Hear Norm’s Take
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.
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.
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!
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.
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).