Old Third, a serious pinot-focused property with organically-farmed, dense planted vines on a ridge atop Closson Road. It has an engaging if subtle nose of dried herbs (bay leaf/thyme) amid cran-strawberry fruit and background oak spice and earth. Oak is very deftly handled. Its mid-weight, smoothly textured yet a bit sour-edged on the finish; with excellent length. A firm, authentic style that needs about two years.Tasted May 2012.

91 points DAVID LAWRASON – 2012

The Old Third 2010 Pinot Noir:

Such wonderful and wild nose of crushed red berries red plum, cassis, light mocha spice and a vein of earth-loam-minerality running through the core. Such a unique and special pinot with purity of fruit on the palate, rich and layered red fruits, touches of currants and cassis, integrated and smooth tannins and an alluring layer of soft spice that adds interest to the experience. So good.

92 points RICK VAN SICKLE – September 2012

Also in Hillier, the Old Third Vineyard, run by partners Jens Korberg and Bruno Francois is a gorgeous facility converted from a dairy barn built near the end of the 19th century. Francois and Korberg are fabulous and enthusiastic hosts, farming a small amount of Pinot Noir from the property using sustainable farming practices, wild fermentation and no filtering or fining. “For me, what’s interesting is what’s in the vineyard, what’s in the field,” Francois, who makes the wine, said, on a recent visit. The Old Third makes very limited quantities of Pinot Noir and a botrytis affected medium-sweet Pinot Noir and is adding a sparkling wine to the portfolio. Production is 350 cases with the goal being only 500 cases at full production. The wines sell out quickly and the next release isn’t until May. They keep their tasting room open until the wines sell out.”

The Old Third Pinot Noir 2009:

Such a distinctive, terroir-drive Pinot that’s wild fermented and finished unfiltered and unfined. The nose shows rich cherry fruit, violets, raspberry and integrated spice notes. It’s silky smooth on the palate with lovely mineral and spice notes to go with the red fruits.

90 points RICK VAN SICKLE – 2011

Before Closson Road was renamed, it went by another moniker. “When we moved here, our neighbours left a note on our door saying, ‘Welcome to The Old Third.’ ” recalls co-owner Bruno Francois, the Toronto-raised son of French immigrants. With partner Jens Korberg, he has brought the past back to life in another way, restoring an 1870s horse barn with design details worthy of Architectural Digest. Billowing white curtains make for an arresting contrast with the weathered wood, a conspicious clue that the horse has indeed left this barn. The only wine made here, a $35 pinot noir, is excellent.“

BEPPI CROSARIOL, The Globe and Mail – 2011

My favourite 2009 Pinot Noir thus far comes from The Old Third. Dubbed so in honour of the old name for Closson Road, which bisects the Third Concession in Hillier. Similar to Stanners, the vineyard is a limestone-rich clay studded with fossilised sea creatures and mineral-rich deposits left by glaciers. Winemaker and co-owner Bruno Francois along with partner Jens Korberg are hands-on and passionate. When you visit the winery, which is in a beautifully restored barn built in the late 1800s, at least one if not both of them will be there to greet you.

When he tired of the grind of the software business in 2004 and began exploring the dream of starting a winery, Francois sought out the help of one the regions pioneers, Geoff Heinricks of Keint-He. When he decided on a site in the Hillier he selected a warm, well-draining, south-eastern facing slope planted with six clones of Pinot Noir to very high-density and grown to very limited yields. The committed Pinot-phile only sells Pinot Noir . If that wasn’t proof enough of his passion for the grape he even imported a speciality tractor from Burgundy which straddles the vines, so he could work those tight high- density plantings.

His wine is hand picked, hand sorted and unfined and unflitered. Francois loves honest wines and has the goal of producing the best wine possible that tastes like it can come from no where but his section of Prince Edward County. His focus and hard work pays off in the glass.

A light purplish-ruby you could almost mistake it for a glass of fruit punch. Close your eyes, nose the glass and then you’re greeted with the unmistakable aroma of fragrant sweet cherry, kirsch, thyme fields, wild strawberries and a minerality reminiscent of ocean sea breeze. On the palate that cherry is so vivid you almost search for the pit between your teeth. After the cherry comes a wave of sweet early-summer strawberries before a hint of subtle fennel licorice, thyme and a deep minerality to round out the lingering finish. The tannins are supple and together with a perfectly balanced acidity provide the structure that suggest this will age and evolve over a few years.

A wine this focused and honest requires a food to match. A crisp-skin roasted chicken with flavours with thyme, sea salt and pepper accompanied by duck fat roasted potatoes would be perfect.

MICHAEL DI CARO – Spotlight Toronto – 2011

The Old Third 2009 Pinot NoirPourriture Noble:

“…It is semi-sweet (25 grams residual sugar) with normal 12.5% alcohol. It is a very pale straw colour with mellow but complex aroma of buckwheat honey/marzipan, vague apricot fruit and dried herbs. It’s mid-wheight, creamy and lively with very good lenght. It is also best as cheese wine, with milder, soft and creamy styles.”

90 points DAVID LAWRASON – 2011

The Old Third 2009 Pinot Noir:

This richly flavoured pinot presents bold berry and intense dried herb aromas and flavours. There’s finesse to the package, and a long, lingering finish makes it something to seek out.

CHRIS WATERS – 2011

The Old Third 2009 Pinot Noir:

Given the adherence to high density pinot growing at this small Closson Road property, it is no wonder this so closely resemble a traditional domain Burgundy. It’s pale garnet-ruby and just a touch clouded (unfiltered). The nose has cran-raspberry-beet fruit with, thyme-like herb and oak spice nuance, along with fresh dug potato earthiness. The palate is beautifully cohesive, with some firm, fine grained tannin. Very good to excellent. Age it another year or two.

90 points DAVID LAWRASON – 2011

But as Pinot Noir has been the County’s clarion call, let’s discuss. Not surprisingly (to me at least) very few new wineries are showing mastery of the heartbreak grape. In a half dozen examples tasted in March as I toured the new wineries, only one – a 2008 Pinot Noir from Bruno Francois at The Old Third Vineyard – pinged my Pinot sonar, joining a 2007 pinot from Keint-He I first tasted last fall. Both high-density planted pinots capture the complexity and drive of great pinot, while most others are touched with one of pinot’s tripple O-sins: over-ripeness, over-oaking and oxidation.

DAVID LAWRASON – 2010

The Old Third Vineyard is run by two very focused and ambitious gentlemen, with such a passion for Pinot that they have devoted their entire endeavor to this one grape. Bruno Francois and Jens Korberg are partners in this serious, courageous and admirable endeavor. They have converted a large, historic barn into a lofty, airy and modern space that is sure to impress any visitor.

The Old Third 2009 Pinot Noir:

Intense and very expressive floral nose with dried herbal and boysenberry notes. Rich and serious but also tangy with great elegance. Dried herbal notes throughout as well as older, integrated wood. Very good length.

The Old Third 2009 Pinot Noir Pourriture Noble:

This botrytis-affected Pinot Noir exhibits a sweet and inviting nose of peach nectar, white flower, beeswax and bright acidity. Palate is medium-sweet with elderflower, white cranberry and cherry blossom. Very elegant minerality is present on the long, lingering finish. Excellent with creamy blue cheeses.

SARA D’AMATO, Wine Align – 2011

The Old Third 2008 Pinot Noir:

This debut from a brand new small, single-minded pinot producer on Closson Road immidiately joins the top echelon of County pinots, with refined layering aromas, and fine, sturdy – if youthful tannic – texture. It easily handles the complex six-year-old cheddar from Black River (Milford/Picton) and the earthy semi-hard sheep cheese called Bonnechere from Back Forty (Lanark), as well as, surprisingly, an almost liquid sheep cheese called Operetta from Fifth Town (Picton). For comparably sturdy Niagara pinots at Vintages, look to Le Clos Jordanne.

-90 points DAVID LAWRASON – 2010