Well here it is, the 2002 Château des Charmes St. David’s Bench Cabernet Sauvignon. For those that have read my posts in the past, you are probably wondering why on earth is the CWG acting all weird over this wine from a winery I really have not heard anything from? Well… during the 2007 Niagara Ice Wine Festival Mrs.CWG and I had the pleasure of having a nice private wine tasting session at the Château set up by Michèle Bosc who is the Director of Marketing for the vineyard. For those that are not familiar with the winery be sure to visit the link top their website and do a read on the history of the Bosc family’s dedication to wine making. During the tasting we got to enjoy over 9 different wines from different vintage lots and despite expecting to enjoy the 2002 Equuleus (Bordeaux style blend/meritage) it was this gem that took all at the tasting by surprise. Château des Charmes has two 2002 vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon, one is from the Paul Bosc vineyards the other is from the St. David’s Bench vineyards, both of which are no more then 50 meters from each other. In a true display of terroir the wines were remarkably different and the St. David’s Bench took away the prize for the best wine in everyone’s book.
So with great glee I could not wait to revisit this little gem. One of the hardest things to get through to people unfamiliar with Canadian wines is that while you may experience a poor or medium wine we do produce a large amount of great wines in both the Okanagon valley and Niagara peninsula. The fun part is finding those precious wines! This Cab Sauv is one of them. On to the tasting notes:
We decanted the Cab Sauv and the first smell was a distinctive strawberry with hint of currant, not what I remember but still nice on the nose. The wine was a deep ruby colour with a hint of rust on the edges. First sips led to the same berry hints but with the currant being stronger this time. As we consumed the wine, the wine was extremely well balanced and the a slight spicyness came out to complement the berry flavours. Added to the strong structure of the wine it also had a medium tannin so it left the mouth fully satisfied after a good chew or two. Without a doubt the wine met the lofty expectations. I think that despite it’s wonderful state now, it will be equally beneficial to cellar this for 3 to 4 more years, which, if you do not have any will mean you will have to act fast. Château des Charmes lists it as sold out on their website and I have only seen a few bottles in a select few LCBO’s here in Toronto. For $25 a bottle it is under-priced for the level of quality of the wine.
It is with trepidation that I rate this wine, one because I am about to give my first 9x rating and second because I think I will be using this as a benchmark. It is hard to rate/judge wines when you have a good idea of what you see as a complete wine, and of late this is the most complete wine I have had. While in France in late April I drank many a french wine, trying to enjoy Rhônes, Bordeauxs and Burgundies as much as possible. During that trip I found so many wines I truly enjoyed, this Cab Sauv would have easily have been mistaken to have been from one the better French vineyards had someone snuck it in.
This wine gets a solid 90
Oh, sorta a PS on this post, in the next 2 to 3 months I will be reviewing another Château des Charmes gem that deserves mentioning in case anyone is looking for a well priced dessert wine between now and then: 2006 Late Harvest Riesling