2002 Legends Estates Reserve Cabernet/Merlot, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Continuing with an older Niagara wine. I don't know the percentages of each varietal, nor do I care. What's a bit frustrating about Niagara wines is that mature examples are difficult to find, unless you buy each release and age them yourself. The market just does not support producers holding onto vintages, and releasing them at maturity. This, the 2002, was from a somewhat hotter vintage, and although I still believe that all cabernet vines should be ripped out of Niagara, I still want to taste. I've had mostly unfortunate examples of Niagara cabernet, all grossly lean with a bouquet surprisingly mirroring freshly laid road tar. This, thankfully, was different.
With a dark colour, all purples and reds, the wine shows deep fruit, ripe, with subtle mocha and oak. Youthful, which follows on the structured, fine palate. Finish is good. Balanced, vibrant, ripe - good hallmarks of what Niagara can achieve with these varietals. It's drinking well at this point, and what it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in rigidity and a still youthful exuberance. But can a cabernet wine of distinction be produced in Ontario? I'm still not convinced.