We stopped by Foreign Affair winery. They are doing Italian Amarone style appassimento process. This consists of drying the grapes before crushing them. The tends to concentrate and focus the wine. In Amarone’s I find it brings out an almost dried grape/raisin flavor in the wine that can be VERY concentrated. Foreign Affairs are doing not only reds but also whites. In Italy they ONLY do reds and only specific grapes.
Some of the wines are 100% appassimento and some are partial to varying degrees.
2008 Riesling $24.95
This wine is only a partial appassimento. This wine is pale in color mild on the nose. On the mid pallet the wine is slightly sweet with some effervescent tingling going on in the tongue. On the finish the wine is slightly sweet and medium in length. If I had to close my eyes and taste this one Vs. one that did not see the appassimento process, I would be hard pressed (pardon the pun). I would give it a 88.
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2007 Chardonnay $34.95
This wine is only a partial appassimento. This wine is golden in color with a varietal Chard nose. On the mid pallet the wine is quite buttery in the California style. On the finish the wine is dominated by it’s 14.1% alcohol. I would give this one an 87. Not to my tastes.
2007 Cab Sauv $38
Again a partial appassimento. This wine is dark in color with a nose of big black fruits. On the mid pallet this is one of those BIG Niagara style reds where the tannins are out of control. This wine is way to young. Theirs lots of dry pucker power on the long finish as this wine continues in the mouth. For me this is an unrefined wine. Just a big bruiser. I would give it an 87.
2007 Cab Franc $110
This wine is 100% appassimento. Cab Franc is a signature Niagara grape (IMHO) so I looked forward to tasting it. If the cab sauv was a big wine, this one is even bigger. The appassimento process starts to shine through and there are some dried raisin tastes to this wine. It has some slight sweetness to it on the finish. 15.9% alcohol! Wow. I would give this one an 88.
I must say I was really curious to see what this process would do for Niagara. For my tastes, I just don’t see the point. It’s an expensive process that really did little to nothing to enhance the wine. Personally, if it were me, I’d do what Cave Springs are doing which is to focus the appassimento process on one red grape varietal and do it well. The Cab Franc would seem like the better choice.