Given the veritable lunacy of travelling outside of Canada these days our sights were directed 2 hours away from Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL). My past experiences there have been unpleasant. However, after three trips there during the plague I have come to like NOTL. Not its main street but what lies behind that Walt Disney façade. It is quite a charming place to visit if you stay away from the crowds. You are close to many wineries and during COVID Niagara Falls was actually deserted and you felt you had the Falls all to yourself. Although Niagara Falls as a town is tawdry and cheap. NOTL is aristocratic and grand in comparison.
I passed by many wineries I recognize by name and product. Some I don’t like. Two Sisters which looks like a high-end Napa winery caught my eye. I tried their Merlot recently and it was the best Ontario Merlot I have had. Ontario Merlot on the whole is rather spotty but somehow Two Sisters made it spectacular.
Cabernet Franc is one of Ontario’s signature grapes. It does well in Lake Erie North Shore, Prince Edward County and in Niagara. What can Two Sisters do with it?
In colour a dark ruby red. As for aromas raging black cherry, cranberry, milk chocolate and Quebec raisin pie. On the palate if you are expecting soft and mellow you won’t find it in this wine. There are tannins but a delayed release so as to speak but they are broad based and gentle. The wine is firm and stands tall and proud and tough. Quite frankly it wants to take no hostages but will quietly surrender itself to wine drinkers willing to test the waters with what is an out of character Ontario Cabernet Franc. But that is not a criticism. Its palate is powerful and assertive with black cherry, muted chili pepper and black currant. At 7 years of age I venture to say it is just hitting its stride and I foresee improvement in the bottle over the next five years. Quite remarkable for a Cabernet Franc from Ontario. Ontario Proud.
Its power suggests a good match with game such as venison or a marinated Lac Brome duck breast. Beef in a peppercorn sauce will do quite nicely. For vegheads a mushroom Wellington or a mushroom ragout in a red wine sauce over homemade Polenta. Their ritzy restaurant Kitchen 76 suggests this would suit a truffle pizza. Agreed.
Winemaker Adam Pearce is a genius as the wine has been aged 34 months in French oak and the oak is beautifully integrated into the wine. Now the price of $75.80 might be best suited for a corporate lawyer on Bay Street or perhaps a neurologist or cardiologist who has a jazzy cellar. This is a trophy wine for sure or perhaps for us common folk a rare treat which will not disappoint.
(Two Sisters 2015 Cabernet Franc, VQA Niagara River, Two Sisters Vineyard, Niagara- on- the- Lake, $75.80, 750 mL, 14.5%, Robert K. Stephen Rating 94/100).
Buy direct from the winery at https://www.twosistersvineyards.com/
WINE DRINKER PROFILE: A collector willing to cellar for the next 3-5 years. Must have deep pockets. A commoner would enjoy as a rare treat.