Harvest Series 2021: Week 8
Cabernet Franc and Merlot are still steadily coming into the winery to make everyone's favourite reds. While they are still coming in, we can talk about 3 grape varieties that are a little more special and unique to us here at Lakeview Wine Co. that have made their way in in the past few weeks - Kerner, Viognier, and Malbec. While some may be familiar with wins made from grapes from other parts of the world, they are a rare sight here in Niagara.
Kerner is a grape that we are incredibly lucky to get in at the winery. With a very small planting that we get access to, we are lucky to get 5 tonnes of the grape in a given year. The Kerner grape was bred in 1929 by crossing Riesling and Trollinger. The grape originates from Germany, where much of the world Kerner still comes from. The grape is named after poet Justinus Kerner, who wrote songs and poems and wine.
Kerner wines will show notes similar to that of Muscat on the nose, with aromas of white fruit, apple, and grapefruit. On the palate it shows similar notes to Riesling, being fresh, fruity, but slightly milder in acidity and having more body. Our Lakeview Cellars Kerner is a true example of the grape, with delicate sweetness, intense fruit characteristics, and the perfect balance of acidity.
Like Kerner, Viognier is an incredibly aromatic white grape. While not as rare as the Kerner, it is still a grape that is not the easiest thing in the world to find. Viognier is traditionally grown in the Rhône Valley in Franc, and will sometimes even be blended with Syrah to add to the colour and aromas of the finished wine.
Some wineries will age Viognier in oak barrels to give it complexity and more body, while we prefer to age the Viognier solely in stainless steel, focusing in on the natural acidity and fruity characteristics of the grape. We prefer to age the Viognier in stainless steel tanks, with a bit of ageing on lees to add complexity to the wine while focusing on the natural flavours of the grape itself. Our Lakeview Cellars Viognier is a dry, aromatic white with fresh aromas of citrus, orchard blossoms, and peach, with light notes of honey, tropical fruits, and lemon and lime zest.
Malbec is a French grape in origin and is one of 6 grapes allowed in the legendary red Bordeaux wines, the grape has become increasingly popular coming from warmer parts of the world, notable Argentina. Not a grape that necessarily thrives normally in our cool Niagara climate, we are fortunate enough to be able to be one of few wineries producing wines from the elusive grape.
Malbec grapes have thick, inky-purple skins that end up giving wines rich tannins and intense flavours. While often blended with Cabernet or Merlot, Malbec is a grape that is delicious on its own. Our Lakeview Cellars Malbec is a double-gold medal winner, medium+ in body, and rich notes of pomegranate, dark plum, and baking spices. It is perfect on its own, but pairs perfectly with braised short ribs, or a rich, meaty steak.
There's a lot of classics that Niagara does well, but we at Lakeview do some incredible things with some lesser-known grapes. Grab some today and try them for yourself!