Sunday, November 1, 2015

  • Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ontario Cabernet Franc Wine Tasting



Ontario Cabernet Franc lineup
On a rainy , I had the opportunity to taste 47 different Cabernet Franc wines from Ontario. The tasting event was organized by André Proulx and took place at Archive 909. Among those in attendance was Krista Lamb to reunite our #BlendedCru wine tasting group.

The small venue was perfect for this tasting as we had the whole place to ourselves. The impressive display of wines were placed in a line and very nearly filled the full length of the expansive bar. Wines ranged in vintage from 2009 to 2013, while pricing fell between $12 and $78. It was great to see all three major Ontario wine regions represented - Niagara Peninsula and it's sub-appellations, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore. Quite a few of the wines are available at the LCBO, but most are available only at the winery.

Below you will find wine reviews of the wines I enjoyed the most - and there were quite a few! Looking back, I am disappointed to see that no wine under $20 is in my list, including my usual "go-to" Ontario Cabernet Franc from Featherstone ($18.95, #064618). Having said that, less than 1/3 of the wines we tasted were less than $20, while the majority were between $20-$35.

I spoke to André after the event and we both agreed it was pretty crazy to taste so many wines in one sitting. However, it was a great experience that we all enjoyed and is something I hope we can do again with another grape that does well in Ontario. Varietals such as Chardonnay, Riesling and Gamay are ideal candidates for the next tasting.

A big thank you to André for organizing this huge, epic tasting, as well as all the wineries who provided the samples for us to taste!

Tasting Notes:

BACK 10 CELLARS THE BIG LEAP CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $28.95
Screw cap. Fragrant nose featuring raspberry, bramble, green pepper, and herbaceous aromas of medium+ intensity. Light tannins and light-to-medium bodied with nice aroma replays. It has bright acids and a medium-to-long finish. Score: 89 pts

Back 10 Cellars The Big Leap Cabernet Franc 2013 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

BENCH TRIAL SUBPOENA CABERNET FRANC 2010 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40.00
Nose appeared somewhat closed but featured notes of plum, raspberry, oak spice, dark cherry and chocolate. On the palate, it's full-bodied with good fruit extraction and complex aroma replays. It has mouth-watering acids and a very long finish. Decant for an hour and serve to allow the aromas to fully bloom. Score: 90 pts

Bench Trial Subpoena Cabernet Franc 2010 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)Bench Trial Testimony Cabernet Franc 2011 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (91 pts)

BENCH TRIAL TESTIMONY CABERNET FRANC 2011 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35.00
Perfumed medium-to-high intensity aromas of spice, black cherry, herbs, and exotic flowers. The palate is medium-bodied with crunchy taut tannins and very nice aroma replays accented by vanillan oak spice. It has very good acids and finishes very long. Score: 91 pts

CAVE SPRING CABERNET FRANC ESTATE BOTTLED CAVE SPRING VINEYARD 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (D) - $29.95
Medium+ intensity aromas of sweet ripe fruit, spices, sage, and herbally notes. The palate is medium+ bodied and fleshy with spice and aroma replays. It has very good acidity and finishes long. Taut tannins will reward with 1-2 years in cellar. Drink up to 2019. Score: 88+ pts

Cave Spring Cabernet Franc Estate Bottled Cave Spring Vineyard 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88+ pts)Cooper's Hawk Reserve Cabernet Franc 2012 - VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

COOPER'S HAWK RESERVE CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario, Canada (#335729) (XD) - $34.95
Medium-to-high aromatics showing grilled pepper, white pepper and herbaceous aromas. It's medium-to-full bodied with black cherry, black plum, and vanillan oak flavours. Very good acidity, medium-to-firm tannins and an oak-spiced finish. Drinkable now, will reward 2 years ageing. Score: 90 pts

COYOTE'S RUN RARE VINTAGE CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32.95
Aromas of medium-to-high intensity featuring savoury earthy and black cherry notes. On the palate, it's medium-to-full bodied with white pepper and sour cherry flavours. It has mouth-watering acids, good structure, firm tannins and a excellent length on the finish. Drinking well now, but will reward with 2 years in cellar. Score: 89-90 pts

Coyote's Run Rare Vintage Cabernet Franc 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89-90 pts)Fielding Cabernet Franc 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

FIELDING CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#036194) (XD) - $21.95
Medium+ intensity aromas featuring complex black cherry, oak spice, currant and cedar notes. The palate is medium+ bodied with savoury aroma replays. It has very good acids, taut tannins amd finishes long and smooth. Drinkable now, but should be better in 2 years. Score: 89 pts

KACABA CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2010 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $44.95
Inviting aromas of forest floor, cherry, dark red fruit and grilled pepper of medium+ intensity. The flavour profile consists of oak spice, chocolate and aroma replays on a medium+ bodied frame. It has very good acids, slightly chalky tannins and a long, smooth finish. Score: 88 pts

Kacaba Cabernet Franc Reserve 2010 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)Megalomaniac Grounded Cabernet Franc 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

MEGALOMANIAC GROUNDED CABERNET FRANC 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $44.95
Medium-to-high aromatics with a nose featuring savoury, earthy, forest floor and green pepper notes. The palate is medium+ bodied with ripe fruited flavours black cherry, oak spice, and plum. It has very good acids and finishes long. Score: 89 pts

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY DEAN'S LIST CABERNET FRANC 2012 - Donald Ziraldo Vineyard, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $28.15
Perfumed medium+ intensity nose featuring lovely floral, black cherry, raspberry and sweet spice aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with bright acids and nice aroma replays while finishing long. Medium-to-firm tannins could use 1-2 years to soften, but quite drinkable now. Score: 89 pts

Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Cabernet Franc 2012 - Donald Ziraldo Vineyard, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)Pillitteri Riserva Famiglia Cabernet Franc 2010 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90+ pts)

PILLITTERI RISERVA FAMIGLIA CABERNET FRANC 2010 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (D) - $78.20
Made in the appassimento style, this Cab Franc has medium-to-high aromas of sweet red cherries, caramel and orange. It's medium-to-full bodied with off-dry flavours of sweet oak spice, vanilla, milk chocolate and cherry. It has very good acids and excellent length on the finish. Memorable and different. Score: 90+ pts

RAVINE VINEYARD CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35.00
Medium-to-high aromas featuring earthy, bretty, savoury and dark red fruit notes. The palate is medium-bodied with taut tannins and flavours of black cherry, mocha, earth and vanilla. It has mouth-watering acids and a medium+ length finish. 88+ pts

Ravine Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88+ pts)Ravine Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Franc 2012 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

RAVINE VINEYARD RESERVE CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $45.00
Aromas of black cherry and oak of medium intensity. This is full-bodied with big, brooding tannins, oak spice, black cherry, herbaceous, and green pepper flavours. It has mouth-watering acids and excellent length on the finish. Better in 2-3 years and beyond. Score: 90 pts

ROSEHALL RUN CUVÉE COUNTY CABERNET FRANC 2011 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
Medium intensity aromas of green pepper, black cherry and sour cherry which replay on the palate. It's medium-bodied and ripe with a medium level of tannins, good acids and a long, sour finish. Ageing nicely. Score: 88+ pts

Rosehall Run Cuvée County Cabernet Franc 2011 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (88+ pts)Rosehall Run Cuvée County Cabernet Franc 2012 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)

ROSEHALL RUN CUVÉE COUNTY CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
Medium+ intensity, focused nose featuring green herbally notes, blackberry, black cherry and a hint of smoke. The palate is medium-bodied with crunchy tannins, aroma replays along with olive flavours. Good, balanced acidity and excellent length on the finish. Score: 88 pts

ROSEWOOD ORIGIN CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#427534) (XD) - $25.95
Complex medium-to-high aromatics featuring oak spice, sage, white pepper, pomegranate and bramble which follow through on the complex palate. It's medium-to-full bodied and shows excellent balance with mouth-watering acids and medium-level of tannin. The finish is very long and smooth. Could cellar 3-4 years but drinking great now! Vegan-friendly. Score: 90+ pts

Rosewood Origin Cabernet Franc 2013 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90+ pts)

SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#275958) (XD) - $21.95
Medium+ intensity aromas featuring white pepper, green pepper, herbaceous with underlying black cherry aromas that replay nicely on the palate. It has good structure and acids, fine tannins, while finishing long. Score: 89 pts

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)Southbrook Whimsy! Cabernet Franc 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

SOUTHBROOK WHIMSY! CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
Medium-to-high aromatics with a pleasing bouquet of herbs, black pepper, herbaceous, raspberry and black cherry notes. On the palate, it's medium-to-full bodied with nice aroma replays and hints of ripe fruit, all surrounded by smooth, rounded tannins and balanced acids. Excellent length on the finish. Score: 90 pts

TAWSE GROWER'S BLEND CABERNET FRANC 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#284570) (XD) - $26.95
Medium intensity nose of sour cherry, white pepper, and hints of green pepper. The palate has nice aroma replays plus cassis flavours on a medium-to-full bodied frame that has good structure. The long finish has hints of coffee. Firm tannins could use 2-3 years to integrate. Score: 90 pts

Tawse Grower's Blend Cabernet Franc 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)Vineland Reserve Cabernet Franc 2010 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90+ pts)

VINELAND RESERVE CABERNET FRANC 2010 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
Medium+ intensity nose featuring black pepper, spice, cherry and herbaceous aromas. Medium-bodied on the palate with nice aroma replays, balanced acids, resolved tannins and a long finish. Very good balance between fruit and savoury oak flavours. Score: 90+ pts


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