Fortified Wines in Niagara
Fortified wines are a lesser known category of wines throughout the world, but they are truly special wines to get your hands on. Fortified wines come in many different styles rom Port, to Madeira, to Sherry, and many more. Not all fortified wines are made equally however, some get fortified before any alcoholic fermentation occurs, highlighting the natural essence of the juice itself, some get fortified midway through fermentation, keeping some of the natural sugars of the juice, and some are fermented dry, and then fortified to the desired alcohol level.
Here at Lakeview we create 2 incredible 'port-style' fortified wines, being the Lakeview Cellars Reserve Tawny and the Lakeview Cellars Small Batch Ruby. While both begin their life in the same way, they end up being two completely different products.
Lakeview Cellars Reserve Tawny
The Lakeview Cellars Reserve Tawny is comprised of roughly 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Touriga National, which is a traditional Port grape used in Portugal. The wine is fortified with a neutral grape spirit 3 days into alcohol fermentation, bring it to 20% ABV and leaving about 90g/L of residual sugar. The Reserve Tawny then spent roughly 12 years in old bourbon barrels, giving the wine a beautiful tawny colour and a great depth of flavour. The Tawny is produced using the Solera method of aging, meaning that the final barrels are never fully emptied at bottling, and get continuously topped up with the previous years wine. The oldest component of the Reserve Tawny dates back to 2003, creating a truly one-of-a-kind wine.
Lakeview Cellars Small Batch Ruby
The Lakeview Cellars Small Batch Ruby is comprised of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, that goes under the same fortification process as the Tawny, getting fortified 3 days into fermentation to the same alcohol and sugar level. The Small Batch Ruby only goes into Bourbon barrels for roughly 18 months, resulting in a similar product to Vintage Port. While the Ruby is drinking absolutely beautifully right now, it is a wine that is designed to sit in a cellar for over a decade.
Fortified wines are a unique style that you don't get to see too much done here in Niagara, but the ones that Lakeview produces are truly exceptional.