Tasting Note: Creekside Estate Winery 2006 VQA Cabernet, Niagara Peninsula

On my short vacation on Manitoulin Island, last August, I took a minute to stop by the Gore Bay branch of the LCBO to grab some wine (and a bit of cider), and chanced upon a bottle of 2006 VQA Cabernet by Creekside Winery, which I’d heard much good about in the last few months.

Among other things, Creekside scored high in the most recent Canadian Wine Awards and was a finalist for Winery of the Year.

Of course, to get a full sense of what the winery is about, I’d have to go further than just tasting one entry level cabernet. But the entry level wines are often a good way to judge a producer’s overall outlook and approach.

So, what does this 13$ wine tell about Creekside? To me, it seems they work with a good sense of what they can get out of the grapes they have. 2006 was a relatively mild vintage, with a cool autumn season that saw fair amounts of rain gorge up the grapes. So you wouldn’t expect huge ripeness and big concentration.

The 2006 cabernet, made from 60% cabernet franc and 40% cabernet sauvignon, consequently shows relatively high acidity and a very reasonable 12.2% alcohol level. Which is all fine by me. Especially when it all blends in with a nice set of flavors and aromas: red fruit (red currant), a touch of spice, and a green pepper/herbaceous (or is that herbal – you’d have to ask Eric Asimov) character from the cabernet franc that I, personally, have always loved. Oak was used (French and American, the tech sheet says), but I found it discreet, which is, again, a great idea for a less expansive vintage.

Medium bodied, not especially complex, it is pleasant to drink, with soft tannins that give it just enough structure. And it’s very pleasant with a slow-cooked roast or even perhaps a roast chicken with root vegetables. I’d buy it again. And I’ll be looking for more Creekside wines in the future.

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