The February blahs got you down? Tired of the crazy warm, cold, killer storm, warm, cold, yin and yang of this winter yet? I know I am. But I am finding solace in the big comfort wines of Niagara.
And that means substantive, fulfilling reds to enjoy by the fireplace.
Vintages releases three wines on Saturday that fit that bill perfectly, all made from the warm harvest seasons of 2010 and 2007.
Here are the highlights of Vintages release on Feb. 16.
Fielding Estate Cabernet Syrah 2010 ($25, 90 points) — A blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah with a touch of Cab Franc. What a fantastic nose of roasted meats, black cherry, rousing spices and licorice-tar notes. This is a serious red from a brilliant vintage in Niagara and displays rich red and dark fruits, boysenberry, anise and oak spices that come together beautifully in the mouth. One to hold on to for few more years if you can.
Creekside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Queenston Road Vineyard 2007 ($35, 91 points) — I am very curious to see how this wine has evolved. It had the stuffing to improve in bottle for 10 years or more when I first tasted it last summer. Individual barrel assessment resulted in the selection of a blend featuring 100% French oak, 60% new with the remainder consisting of one-year-old and neutral barrels. The wine spent 31 months in barrel, giving it depth and maturity. The nose shows currants, plums and blackberry with traces of raspberry tart, blueberry and anise all bolstered by an array of toasted spices. It is gorgeous on the palate with the flavours just beginning to integrate with the oak. It’s firm, big, and powerful with the potential to evolve for many years to come.
Rosewood Merlot 2010 ($22, 90 points) — This won a gold medal at the Decanter wine awards, and it’s well deserved. The 2010 vintage for Bordeaux varieties is proving to be a benchmark for Niagara reds. Such a gorgeous nose of black cherry, currants, anise, oak spices and touches of tobacco leaf, licorice and kirsch. It is rich, concentrated and structured in the mouth with perfectly ripe red fruits, a balanced spice profile and length through the finish. Buy, hold and enjoy this for a few years.
Fielding Estate Riesling 2011 ($19, 88 points) — This was picked early (to retain the acidity) and finished at 22 grams/litre of residual sugar. It shows vivid lime, citrus and peach on the nose. The flavours range from grapefruit and lime to peach and subtle minerals with a hint of sweet honey that’s all balanced by good acidity.
Other Niagara wines being released but not reviewed:
• Peninsula Ridge Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 ($25)
• Riverview Cellars Gewurztraminer 2011 ($19)
• Calamus Cosmic White 2011 ($15)
• Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 ($23)
• Thirty Bench Red 2010 ($24)