We Did Ontario for Cabernet Day: Norm, Château, and House

With August 30th being Cabernet Day, I suppose you can guess what we were up to!

Our Cabernet Wine List!

Norman Hardie 2009 Cabernet Franc: if you’ve been reading the Wine Hobbyist for a while, then you’ll know that I am a big fan of Norm Hardie wines, making it obvious then, why it was included in our Ontario Cab night.

On colour, you can certainly tell that this wine is a Cabernet. The colour of the wine is thick, and deep scarlet red.  The colour, no doubt, coming from the Cabernet’s thick skinned makeup. On the nose, you’ll recognize that distinctive oak and spice filled Cabernet smell.  Lastly, on the palate, we’ll tell you that this is a complex wine that continues to form, as it breaths.  Your initial sip will greet you with a punchy, tannic drink that also presents much spice and almost no fruit. In 15 minutes though, this wine will show you another side of itself, as the tannins start to further soften and shape into a great mouth feel, with a long, warm finish.

This wine retails in the LCBO for $25.00, and we gave it a score of 3.5.

Château Des Charmes, 2009 Cabernet: again, you’ve probably read or seen this name on the Wine Hobbyist a few times and fittingly so, because it’s another winery I am extremely fond of.

On colour, this 2009 Cabernet presents you with the same deep red we noticed on the Norm Hardie wine, but it comes with an impressive rim around the wine that made us comfortable in how it was going to perform on the palate, with very little breathing time.  On the nose, talk about a beautiful bouquet; you could tell that it was going to be a well rounded wine. Specifically, you smell the expected oak and spice, with some cassis, but you also get more hints of fruit, such as plum and blackberry, giving it a fantastic nose that is remarkably inviting.  On the palate, it had a surprising mineral taste, but then presented a strong tannic stance with some spice.  Though it had a far better hue and nose performance, the overall mouth feel wasn’t bad either.

It is a shame that the only size of bottle available for this wine right now is the 375 ml, both from the winery and in stores.

This wine retails at the LCBO for $6.30, and we gave it a score of 4/5

House Wine Co. Red House Cabernet Shiraz, 2010: now, here’s a name you have not heard on the Wine Hobbyist before, but maybe you have…. This wine was created by the Speck Brothers, the same group behind Henry of Pellham, and Sibling Rivalry.  Nonetheless, their Red House Cab Shiraz really surprised me.  Looking at the bottle design, I will say it made me speculative if this hipster design could bear anything praiseworthy inside.  (Who knew  that I was so old-fashion?) Nonetheless, I am glad I tried it.  On colour, the prominent Cabernet and Shiraz grapes give this wine a lovely, rich ruby red colour.  On the nose, you will definitely pick up spice, oak, and the traditional peppers scent that you get from a Cab, but it is coupled with a slight raspberry scent, in the bouquet. On the palate, I was thoroughly impressed. I believe I exclaimed “it’s fantastic” after my first sip. Now, full disclaimer here, I am a true Shiraz fan and this probably attributed to my reaction, but regardless of blends, the Speck Brothers did a great job here.  I specifically picked up an array of flavours starting from caramel, chocolate, spice, oak and some plum, but wrap these together, as the Speck Brothers have, and you end up with a truly fantastic Cabernet Shiraz blend.  This is a definite ’buy again’ for me.

House Wine’s whole philosophy is to keep it simple and produce great wines. So simple that finding the speck sheet on this wine was next to impossible, forcing me to pick up the phone and question the person staffing reception at the winery. (She was delightful, by the way).  Nonetheless, understanding this, makes the bottle design that much more endearing and after tasting their wine, they’ve turned me into a believer.  I cannot wait to try the other House Wine beauty’s..

This wine retails at the LCBO for $12.95, and we gave it a score of 4.75/5