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2007 Equuleus Chateau des Charmes, Niagara Ontario

50% Cabernet sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, 25% merlot, made only in years the winery believes appropriate. $40 list price.

Decanted 45 minutes before starting. Very dark color. Nose a bit muted at first, but a hint of ripe fruit. Tannins dominant at first, but some fruit to balance. Opened nicely with time. Oak present, but in the background. Noticed occasional notes I describe as "olivy" which are found in many mid-valley Napa Cabs.Also, my wife pointed out smoky notes, and I got a bit of peppery spice also. Wife also pointed out "this is fruiter than all the Canadian reds we've had"(which are a lot). She is correct (often helps to get another experienced perspective). I definitely noticed dark to mid berry fruit, riper than the usual red from the region. Even those I've written positively about in this forum from the 1998 vintage did not show this ripe.

The last glass (usually my favorite) showed everything integrated very nicely, with an alluring aroma reminiscent of something from perhaps the right bank of Bordeaux. Also still present were the tannins, but there was what I would describe as a noticeable tension between the fruit and these tannins. Even detected a bit of an ironlike note at times. Tasting notes found on the Net do describe the tannins and that this will age.

I purposely drank this immediately (received as a gift only on Thursday) to try and determine the fruit level before it possibly submerged and the wine went dormant like many Bordeaux do. The 2007 vintage is highly touted in Ontario, more so for the length and duration of the ripening season as opposed to perhaps being "just a warm year for Niagara". Trying to be as objective as I can, this is without a doubt the best Canadian red we've had. At times during the proceedings, the brambly, even herbaceous flavors typical of these reds would show a bit, but there is clearly a ripeness dimension to the fruit we haven't seen before. And these unsavory notes would dissipate and the fruit would show. Regarding the aging, IMO I would totally agree.... the balanced tension that developed seems to me a good sign. It's this balance that allows them to go on for a while. Often in these reds, the brambly character slowly takes over, the fruit fades and they aren't pleasant. IMO this will not happen here.

Not sure if I would but more at this price....if the exchange were back to what is was when I was really trying these canadian wines and the net would have been about $27, I would buy at that price.

This was a lengthy post, but we must keep experimenting and reporting. Coincidentally, a few posts on this forum recently about Niagara and some info regarding the 2007 vintage prompted me to go up and buy 4 bottles of 2007 Chardonnay (2 each to confirm any findings) just a few weeks ago. One each has been drunk, will report after the confirmation bottles.
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