A deep, dark, brilliant ruby...
Was the predominant appearance note for the wines I gravitated towards at the BC Wine Institutes's annual Fall VQA tasting event, Colour. Ripe, intriguing and world class Cabernets and blends from the 2009 vintage caught my attention early and became my focus for the rest of the afternoon.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a tough grape to ripen in BC, but a few producers can produce excellent cool-climate versions in most years. With the hot 2009 vintage, the field was widened to include a few more participants who managed to avoid the damage of an early frost in October. When it's ripe, it's right! These are soooo right!
Church and State 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
$35 14.5% 300 cases
Available in early October. Coyote Bowl vineyard. Juicy, ripe and very accessible. Perhaps, not the cellar dweller of my other Cabernet recommendations but an excellent wine in its own right.
Fairview Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
$40 14.7% 160 cases
Sold-out at the winery. The 2009 vintage yielded the best Cabernet grapes from Bill Eggert's home vineyard in many years. So pleased was he with the results that a true Reserve level Cab will be coming out in future years, thus, the production is way down on his "normal" Cab. Fairview fans, of course, know it's anything but normal. Massive tannins with this one requiring 3+ years of bottle age.
Fairview Cellars 2009 The Wrath
$65 14.6% 250 cases
Available now. Wow was my first and nearly only note as my brain was too distracted by this incredible wine which offers an ultra-ripe and concentrated palate and smoky, sexed-up nose. Priced for collectors at $65 but oh-so worth the price.
Painted Rock 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
$40 14.5% 150 cases
Not yet released. Rivals the Fairview Cabernet's ripeness and concentration but eclipses everyone with a dazzling display of complexity and depth. By far, the winery's best yet.
SpierHead 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
$33 13.6% 210 cases
Available now. More fruit forward than the others listed here. Lower alcohol and a touch more residual sugar create a softer expression of Cabernet Sauvignon that is ready to drink now.
Cabernet Franc has become the latest front-runner in the race to become BC's signature grape - well, red grape anyway. By no means is this an official event that wineries are actively participating in - it's completely made-up by the wine media in order to help define to the world what makes BC's various wine producing regions unique. Yet, the quality on display at Colour does suggest a growing love affair with the lesser-know Bordeaux varietal both within the industry and with consumers. So, maybe we finally have a winner?
Cassini Cellars 2009 Reserve Cabernet Franc
$40 (est) 14.8%
Not yet released. The South Okanagan has a new Cab Franc powerhouse with the release of Cassini's first single varietal offering of the aromatic grape. Displays good typicity for BC Cab Franc with a new level of concentration and power. One to watch out for.
Church and State 2009 Cabernet Franc
$35 14.5% 300 cases
Available in early October. Only produced in exceptional years
SpierHead 2009 Cabernet Franc
$30 13.5% 71 cases
Available now. Follows house style of soft, elegant and drinkable now. Comes off like a cheeky Pinot Noir with med body and a watery, smoky texture. Good minerality.
Sumac Ridge 2009 Black Sage Bench Cabernet Franc
Available now. Easy going, typical and well-priced.
Tinhorn Creek 2009 Cabernet Franc
Available now. Early candidate for value wine of the year. 2009 was a banner year for the Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc with offers delicious, ripe dark fruit matched with thick, savoury dark chocolate, spice and oak characters.
- Liam Carrier ©copyright 2011 IconWines.ca
Go to Part 2 Meritage Blends and The Rest