Both axes

This past weekend we invited Laura from Chez Nous Wine Bar to come by and try some Ontario wine I’d been holding on to. She did, and she brought Descendent Pizza, as if we didn’t already like her enough.

But first! In an Eastward feint, we started with a 2013 Blanc De Blanc Extra Brut Late Disgorged from Lightfoot & Wolfville. It was as lovely as always, and I continue to enjoy watching NS sparkling shock people who don’t know such a thing even exists.

Next up was a…I don’t know what this is technically called, but a horizontal (?) of 2013 Thomas Bachelder Chardonnay, all from vineyards in Niagara: one from the Saunders Vineyard, one from the Wingfield block of the Wismer Vineard, and the Foxcroft block of the Wismer Vineyard. Despite my love of Wismer, the Saunders was the consensus favourite. Beautiful stuff, nicely integrated. The Wismer bottles were good too, but the Saunders won the day.

The final arrangement of the night was a vertical of Thirty Bench Cabernet Franc: the 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2015 vintages. For the sake of our livers we decided to pull the 2013 and focus on the 2010 and 2012 (generally regarded as among the best Niagara red vintages) and the 2015, which has won some fanfare.

Alas, the 2010 — at least, the bottle I opened — has not held up. The fruit and depth is all gone, just leaving behind a vegetal and slightly sour wine.

The 2012 was an enigma…it had much more to it than the 2010, almost bombastic-ly so, and it’s nearly 15% ABV seemed to drown out any complexity. However, leaving the remainder in a mostly-covered decanter overnight seemed to help it, as it seemed eminently more drinkable the next day — hungover though we may have been.

The 2015, on the other hand, might deserve all the hype. With maybe two hours’ decanting it had already opened up beautifully, and powerfully. I have a few more bottles laying down right now and I can’t wait to sample them in the coming years.

I still have a bottle of the 2010, and two of the 2012 put away, so it might be time to dig them out and see how they fare. I don’t hold out much hope for the 2010, but would like to see if I can extract wins from the 2012s. And I’m that much more intrigued by the 2013 now as well.

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