2021 was a classic year for us. We managed to avoid the heavy rains that Niagara suffered in late September/early October. We harvested into late October to ensure the grapes attained great physiological ripeness. Aged for 18 months in French Oak barrels.
This is our first ever Whole Cluster Cabernet Franc. Whole-cluster refers to the method of fermenting grapes with their stems still attached. This can only be done in exceptional years where the grapes received a lot of sunshine. 2020 was a generous and robust year, so we seized the opportunity to experiment and see if we could raise the bar. Taking this risk has paid off exceptionally well.
The wine has tremendous purity of fruit and amazing tension.
Possibly one of the best vintages we’ve seen to date for Cabernet Franc. Wonderfully rich with soft tannins. An elegantly perfumed nose of classic cool-climate characteristics: deep red fruit, jalapeno, stony gravel, and a touch of meatiness. On the palate an exceptional balance of firm tannin and bright acid, rich berry notes and a long, lingering finish.
After a very hot 2016 vintage, 2017 brought us back to our cool-climate roots. 2017 was a classic cool-climate vintage with a wonderful summer, and an all-important dry fall, with temperatures not too high bringing lovely cold notes, maintaining the freshness and vibrancy of the wine. During these cool vintages our Cabernet Franc grapes become very reminiscent of the great Cabernet Francs of the Loire Valley with delicious acidities, freshness, zero greenness, and tremendous depth of flavour.
A very exciting vintage of Cabernet Franc. Made in the Loire style, sourced from three different sites at different elevations on the Niagara Bench. While the magnificent clay/limestone soils are a constant, the different elevations bring complexity. At each elevation, the grapes grow at different temperatures and ripening cycles, adding layers of flavour and complexity to the wine.
Our approach to fermentation is similar to that of Pinot Noir; long, gentle ferments with minimal handling of the fruit. The fruit is basket pressed to avoid any greenness or bitterness. The wine aged for 18 months (two winters) in 228L French oak barrels. Wine was racked in March 2019 and left on its fine lees in horizontal steel tanks for another 4 months. Racked and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
2016 was an exceptionally hot and dry year in Prince Edward County, resulting in early ripening. Complex nose of blackberry, liquorice, bramble jelly, roasted pepper and saddle leather this year’s Cabernet Franc is angular and well-structured with firm tannins and cleansing acidity. Food friendly and versatile – Delicious!
2016 was an exceptionally hot and dry year in the Niagara Peninsula, resulting in early ripening. Grapes were picked earlier than usual, as early as late September (early by Ontario Cab Franc standards!). Fruit was hand-picked and a portion was carefully destemmed into small one-ton fermenters, with about one third fermented whole cluster. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. 18-20 days on the skin in total: 6-8 day cold soak with 2 pump overs a day, followed by 7 day fermentation with maximum of 2 punch downs a day, remaining days gentle turning of cap once a day. The wine was pressed in small batches in a traditional basket press before being put to French oak barriques for 10 months. The new oak component being 30%, the rest being 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill. Natural malolactic fermentation, bottled unfined and unfiltered, with minimal sulphur dose before bottling.
2015 was a challenging year in Prince Edward County. After an unusually warm spring, and promising start to the season, we experienced a crippling frost at the end of May. Sadly, about 85% of our production was lost in a single night. Despite this cold event, the rest of the season saw warm, dry weather and the buds that survived produced beautiful, clean fruit. This Cab Franc was 100% destemmed into small fermentation totes and fermented using natural yeasts. Post ferment pressing in our basket press and put into 225L barriques for 10 months ageing. 30% new oak, 70% older fill.
Fruit was hand-picked and carefully destemmed into small one-ton fermenters. Fermentation by indigenous yeast and pressed in small batches in an old basket press. Aged in French oak barriques for 10 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with no sulphur addition.
Fruit was hand-picked and carefully destemmed into small one-ton fermenters. Fermentation by indigenous yeast and pressed in small batches in an old basket press. Aged in French oak barriques for 10 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with a very low sulphur addition right before bottling.
This wine was bottled unfined, unfiltered and with absolutely no sulphur post fermentation. Wonderfully low 11.9% alcohol belies richness and vibrancy of this wine. The desirable cooler vintage has allowed us to craft a wine that has fresh acidity, lovely vibrancy and dark fruit; reminiscent of delicious cab franc from Chinon in the Loire Valley, France. Truly a wine that expresses both the soil and climate in the glass.
Only bottled in magnum*
Grown in a cooler year, this single vineyard Cab Franc displays the fresh acidity and bright fruit for which the County’s limestone soils are renowned. Hand-picked and carefully destemmed, this Cab Franc was fermented in small 1-ton batches using only indigenous yeast. Pressed in an old basket press and put into French oak for 10 months. This wine completed malolactic fermentation in the spring of 2014 and put to bottle with a very low sulphur addition right before bottling.
The grapes were harvested in mid-October, 2 weeks earlier than normal due to an early spring and wonderfully dry and warm fall. Hand picked at a welcoming 22 brix and a stable ph of 3.25. As the stems were beautifully ripe and brown, 35% were used in whole cluster fermentations. All ferments were 100% indigenous yeast, which explains the low alcohol (10.8%). Fermented on the skins for 21 days. While Cabernet Franc is often seen as a leafy and green wine, phenolic ripeness was achieved in the vineyard, which allowed us to make a rich and velvety wine.
Our soils most closely resemble those of the Loire Valley and Burgundy. It is natural that we grow and ferment our Cabernet Franc in a similar style to the great Chinon and Bourgueils. More so than with other varieties, we restrict the yields greatly in the vineyard so as to get full phenolic ripeness with no bell pepper greenness. Our Cabernet Franc is a County wine made from fruit grown next door to our estate vineyard. Harvested towards the end of October and wild yeast fermentation.
Deep ruby colour; on the nose, cedar and currants; dry, Chinon style with a sour cherry flavour and pliant tannins. Medium-bodied, firmly structured, unlike any Ontario Cabernet Franc I have tasted (no green vegetal notes here).