Sunday, April 11, 2010

CAVE SPRING CELLERS 2008..Canada's ANSWER to RIESLING...by Philip S. Kampe

As you know by now, I am a true sucker for Riesling wines from North America. The Finger Lakes "Dr. Frank" and "Wagner Vineyard wines" top the scale for me from wines on this side of the border.

Once you cross the border into Canada, the Niagara Peninsula boasts exceptional wines, highlighted by a well known (for good reason) vineyard that makes wines that delight the palate.
CAVE SPRING CELLERS (originally known as Cave Spring Vineyards) is one of Canada's most acclaimed wineries.

Named, by Europeon settlers in the 18th century, for the limestone caves and mineral springs on the property, Cave Spring Celllers location offers the perfect opportunity to grow and harvest the Riesling grape.

Nestled along the sloping Niagara Escarpment, overlooking Lake Ontario, Cave Spring's land is ripe for perfect cool-climate viticulture for growing grapes that display sophistication and character. The growing conditions are similar to those of Germany and France where the Riesling grape thrives.

The land is owned by the Pennachetti family and dates back to the 1920's when Giuseppe Pennachetti, a mason, emigrated from Fermo, Italy. After retirement, Giuseppe followed his hobby, winemaking. He was the inspiration for John Sr., his son, and grandson Leonard, who run the present day Cave Spring operations.

In 1973, John Sr. and Leonard (Len) acquired land on Niagara's Beamsville Bench. In 1978, they planted their first Riesling and Chardonnay vines. By 1983, Angelo Pavan partnered with the Pennachetti family and became their first and present day winemaker.

As Cave Spring has grown, the family has joined in to help. The company is primarily run by family members, including family links to the famous German vineyard, St. Urbans-Hof.

Winemaker Angelo Pavan sums up Cave Spring's wines and high standards he sets by saying: "The measure of a winemaker is not his ability to speak for great vineyards, but rather his faith in the idea that great vineyards can speak for themselves"

The four 2008 Rieslings I tasted (Thanks to Carol Sullivan) "speak for themselves".

2008 RIESLING NIAGARA PENINSULA VQA ($14)
...stainless steel fermentation..medium dry...limestone-clay soil..breezes from Lake Ontario..lush fruit...vibrant acidity...aromas of apple, peach, apricot...spice, grapefruit finish

2008 RIESLING NIAGARA PENINSULA VQA (Semi-dry) ($14)
....stainless steel fermentation...medium body...aromas of green apple, citrus...crisp...acidic..ripe..grapefruit overtones

2008 RIESLING BEAMSVILLE BENCH VQA Estate Bottled ($18)
....cool fermentation..stainless steel for three weeks..then left on lees for two months...strong aromas of anise, grapefruit and pear...dry...medium body....acidic...mineral...granny smith..anise..long finish

2008 CSV RIESLING BEAMSVILLE BENCH VQA Estate Bottled ($29)
...old vines...cool fermentation..stainless steel for four weeks..left on lees for three months...complex...full body...past dry...mineral....acidic...nose of plum and fennel..taste of ripe fruit..long, spice finish

The wines from north of the border vie for Riesling domination in North America.
Cave Spring Celler wines are a true example of what 'terroir' means to wine and what Angelo Pavan is to winemaking!

PHILIP S. KAMPE
MARIA KAMPE
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