Page Archive for July, 2012

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

This is a Five Rows Library update for those who are still cellaring our 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon:

Bottle #535 (only 30 bottles left in the collection)

Date Consumed:  July 7th, 2012

Setting: Our annual trip up north to Hurricane Point on Pigeon Lake for a quick summer recharge session.  A beautiful Bobcaygeon sunset prelude to a night of fishing and Texas Poker.

Occasion:  Celebrating a ferocious Muskie encounter the previous evening – “Son…I think we’re gonna need a bigger net”

Meal:  Steve’s Famous Chicken Chili

Musical Accompaniment:  Cuff the Duke – “Listen to your Heart”

Conversation:  Old times at the cottage and Bella’s swimming prowess

2005 Five Rows Cabernet Sauvignon:  Have not visited this vintage for a couple of years.  Aromatics have intensified tremendously and include ripe Burbank plum, black currant jam, vanilla and mocha.  I’m most pleased with how the tannins have softened and matured since we last indulged.  I’ve always felt like this Cab needed time to reach it’s full potential, now my patience has been realized.  It was a pleasure to drink.  Perceptible flavours include candied cherry, red licorice, mocha and vanilla bean.  It’s hard for me to advise people not to consume this wine right now, but I believe it still has some life to live yet.

'05 Cab

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Many oenophiles consider Riesling to be the best-suited white grape varietal for the rigours of Niagara regional terroir.  It’s a treat to grow, with good crop levels and minimal finicky hand-labour compared to tight-clustered Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.  It has decent winter hardiness and tends to thrive in our slightly “cooler climate” (my current air conditioning bill might disagree with this categorization).

Vinifying Riesling is where things get a little more complicated.  So many different styles and so many variables to experiment with.  Although we grow Alsatian Clone 49 in Jean’s Block, the resultant wines I’ve crafted tend to be an amalgam of varying Riesling profiles.  The 2011 vintage features the subtle, mineral-laden nose of an Alsace Riesling, but the richness and depth of flavour of my favourite German styles.  The natural acidity is the strength of the wine, balanced with a touch of residual sugar.  Over the years, I’ve found that Riesling takes a while to open up after the stress of filtration and bottling, so we usually release it later than our other whites.  Riesling fans will tell you that it’s a mistake to drink it too young anyway!

In the ongoing quest to improve wine quality, we decided to employ a different pressing technique in the fall of 2011 – a gentle, whole-bunch squeeze in our old wooden basket press.  It proved to be very time consuming and a huge headache to clean out, but I think the end product justifies the extra effort.  I also experimented with a different yeast, R2, on 50% of the juice, while using my old standby, W15, on the other half.  Fans of our Pinot Gris might recognize some of the elements that R2 brings – rounder mouthfeel, tropical fruit notes – in this Riesling.

2011 “Jean’s Block” Riesling is a wine that means a lot to me personally.  I welcome you to come by starting this weekend to give it a try.  There are only 48 cases available, so we must limit purchases to 4 bottles per customer.  Retail price is $25 per bottle.