Tonight’s wine review is (very mildly) historic: the first Canadian wine featured in this Canadian wine blog. I have probably picked a good inaugural selection, since the Tawse Winery in Ontario’s Niagara region won the 2010 Canadian Winery of the Year Award from Wine Access Magazine. I picked up this particular wine from Highlander in Marda Loop after being advised that it would “blow my mind”…them’s drinking words!
Despite living in Canada my entire life, I don’t drink a lot of Canadian wine, particularly Canadian red wine, so I approached this one with some degree of trepidation. But I was excited to open any bottle of Cabernet Franc, which is an underused and underappreciated grape, especially in marginal wine climates like Canada. Some interesting facts about Cab Franc: (1) it is believed to be the genetic parent of the much-more-renowned-and-ubiquitous Cabernet Sauvignon (with the white grape Sauvignon Blanc strangely the other parent, as strange a love match as that seems); and (2) it ripens earlier and grows better in cooler areas than Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes Cab Franc an intelligent choice for Canadian winemakers faced with a short growing season (did I mention it snowed in Calgary yesterday?), colder temperatures and a latitude right at the tip of where grapevines can actually grow (they don’t grow much above 50 degrees Latitude, and the northern tip of the Great Lakes in Ontario is at 49 degrees). Cabernet Franc is commonly found to have some greener herbaceous or vegetal flavours mixed in with its fruit, anything from grass or leaves to olives, asparagus or green peppers, which notes set its flavour profile apart from the riper, lusher Cab Sauvignon.
…But not so much in this case: this was a plush, silky take on the varietal that almost came across like its warmer-weather cousin. Read the rest of this entry »