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Appassimentio-style Sauvignon Blanc? Why not give it a try? New Niagara releases at Vintages


The Vintages release this Saturday features a diverse selection of Niagara wines, led by the partially dried-fruit style of Sauvignon Blanc created by the innovative folks at the Foreign Affair winery in Vineland.

A lot of purists scoff at the idea of adding extra complexity and intense fruit flavours to what is generally thought of as a fresh and lively summer wine. But the Sauvignon Blanc from Foreign Affair is not only done in a partially-appassimento style, it has also been aged lightly in oak barrels.

7201219480_b020d8dce7It certainly goes against the grain of traditional thinking, but well worth buying a bottle or two to compare to other SBs. You might be pleasantly surprised.

I can also highly recommend the Jackson-Triggs Syrah and Pillitteri Cab Franc. Both are excellent buys from the wonderful 2010 vintage.

Here’s what to look for from Niagara at Vintages beginning this Saturday, plus a few wines that were released two weeks ago that I forgot to post here.

Foreign Affair Abbraccio Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($25, 90 points) — Made with 30% dried grapes and five months of barrel aging in older oak barrels. It’s surprisingly fresh on the nose with grapefruit, gooseberry, ripe pineapple and subtle oak stylings with an undercurrent of cut grass. It’s beautifully balanced in the mouth with ripe fruits, acidity and some vanilla toast flavours. A very interesting and different style of SB.

Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Shiraz 2010 ($20, 90 points) — There are a lot of things going for this wine, not the least of which is the price. It has a dark, menacing (in a good way) colour in the glass. It shouts bold and flavourful and delivers on both accounts. It’s so Rhone-like on the nose with boysenberry, blueberry, black currants, roasted meats and white pepper aromas. It rocks on the palate with big meaty red fruits, roasted Espresso bean, game, layers of spices and firm tannins that will soften with a little time in the cellar.

2010 Cab Franc- web usePillitteri Estates Cabernet Franc 2010 ($18, 89 points) — From the ripe, hot 2010 vintage this lovely red displays notes of currants, forest floor, cigar-box cedar, cherry-raspberry fruit and nicely integrated herbs on the nose. It’s classic Cab Franc on the palate with juicy fruits married to spice, stewed herbs and pepper notes. Wonderful food wine.

Also released but not reviewed:

Inniskillin Winemaker’s Series Select Vineyards Pinot Noir 2010 ($23)

Kacaba Cabernet/Syrah 2008 ($19)

Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnay 2009 ($17)

Henry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2010 ($18)

Pondview Cabernet/Merlot 2010 ($19)

Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir Rose 2011 ($17)

Released in early January:

Trius 2010 Pinot Grigio ($16, 87 points) — Winemaker Craig McDonald strives to make this varietal in a “Pinot Grigio” style for the Trius brand. By that he means made is a style that’s fresh and forward, like Italian Pinot Grigio. But his first effort with this variety definitely falls more into the “Gris” category with ripe melon, apple and pear notes. It’s soft on the palate with round, ripe and juicy fruits.

Coyote’s Run Black Paw Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2010 ($25, 90 points) — This lovely Cab Franc is thick and concentrated on the nose with brambly dark fruits, some stewed garden herbs, tobacco leaf and rousing red fruits. It’s firm but juicy on the palate with ripe tannins, good structure and weight on the palate. The vivid fruits are balanced by decent acidity through the finish. You can lay this down in the cellar for five or more years.


Tawse Estate Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2009 ($32, 90 points) — This Cab Franc spent 16 months in French oak (20% new). It has a gorgeous and pretty nose of cherry fruit, bramble, herbs, tobacco leaf and soft oak-spice. In the mouth look for notes of juicy cherry, savoury dark fruits and spice in a mid-weight package. Classic Niagara style Cab Franc.