Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Somewhereness 2013: Cave Spring Cellars

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Located in Jordan, Cave Spring Cellars has been at the forefront of Ontario viticulture for more than a quarter century. It was one of the first wineries to focus on vinifera grapes and to demonstrate that Riesling was a star variety for the Niagara Peninsula. Today, more than 80% of the grapes used in its wines come from estate- and family-owned vineyards. Cave Spring also deserves kudos for packaging its wines in six-bottle cases and for providing detailed technical information on its products, something you can’t take for granted in the Yours-to-discover province (that said, it would be good to know more about the agricultural practices and if/how the wines are fined and filtered).

Riesling 2011, Niagara Peninsula VQA, Cave Spring Cellars ($18.35, 10745532)
100% Riesling from vineyards throughout the region. Cool-temperature fermentation with selected yeasts took place in stainless steel tanks and lasted four weeks. Fermentation was artificially stopped by chilling to leave a little residual sugar (19.5 g/L) in the wine. 11.5% ABV.
Appealing nose of apple candy, quartz and lime. Soft on the attack, fluid and pure. The tight acidity is balanced by a faint sweetness. Not a lot of follow-through, especially compared with the higher-end bottlings, but good in a summer sipper kind of way. (Buy again? Sure, especially at the $14.95 Ontario price.)

Riesling 2011, Dolomite, Niagara Escarpment VQA, Cave Spring Cellars ($18.35*, Trianon, 6 bottles/case)
100% Riesling, mostly from the Cave Spring Vineyard in Beamsville Bench. Cool-fermented in stainless steel tanks with selected yeasts. 15 g/L residual sugar. 11.5% ABV. The dolomite moniker refers to the dolomitic limestone found in the escarpment’s benchland vineyards.
Quartz dust, green apple, lime, a floral note and a hint of petrol. Smooth, with just enough residual sugar to take the edge off the vibrant acidity. Clean, minerally finish. A step up from the Niagara Peninsula cuvée. (Buy again? Sure, especially at the $16.95 Ontario price.)

Riesling 2010, CSV, Beamsville Bench VQA, Cave Spring Cellars ($31.25*, Trianon, 6 bottles/case)
100% Riesling from 35- to 40-year-old vines, the two oldest blocks of the variety in the Cave Spring Vineyard. Cool-temperature fermentation with selected yeasts took place in stainless steel tanks and lasted four weeks. Fermentation was artificially stopped by chilling to leave a little residual sugar (12.5 g/L) in the wine. 11.5% ABV.
The most minerally of the three Rieslings. Lots of lemon/lime, some green apple and stone fruit, notes of meadow flowers and fresh hay. A mouth-filling middleweight whose ripe fruit seems structured by bright acidity and a matrix of chalky minerals that lingers through the long finish. (Buy again? Yes, especially at the $29.95 Ontario price.)

Pinot Noir 2011, Dolomite, Niagara Escarpment VQA, Cave Spring Cellars ($21.40*, Trianon, 6 bottles/case)
100% Pinot Noir, 70% from Beamsville Bench and 30% from Twenty Mile Bench. The crushed grapes were macerated seven days, then pressed and transferred to French and Hungarian oak barrels (25% new) for 13 months’ ageing. 13% ABV.
Red berries, spice and stem. Satin-textured, medium-bodied. Supple tannins and a vein of slate thread through clean, ripe fruit that’s buoyed by smooth acidity and sweetened with a dollop of vanilla oak. The finish is nicely sustained. A drink-now wine. (Buy again? Yes, especially at the $17.95 Ontario price).

Cabernet Franc 2011, Dolomite, Niagara Escarpment VQA, Cave Spring Cellars ($21.40*, Trianon, 6 bottles/case)
100% Cabernet Franc grown on the Beamsville Bench. The crushed grapes were macerated in tank for 12 days, after which a third of the partially fermented must was transferred into barrels to finish fermentation. The remainder finished fermentation in tank before being pressed and transferred to barrels. Both lots spent a total of 16 months in French, old Hungarian and American oak barrels (30% new). 14.5% ABV.
Rich aromas and flavours of ripe red fruit, cedar, spice, tobacco but no greenness. This finely structured Cabernet Franc has a velvety texture, fine tannins, balanced acidity and a long, clean finish. The oak is discreet, even more so than in the Pinot Noir, and the alcohol doesn’t show at all. Impressive, especially at the price. (Buy again? Yes. Note, too, that the Quebec price compares favourably with Ontario’s $21.95).

*The Quebec private import prices may not include GST or QST (I’ve sent a query to the agent and will update as soon as I receive a reply). If they don’t, add 14%.

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Written by carswell

January 25, 2014 at 13:15

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with , ,

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