Karlo Estates Cabernet Franc 2016

13.0% Alcohol./Vol.

A medium-bodied Cab Franc with aromas of ripe srawberry, lilac, earthy beets, sweet spice, and herbal notes. It is also nicely rustic with a subtle hay barn quality.

In terms of flavour, there’s tart plum and chocolate, with faint floral notes seeping through.  It has wonderful acidity and the tannins are well integrated. The flavours linger.

Wine-Food Pairing: Roasted duck or lamb. 

Score: 89

Stags’ Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

14.1% alcohol/vol.


On the nose, this full-bodied Red has aromas of ripe blueberry and jammy cassis spread, with notes of menthol, cinnamon, violet, potpourri, cocoa, and hints of black pepper and vanilla.

With flavours of cassis,  plum, cinnamon, floral notes and cocoa, it has fresh acidity and velvety tannins that are well incorporated. At the finish there is a touch of oak and black pepper. A nice Californian wine!

Tasted November 2018

Wine-Food Pairing: I paired this with roast beef and potatoes. It was delicious!

Score: 91

Exploring Ontario Wine through Savvy Wine Company

A week and a half ago, I attended Outstanding in Their Fields, the Taste and Buy event hosted by Savvy Wine Company at Ottawa City Hall. It was an opportunity to sample Ontario wine while chatting with winemakers from across the province.

Ottawa City Hall offered a perfect venue for this event. There was live music and an upbeat crowd.  I did not get a chance to stop at every kiosk nor did I sample every bottle but out of the ones I tried, here are a few that stood out.


The wine from Trail Estate offers some of the most distinctive aromas and flavours. I enjoyed the Gewürztraminer and also loved the following: 


This pale orange coloured wine made from Riesling has aromas of dried orange peel, white floral notes, nutmeg, baking spice, and white pepper. On the palate, it is dry with fresh acidity and flavours of orange zest, lemon, nutmeg and cardamom. The flavours linger. It is unique and delicious.

Wine-Food Pairing: Great on its own. This wine would pair well with a charcuterie board that includes prosciutto, or with mango and ginger Wensleydale cheese served with salty pretzel crackers.


I loved chatting with Sue-Ann Staff. She has so many interesting stories. I discovered that her white wine is named after people and her red wine is named after things. She has this amazing icewine, Howard’s Icewine Vidal 2016, that I totally recommend. For this blog, I’m reviewing the following:


Made from Viognier, Chardonnay, and Riesling, this lovely White has citrus aromas with candied almond, slight resin, vanilla bean, and white pepper. On the palate it has wonderful acidity, beautiful harmony, and is absolutely delicious.

Wine-Food Pairing: Pair with almond crusted chicken or caesar salad.


Sue-Ann mentioned that her farm has been in her family for two centuries. Her family told her that one winter when the men were selling apples and pears in England, renegades broke into their farm and stole their goods and left behind a riding crop. Later, the riding crop sprouted roots and grew into a chestnut tree which still stands today.

It turns out that the renegades were Jesse James and his entourage. Jesse James had family in Kitchener and at the time, he was escaping from authorities in the United States. Sue-Ann named her bottle after this amazing family story.

This Cab Franc has concentrated raspberry and black cherry aromas, as well as violet, black pepper, tobacco and spice. The palate follows the nose. It has good body, great acidity with noticeable tannins. This one is a keeper and can be stored for several years. 

Wine-Food Pairing: Pair with a peppered steak, roasted lamb, or spicy sausage penne.


It was such a pleasure talking with Derek Barnett. He’s passionate, has a twinkle in his eye, and his love for making wine shines through. I was very impressed with his Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir. Here’s my review of the later:


This garnet-hued Pinot Noir is jammy on the nose with aromas of raspberry and black cherry, and notes of cedar, black licorice, and hints of beeswax. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with fresh acidity and noticeable tannins. The palate follows the nose. It also has a kick of black pepper and a long espresso finish. I would keep this Pinot Noir a few years to let it age, it will just get better with time.

Wine-Food Pairing: This would pair well with a beef roast or with venison.


Paul Battilana of Casa-Dea Winery on the right.

It was great chatting with Paul Battilana of Casa-Dea Winery. I love his 2016 Chardonnay Reserve and his Dea’s 2017 Sparkling Rosé. His Cabernet Franc is a great example of the wonderful potential for this grape variety in Prince Edward County.


This Cabernet Franc has juicy aromas of raspberry and blackcurrant, along with cedar, violet, and a touch of bell pepper that dissipates quickly. On the palate, it is medium bodied with sour cherry and tart plum flavours, as well as subtle wood notes and espresso at the finish.

Wine-Food Pairing:  Wonderful on its own. This wine would pair well with barbecued pork chops or with baked eggplant parmesan. 


I only had time to try one bottle at the Di Profio kiosk but I look forward to trying more in the future. I quite enjoyed the one I sampled.


This wine was the most full-bodied Red that I personally sampled during the evening. It is bold yet smooth. On the nose, there is a mix of red and dark berries, predominantly ripe blueberry and raspberry jam, followed by aromas of cedar, vanilla, and milk chocolate. On the palate, the flavours are of dark berries and tart plum with some spicy black pepper and a dark cocoa finish. The acidity is fresh and the tannins are velvety. Delicious!

Wine-Food Pairing: This wine would pair wonderfully with barbecued steak in a Montreal steak spice rub or with dark chocolate.


The first wine I sampled at the event was Tawse’s 2016 Spark Limestone Ridge Riesling which was a delicious way to start the evening. Tawse offers many wonderful bottles that I’ve had the pleasure of tasting over the years.

It was nice meeting Micheline and Tim Kuepfer from Broken Stone Winery. They have a beautiful sparkling wine that I will be purchasing called Exuberance Sparkling Riesling. Their Pinot Gris and Cab Franc are also tasty and well made. 

I liked that we had some Ottawa area representation with KIN Vineyards. Their Civil Grit Chardonnay is quite nice. I also liked seeing Karlo Estates who makes a tasty Marquette. You can read my review of their Marquette here.

The event did not only feature wine. There was ciders, spirits, cheese, and chutney. The Rhubarb Raisin Chutney I bought from Top Shelf Preserves was so tasty that my jar is already empty.  Overall, it was a great event hosted by Savvy Wine Company.  I do look forward to the next one.


Marquette 101: Discovering this Cold-Hardy Grape

Never heard of Marquette? You are not the only one. This young grape variety may not be well-known but is steadily gaining popularity.  

First off, Marquette is a hybrid grape. Unfortunately, hybrid grapes can be tricky to get recognition within the wine industry. In Ontario, for example, Marquette is not on the list of permitted grape varieties for VQA Ontario eligible wines.

The good news is that this is currently under review. Through the VQA Ontario Stakeholder Consultation dated September 25, 2018, one of the proposals was to add Marquette on the list of permitted hybrid grape varieties. We will need to stay tuned for developments regarding  this proposal.

The vast majority of wine we currently drink belong to the Vitis Vinifera family. To get a hybrid grape, you typically cross Vitis Vinifera grapes with other Vitis species.

Hybrid varieties can be more resistant to the cold and diseases and offer an alternative to Vitis Vinifera grapes in climates where the weather is too cold for these grapes to thrive such as Eastern Canada.

Marquette was created by Peter Hemstad and James Luby at the University of Minnesota’s Horticultural Research Center. It originated from a cross made in 1989 between the University of Minnesota’s hybrid grape variety ‘MN 1094’ and the French hybrid grape variety ‘Ravat 262’, sometimes referred as Ravat Noir.

‘MN 1094’ was derived from a complex mix of Vitis Riparia, Vitis Vinifera, and lesser amounts of several other Vitis species. ‘Ravat 262’ was derived from a complex mix of several Vitis species and Pinot Noir is of its parents.

Marquette produces bluish-black fruit that is resistant to the cold. It also has good resistance to common grape diseases including downy mildew, powdery mildew, and black rot. 

Marquette grapes are high in sugar and have good acidity levels. Wines made from Marquette are typically ruby coloured with both aromas and flavours of cherry, berry, black pepper, and spice. In comparison to other cold-hardy red hybrid grapes, wine made from Marquette frequently has more pronounced and perceivable tannins.  

The deadline for industry stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed changes that includes the addition of Marquette will be on December 15, 2018. This does not mean that if the feedback received is positive and that the VQA Board of Directors support the addition of Marquette, it will automatically be added.

I was informed by the VQA that if the Board of Directors recommends the proposed changes to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services for approval, then the Ministry may wish to conduct their own industry consultations. Regardless of whether it gets approved or not, this proposal is a step in the right direction for this grape has all the potential to produce high quality wine.


13.5% alcohol./vol

Visually, this wine is a dark ruby colour with a lighter violet rim.  First thing I smell is rose petals, followed by juicy aromas of black cherry and plum, and lots of dark chocolate, with mushroom, black olive, cinnamon, and hints of white pepper.  This wine is light to medium bodied and has this mouth-watering tartness with its crunchy young  plum and sour cherry flavours. It also has notes of sweet spice and dark cocoa. The tannins are smooth and the flavours linger.

Wine-Food Pairing: This wine goes well with pasta in a fresh tomato sauce, mushroom risotto, and a charcuterie board that includes olives and nuts.

Another example of Marquette is the following from Etter that I had reviewed for my blog:  Interview with Jan-Daniel Etter of Clos du Vully. It is a different style and blended with a few other varieties. This one has more body and although tart, it does not have the mouth-watering acidity found in the Marquette from Karlo Estates.

13.5% alcohol./vol

Made from 75% estate grown Marquette, and a blend of 25% Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Shiraz, this ruby coloured Red has aromas of  black plum, violet, and sour cherry, as well as hints of wet cedar, red licorice, smoke, and roasted cocoa beans.

On the palate, it has tart black plum and sour cherry flavours with a smoky finish. It is medium bodied with wonderful acidity and is truly a lovely wine.

Wine-Food Pairing: This wine would pair well with barbecued steak, grilled pork, or roasted duck. Continue reading “Marquette 101: Discovering this Cold-Hardy Grape”