September Wines of the Month - Cabernet Franc
Long the addict of Pinot Noir, it comes as quite a surprise that I have found a love for Cabernet Franc in Ontario. Not that I disliked it, I simply preferred drinking Pinot Noir. All of that changed when I started working with fruit grown on the Wismer properties. I fell in love with the Cabernet Franc from the Foxcroft vineyard and, in the 2016 vintage I found room to open up my heart to the Wingfield vineyard as well. From the Twenty Mile Bench appellation the Wismer vineyards produce fruit that shows amazing finesse but also carries substantial weight and tannin.
Cabernet Franc has often been sidelined by other varieties. In Bordeaux it is used as a blending component to incorporate tannin and acid, but wine regions like the Loire have been producing incredible wines for a long time. In the past, our very own wine writer for The Globe and Mail, Beppi Crosariol has described Cabernet Franc as “a bitter letdown.” In the article he explains, “To me, most cabernet francs resemble red sangria that has been steeped with bell peppers and unlit cigarettes instead of fruit.”
He does go on to describe a few from Canada that he likes, which hurts my heart a little less. Hopefully, he’s had a chance to try a few more recent examples such as Pearl Morissette and Stanners to change his mind.
Site, viticulture and winemaking are so important for the production of any kind of quality wine, regardless of variety. Niagara Cabernet Franc can be incredible when grown on the right sight with careful viticulture choices. The wines included this month show off two amazing vineyards that are managed meticulously. So although I am pretty biased, I think these are great examples! I hope they are not a bitter letdown, but rather make you proud of what Ontario has to offer!
Cabernet Francs we focus on this month:
2015 Trail Estate Foxcroft Cabernet Franc
2016 Trail Estate Foxcroft Cabernet Franc
2016 Trail Estate Wingfield Cabernet Franc