Another very good red from one of Niagara’s hidden gems…
Made in Appassimento style, this bold red blend from Kew Vineyards in Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Heritage, has plenty to offer. Blueberries, leather, anise, grilled meat, and a hint of green cedar round out the aromatic bouquet. In the mouth, we enjoyed a complex array of flavours, including jammy blueberries and blackberries, dark plums, leather, savoury spices, ink, and earthy notes, as well as a high level of acidity and pronounced, drying tannins.
Despite the elevated alcohol percentage (15.9%), this Cabernet Franc-Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon blend, dominated by the first two varietals, maintained a beautiful balance and offered a smooth mouth-feel. The grapes underwent a full Appassimento drying process, giving this red an Amarone-like character. Interestingly, the combination of the feminine-looking label and the masculine-style wine brought to mind a yin-yang symbol, a compliment to the winery and winemaker, Philip Dowell.
This blend has earned numerous accolades, including a gold medal at the 2015 All Canadian Wine Championships, and we can see why. With one of our standard testing dishes, grilled filet mignon, roasted garlic potatoes, and grilled red onion, this wine fit the bill, suggesting it would also pair well with hearty foods. We see this as more of a fall/winter wine, than something we’d ever sip on a patio.
At $40 CAD, it represents good value and easily competes with other similar styles of wine, most notably Amarone.
Rating (from 70 to 100): 90/100
The Bottle Details…
Name: Kew Vineyards Heritage
Producer: Kew Vineyards Estate Winery
Region/Country: Beamsville Bench VQA, Ontario, Canada
Grape Varietals: 55% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol content: 15.9%
Consumed: At home on a snowy December evening
Recommended By: Philip Dowell, Kew Vineyards Winemaker during our visit to the estate.
Cost: $40 CAD
Bottle Presentation: A clean, classy, feminine-looking label that still comes across as easy on the eye.
The Tasting Details…
Appearance: Medium ruby red.
Nose: Medium nose, with blueberries, leather, anise, black pepper, grilled meat, and a hint of green cedar. As the wine opened, we had more jammy notes, including blueberry and blackberry.
Taste: A dry, medium-bodied red blend, with pronounced, drying tannins and high, mouth-watering acidity. Prominent flavours included tart blueberries and blackberries, dark plums, leather, savoury spices, earth, and a touch of green cedar.
Finish: A medium earthy finish, also with a hint of green cedar.