Canada’s wine industry is young compared to many industrialized nations, but the success thus far of Canadian wines has helped create a demand in the marketplace. Given the location of many of Canada’s vineyards, the grapes are picked as late as possible to ensure proper sugar levels before fermentation. If the grapes are under-ripe, the wines will be bitter and very acidic. In some cases, winemakers may add sugar to already crushed grapes; a process called chaptalization. This increases the sugar level so that the yeasts have more sugar to convert into alcohol. This method is also practiced in other cooler climate growing areas such as Austria and Germany.
Cave Spring is a winery located in the Niagara growing area in eastern Canada. Giuseppe Pennachetti was a migrant worker from Italy, who in 1920, left his native Italy for Canada to help build Niagara Welland Canal. After completing the canal, he stayed in Canada and began cultivating grapes; thereby fulfilling a lifelong dream of one day making his own wine. The Pennachetti family still owns and operates the winery which has become one of the leading estates of Niagara.
The Cave Spring Riesling 2007 is light on the palate, but the rich orange-peel and citrus notes of a typical Riesling come through on the finish. After an initial rush of grapefruit and lemon, the wine cuts to a medium-dry finish with petrol notes.
The alcohol content of the wine is only 11%; moderately low for most table wines on the market. The reason for this goes back to the discussion of sugar levels before fermentation. With lower-than-average sugar levels at the start of fermentation, the final alcohol content will be lower than most wines on the market. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and according to some wine critics, lower alcohol levels are preferred, when comapring these wines to extremely alcoholic wines that contain nearly 15%-16%. Overall, this wine is pleasant to try if you’re curious about the Canadian wine scene.
Cave Spring wines are available at Astor Wines and Spirits in New York City.