Wine Review: Izumi White









Wine Review
Izumi White – Between The Lines Family Estate Winery
by Jeffrey Reed, Editor,

Two of my greatest passions – fishing and cooking – go together like peas and carrots. During this time of social isolation, I’ve taken over the kitchen from she-who-must-be-obeyed on a more regular basis. And more often than not, I’m tasting an Ontario VQA offering.

In fact, few outdoor activities can lend themselves to distancing as can angling, and thus I’ve been on the bank of our rural pond quite frequently as I’ve anticipated fishing from the shore of the Thames River and our Great Lakes.

Naturally, when Canada’s most recognizable fisherman – Bob Izumi – ventured into the kitchen during an episode of his Real Fishing Show on The Sportsman Channel, I was intrigued. I also took note of Izumi wines, from Between The Lines Family Estate Winery at Niagara-On-The Lake – my favourite wine destination. The result is my latest wine review: Izumi White, a wonderful twinning of Chardonnay and Riesling which became an instant favourite.

Between The Lines is just that: a family business stemming from the arrival from the Wertsch family who immigrated to Canada in 1998. The company’s “wine economist,” Greg Wertsch, returned to Germany in 2005 in order to study wine economics. His brother and Between The Lines winemaker, Yannick Wertsch, began studying his craft that same year. In 2009, they bottled their first wine, and a year later Between The Lines opened to the public.

“We sought out Niagara-on-the-Lake because we knew it had global potential. With hard work and a passion for innovative winemaking, we built Between The Lines into a staple of the Niagara wine circuit,” said Greg.

(L-R) Yannick and Greg Wertsch.

“I absorbed Niagara viticulture and developed a winemaking process that celebrated the region and its grapes. I used the Niagara grape to combine the best of two worlds, old-world winemaking traditions and new world innovation, and created something original to put our stamp on the region,” Yannick added.

The result? A distinguished portfolio of wines that possess a precise flavour and appeal to new wine drinkers and the most seasoned palates. It all happens in the Between The Lines Big Red Barn on stunning Niagara-on-the-Lake property. Modern-rustic space houses a cellar and acts as both a tasting room and clubhouse.

Izumi is no stranger to wine labels, but it says here his Izumi White is his best to date. Between The Lines also produces Izumi Red, a Cabernet Franc-Pinot Noir blend ($19.95).

Even the non-fishing aficionado knows the Izumi name. For three decades, his weekly Real Fishing Show has educated and entertained legions of anglers, both young and old, on the finer points of fishing. Izumi’s infectious enthusiasm and approachable demeanour have made him a “TV buddy” to millions of Canadians and, as anyone who has ever met him will agree, he’s exactly the same down-to earth guy in person.

From each purchase of an Izumi wine, Between The Lines will donate $1 to the Fishing Forever Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the preservation of Canada’s fishing resources.

Now to the wine. Perfecting a Chardonnay-Riesling blend requires skill and patience, and Between The Lines has nailed it. The nose of honey, green apple and lemon is instantly recognizable. The mouth doesn’t disappoint. There’s a sudden layering on the palate, beginning with lime and honey, followed slowly by sweet lemon grass. The layers blend into one delicious offering and compliment one other perfectly. Kudos to Yannick.

Between The Lines recommends pairing Izumi White with fish, grilled peaches and chevre. I took the lead from the Real Fishing Show and guest chef Mark McEwan, and created an inspired dish of grilled rainbow trout on a bed of lightly seasoned roasted potatoes and grilled cherry tomatoes, seasoned with grilled leeks and garlic, cooked in virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and topped with a dressing of vinegar, lemon juice and butter. Although I’m a minnow compared to Chef McEwan, the meal drew much praise and the food-wine match was made in heaven.

The next evening, I cooked a traditional Italian pasta dish with marinara sauce, but included seasoned lean pork, seasoned with leeks and garlic. Both of the dishes were perfect partners with Izumi White.

At $17.95, Izumi White is one of the best wine offerings in its class. It has a surprising but delightful two-layered mouth that pleases rather than overwhelms. I would not hesitate pairing this white with any offering on the grille this summer.

For more information on Between The Lines Family Estate Winery and Izumi White – and Red – visit

Izumi White, Ontario VQA, 750mL
Between The Lines Family Estate Winery
Variety: Chardonnay and Riesling
Description: A blend with fresh tropical aromas of pineapple and honey. A hint of citrus gives it minerality on the palate.
Tasting Notes: Nose – honey, green apple, hint of meyer lemon. Mouth – lime, honey, sweet lemon grass
Alcohol: 12%
Total Acid: 7.4 g/L
pH: 3.33
Residual Sugar: 8g/L
Pairs With: This wine is perfect for enjoying outdoors on a patio. Pair it with fish, grilled peaches and chevre.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office established 1989.