We really enjoyed our first ever visit to Back 10 Cellars (in 2013), where we met proprietor Andrew Brooks in the vineyard and were able to sample his first wine, a delicious Riesling. We had made it back after that first visit, dragging friends to their tasting room that opened the following year and getting hooked on the Cab Franc as well. So when we had a day to visit this past August, we knew we wanted to visit again.
Debbie and I stopped in just before closing and we had a great visit with Andrew. We talked about the winter damage that we were seeing everywhere; The last two winters have been surprisingly easy on Back 10’s vineyards. While others show lots of damage, their property seems to have magically had some of the least impact of any we visited this year. Andrew mentions that there is one corner of the property that had some impact, but very minor in comparison. As you can see in the photo of the vines below, they are healthy and extremely vibrant.
One of the best lines I have heard came when we were talking about how business was going with both the winery and Crush Tours, the wine touring company that has kept Andrew and wife Christina afloat while the winery was coming to life: “Great. In 15 years, I may just have the lifestyle everyone thinks I have had for the last 15 years!”. Enough said. 🙂 (For more great colour on the story of how they got there, read the back story on the web site here!)
Andrew took us through a tasting of their entire portfolio (except for the Chardonnay, which sold out earlier in the summer). The wines all show very well, and the intimacy of the cottage tasting room are two of the reasons we love visiting small wineries like Back 10 Cellars. Here’s what we tasted:
Back 10 2014 “Big Reach” Riesling: Loads of stone fruit with peaches and nectarines dominating. There’s some white flower honey, light beeswax notes and just a hint of something akin to grassiness. With juicy acidity, the sweetness that first hits your tongue is quickly tamed with pink grapefruit and lemon juice, finishing with crisp lemon-pith notes that cleanse your palate. $22.95
Back 10 2013 Rose Coloured Glasses” Rosé: A blend of Merlot and Gamay, there’s
loads of sweet fruit on the nose with cherry and raspberry dominating, with a hint of herbaceousness. The palate adds some intriguing candy notes – almost like marshmallow Jolly Ranchers, and then the cleansing acidity whisks it away. Nice summer sipper, but likely sold out by now as there wasn’t much left! $18.95
Back 10 2013 “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” Pinot Noir: Bright cherry notes, minerality, and a light earthiness on the nose are supported with red cherry and sour cherry notes on the palate. The spice box notes came out as the wine got some air, and were seen on both the nose and palate. Great minerality. $29.95
Back 10 2013 “The Big Leap” Cabernet Franc: With a nose of smoky black cherry and black pepper notes, I’m intrigued by this wine. There’s some kirsch-like notes from cherry-alcohol mix. On the palate, loads of dark cherry and plums with great mid-weight body. There’s decent tannins and structure to hold this for a while, or pair now with some rare meat. $28.95 (we were also lucky enough to buy a limited magnum of this for $65).
Back 10 2014 “Start From Scratch” Chardonnay (sample): I can’t recall if Andrew had pulled this from the barrel or if it had just been bottled (but not labelled yet). Either way, it was an early tasting of the 2014 Chard that releases next week. With all Canadian oak – 1,2, and 3 years old, there is a fairly decent oak influence on the nose and palate. But the fruit is still there, and the nose elicits fresh apple and pear, with some light tropical notes. The palate is surprising – the wine has a weighty viscosity to it – luscious with creme brulée, butter, and coconut notes, which then give way to crisp green apple and fresh minerality. A really neat wine that you won’t want to miss!
Open Fri-Sun, here’s how to find Back 10 Cellars
4101 King Street, Beamsville