Day 19: Aging Ontario Wines

2002 Cabernet Franc

Daniel Lenko 2002 Cabernet Franc

At a recent Canadian wine party we attended in the Hamilton area, Daniel Lenko showed up with a couple of fantastic older vintages that reminded me that I needed to write a post about aging Ontario wines.

I keep hearing a statistic that most people consume their wine within 1 hour of purchase, and that’s understandable. But if you have any interest in collecting wine, and seeing what a few (or more) years will do to it, then there are lots of great Ontario choices.

Varieties that immediately spring to mind for aging are the big reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Merlot (or blends of same). They don’t need to be expensive bottles either; We were lucky enough to sample a 20+ yr old general list Cab Franc from Vineland estates in the last few years, and it was delicious. Generally with red wines I look for the combination fruit+tannins, although some with fruit+acid do well, too. The tannins will mellow over time, and it is always interesting to find prominent fruit in an old wine.

There’s also a surprising number of whites that age well too – Riesling, Chardonnay, and

2000 Gewurztraminer

Daniel Lenko 2000 Gewurztraminer

Gew├╝rztraminer. Yes, I said Gew├╝rztraminer! While I would never have thought of hanging onto a “Gew” for a long time, the 2000 vintage that Daniel Lenko brought to the party changed my mind…it was still fresh, with crisp acidity after all those years. With white wines, look for fruit + acidity. If the wine doesn’t have a lot of acidity, it will start getting soft, and maybe even a little flabby after only a few years (I’ve made this mistake with some Pinot Gris before). I’ve sampled 30 year old Rieslings that knocked my socks off – they definitely develop new flavours and characteristics; This is what makes wine so interesting!

I’m of the opinion that Vidal Icewine is best when it is 15+ yrs old. The sweet nectar turns to more caramel, marzipan, and dried fruit and i just find it so much more intriguing. I like to buy a bottle somewhat regularly just to make sure I will have some aged ones down the road.

So next time you pick up a bottle of wine and notice that it has the right combinations of fruit and tannin, or fruit and acidity, grab another bottle and experiment with it. Try it in 5 yrs or 10 yrs and see what time has done to it. It’s a cheap experiment that may just open your eyes!

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