Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fairview Cellars' 2009 Cabernets: A Retrospective

Not all vintages are created equally. Some are harsh and take clever winemaking techniques and hard vineyard decisions to counter Mother Nature's indifference. Others are relatively easy and favour minimal intervention, producing authentic wines that speak to their origin. Once in a while the Okanagan Valley is blessed with the potential for a great vintage which often comes down to the unique combination of vineyard site, variety and producer. 2009 was such a vintage for Fairview Cellars and it is the Oliver winery's Cabernet Sauvignon wines which warrant a retrospective, 5 years later.

For the 2009 vintage, Fairview Cellars released 3 bottlings of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Each unique and noteworthy, offering exceptional, cool-climate examples of the variety. All three are ageing beautifully and although all three are sold out at the winery, look for future library releases via the Fairview Cellars wine shop.

Premier Series Cabernet Sauvignon - 91-93pts
Produced from estate grown fruit on the 6 acre vineyard perched above the 1st fairway of the Fairview Mountain Golf Course. Part of the, yet unofficial, Golden Mile sub-appellation, the vineyard enjoys an advantageous Southern-ish exposure and a gentle, sloped aspect to the Sun which allows the site to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon, even in non-perfect growing conditions.

The hotter than average vintage ripened the thick skinned grapes perfectly creating a dense, powerful and layered cool-climate Cabernet Sauvignon bursting with dark blue fruits and savoury black licorice on the seductive nose and intense palate. 18 months of French oak contact has left its mark and the wine entered the bottle needing more time to meld and mellow yet the refinement is there and hints of future development dance around on the textured palate. A touch of spice and cassis puree lingers on the long, mouth-watering finish.
Full Review

Premier Series Iconoclast - Not yet rated
Each year worthy of the extra attention, Fairview Cellars sets aside their four best barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate vineyard for an extended elevage to create a true reserve Cabernet Sauvignon called the IconoclastBC Cabernet Sauvignon are rarely so ripe and complex. This 2009 edition of the Fairview Cellars release displays the unique regional balance of dense, full-bodied blue fruit and savoury minerality without the jammy, sticky fruit notes of warmer-climate areas. This wine is a beast and is still much too youthful to fully appreciate the dense fruit and powerful tannins. Save yours until 2015 or beyond.

The Wrath - 92-94pts
This wine was awarded our Icon Wine of the Year for 2011. A single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon hailing from a Golden Mile Bench property separate from the Fairview Cellars home vineyard. Intense, brooding and fantastically complex, this wonderful wine offers loads of dark fruit and French oak at the core of its flavour profile. Big tannins, big mouth feel, big nose, big presence... big everything! Yet, amazingly the wine remains refined and very smooth. Well balanced and beautifully long.

The name is a nod to "The Grapes of Wrath" and the hardship it suggests in getting the new vineyard site to the point where it would produce quality fruit (or any fruit at all for that matter). It could also refer to the wrath of God due to the seemingly spiteful nature of Bill's run of bad-luck with the site (feasting dear and wrathful hail). 2009 produced the first serviceable crop from the site and the timing couldn't have been better. The combination of the hot season and the vineyard site has produced the ripest Cabernet Sauvignon I have ever tasted in BC. 
Full Review

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2014 IconWines.ca

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