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The quiet town of Jordan is the headquarters of one Canada’s landmark winery: Cave Spring Cellars. During my recent family vacation in Ontario, I could not miss the opportunity to get intimate with some of their iconic wines.

The history of Cave Spring Cellars go back to the early 1920’s when Giuseppe Pennachetti from his hometown in Fermo, Italy, to work as a mason building Niagara’s Welland Canal. After building a up a succesful trade with his family, he retired and concentrated on his passion: wine.

During the early years, Giuseppe worked with the vitis labrusca grapes but the breaktrough came when the European varieties were implemented.  In the late 70’s, the Pennachettis were among the earliest producers to plant Riesling and Chardonnay vines on the Niagara Peninsula, helping to pioneer this Canadian wine region.

At Cave Spring, varietal whites wines take the lion’s share of production ( 78% versus 22% ). The winery specializes in Riesling which accounts for 55% of the white wine production. The rest is 16% Chardonnay, 4% Sauvignon Blanc, 2% Gewürztraminer
1% Pinot Gris.

The Rieslings that I have tasted reflect a so called ” Canadian Terroir “. Difficult to point out, they style falls somewehere between Alsace and Friuli Venezia Giula. For the level of quality prices are quite modest.

The reds are a modest and confidential production. The 22% can be broken down as follow: 12% Cabernet Franc/Merlot 6% Pinot Noir and 4% Gamay.

All the reds were outstanding but my heart was won over the Cabernet Franc bottlings. It was a revelation. My impression was that in Chinon wine country in the Loire.

Canadian wines continue to surprise me and I am looking foward to continue tasting and drinking them more. 

Stay tuned for more updates!!!

Wines Tasted

Brut Blanc de Blancs Non Vintage

( Traditional method vinification, Chardonnay sourced from Niagara Escarpment.  Fermentation and aging sur lie in bottle for a minimum of 30 months prior to disgorging )

Bright pear and zesty citrus aromas with white nectarines as well.  On the mouth, medium to full body with a delicate nuance of almond tart Bright, palate cleansing. Lovely mineral texture with an exceptional lenght.

Whites

riesling set

Riesling 2015 VQA Niagara Peninsula

Fruit originanting from specific vineyard sites: 58% Lincoln Lakeshore; 48% Beamsville Bench. Combination of soils from stony clay to red shale and sandstone)

Intriguing nose with Japanese pear, white plums, and tangerines with the tyical petrol notes of Riesling. Bright acidity with precise flavours of lime and chalk. An harmonious and subdued wine

Riesling Dolomite 2015 VQA Niagara Escarpment

(  Dolomite is named after the dolomitic limestone, particular to the Niagara Escarpment. Calcareous soils type in gentle slops)

A blast of minerality on the nose. Naftaline, silex with lots of flint. Medium body. Crispy texture, with rich tropical flavours balanced by the wine zesty acidity.

Riesling Adam Steps 2015

( Adam Steps is a single vineyard located in a hill above the niagara escarpmet. Comprised of 38 years old Riesling in a soil of stony clay, limestone and dolostone mixed with sandstone, shale and small amounts of granite and gneiss)

 Complex nose bringing to mind cream soda and madagascar vanilla bean complemented by musk,honey and chinese mandarine peel. Fresh and delicate with underlying mineral nuances. Delicate with a long floral aftertaste. 

Cave Spring 2015 Riesling CSV VQA Beamsville Bench

( Provenance of the Cave Spring Vineyard featuring soils rich in limestone. Oldest Riesling vines of the estate)

 The nose display nuances of chalk, white nectarines and  lemon curd. On the mouth, dry  and very structured. Fleshy and intense with a great aging potential.

chardo

Chardonnay Musque Estate 2015 VQA Beamsville Bench

( Made with the Musqué clone of Chardonnay, the fruit coming from the Cave Spring Vineyard. A mix of stoney, rich limestone and clay soils)

 On the nose, elegant notes of vanilla, pear gelee and nutmeg spice. . Dry, full body and very fleshy. Spicy with a racy character. 

2014 Chardonnay VQA Beamsville Bench

(  Fruit origins from hillside vineyards along the Niagara Escarpment overlooking Lake Ontario-limestone rich clay, sandstone and shale. -90% Chardonnay, 10% Chardonnay Musqué) 

 On the nose buttery and yeasty with fruit underneath bringing to mind  dry apricot. Full body. dry and earthy wih a lip smacking acidity.  Very elegant on the palateThe finale brings tomind complex earthy and floral nuances.

2015 Chardonnay Estate VQA Beamsville Bench

( 84% Chardonnay and 16% Chardonnay Musqué)

 More luscious than the 2014. Buttery, with  ripe nectarine, pear, apricot and  toasty oak. On the mouth, very crisp, harmonious and quite elegant. Beautiful floral schematics at the end. 

2014 Chardonnay CSV VQA Beamsville Bench

( Old fruit from the Cave Spring Vineyard. 92% Chardonnay, 8% Chardonnay Musqué)

More Burgundian than new world. Floral with  a wax bee alike feeling. Nectarines as well as butterscotch. On the mouth, elegant with a creamy mouthwatering texture. Very long and elegant. Nice aging potential ( 5-10 years)

Reds

reds

Gamay 2015 VQA Beamsville Bench

( 100% Gamay from the Cave Spring Vineyard. Aging in a mix of French, Hungarian and American oak barriques)

On the nose, aromas reminiscent of licorice with leafy black currant fruit. Peppery as well with ripe red  cherry flavours. Medium body and  very fragant with a  nice medium acidity and soft tannins. 

cell

Pinot Noir 2015 VQA Beamsville Bench

( Pinot Noir from diverse vineyards along the Niagara Escarpment. 87% Pinot Noir, 13 Gamay. Aging of 13 months in 85% old french iak and 15 % new)

 Delightful nuances of spearmint and eucalyptus lead to cool  ripe berry undertones. Medium to Full body. Nice elegance to it

Pinot Noir 2015 Estate VQA Beamsville Bench

( Selected Pinot fruit from the Cave Spring Vineyard. 100 % Pinot Noir. Aging consist in a mix of different ages of oak barrels)

 On the nose dense ripe black chewy fruit bringing to mind a Cote de Nuits Bourgogne. Lovely spicy and balsamic feeling as well.  Full body with caressing tannins and sultry elegance to it.

Cabernet Franc 2015 Dolomite VQA Niagara Escarpment

( Terroir of dolomitic limestone forming the crest of the Niagara Escarpment.  The origins are 85.5% Beamsville Bench, 14.5% Lincoln Lakeshore .  Grape blend is 85.5% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aging is in a mix of older French, Hungarian and American oak barriques ) 

Lovely vegetal nose ( swiss chard come to mind) In addition plums, tobacco leaf with lots of spice. Very fresh. enveloping your mouth. nice chewyness at the end of the palate. blows my mind.

2015 Cabernet Franc Estate VQA Beamsville Bench

( 100% Cabernet Franc from the Cave Spring Vineyard. Aging  using a mix of 48% Hungarian and 52% French oak. Overall, 32% of the barrels were new.  )

Elegant nose of ripe red currant and blackberries. Cigar box. Almost a meaty quality to it. On the mouth, dry, long and very racy. Very elegant as well with caressing tannins