Cooper’s Hawk Wickedly Decadent

Header-image-StephenBy Robert K Stephen CSW

(TORONTO, ON) – Geez, I can remember tasting Harrow’s Cooper’s Hawk wines before they had their ultra relaxing tasting room and retail shop. Their wines were so new there was no time to obtain VQA status on their excellent very first Chardonnay, which was in The Square’s top wines of 2011.

So, I get home tonight and, lo and behold, a couple of bottles of Cooper’s Hawk to try. Thanks folks.

Cabernet Franc is a Lake Erie North Shore no brainer because it’s always good. Can Cooper’s Hawk step it up with its 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve?

Cooper's Hawk 2012 RieslingThe copper on black label is really attractive and highly professional looking. Now what’s in the bottle?

It’s got a nice garnet colour with a slight orange hue on the edges. It’s also a Reserve which I think has no special VQA significance but, as a general thread, Reserve for wines often means sometime in oak. In this case 12 months in both French and American oak.

At times, I think a tad too much Yankee oak on this wine. And I mean just a tad. Decant prior to serving and of course slightly chilled.

Wickedly decadent aroma of black cherry, chocolate covered cherries, raisin pie, and rhubarb. Oh yes, that tell tale LENS rhubarb. LENS terroir for sure shines through on the nose. Who says Canadian wines can’t exhibit richness and depth like Spanish or Portuguese wines?

There is a delicate toned down richness to this wine on the palate. It’s very clean and deft on the palate and what you get on the nose is what you get on the palate. Seductive tannins that melt ever so nicely into the fruit.

May I be so bold as to say an orgasmic finish? Short but explosive.

Great for sipping but a good match for grilled BBQ meats, particularly lamb or goat, over real charcoal, as there is an ever so faint and gentle charcoal note on the palate. It would go well with vegetarian fare that has a bit of kick and roughness to it.

Let me go all out and say this is a raspy beauty. Cooper’s Hawk has started my LENS tasting of 2015 in a spectacular fashion.

With its rating it’s already in my top wines of 2015. I’d say drink now, but a couple of years in the cellar might smooth that raspy character out. And, I am not sure that’s a plus. (Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard 2012 VQA Lake Erie North Shore Cabernet Franc Reserve, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, Harrow, Ontario, $19.95, 13.5%, Square Media Group Rating 93/100).

With Riesling wines I love the Germanic variety with great acidity, lots fruit, minerality, and low alcohol. I can’t say the same for most Rieslings from Ontario.

Niagara Rieslings seem to be the wine critic’s darlings, but most of them are sour and tart, full of grapefruit, and I don’t mean that lovely sweet April grapefruit from California. Perhaps, with its greater heat, Lake Erie North Shore Rieslings somehow take a jump over Niagara’s.

Enough Niagara bashing. Can Cooper’s Hawk rescue Ontario Riesling from the rocks that’ll just tear the ship apart?

It has a pale gold colour which is giving me PTSD from Niagara Rieslings. Thank goodness its nose is full of ripe pear, apple, pineapple, and cinnamon. On the nose, pardon my vulgarity but, it whoops Niagara’s ass, big-time.

In a state a pre op terror, let’s taste it.

Beautiful sweetness and a lack of the vicious acidity. It’s crisp on the palate, perhaps just a bit less than Germanic Rieslings, perhaps except for Rieslings from the Pfalz region of Germany. Full of fruit particularly pear, Fig Newtons, and Portuguese Pasteis de Nata tarts.

Lake Erie North Shore really delivers, yet again, on its Rieslings and Cabernet Franc. While I happily quaff Cabernet Franc from all VQA areas, I am rather selective about my Riesling. LENS leads the way. Thank you Cooper’s Hawk for this effort. And bravo to the 9% alcohol content.

Did these guys sneak some German winemaker in to consult on this wine? (Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard 2013 VQA Lake Erie North Shore Riesling, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, Harrow, Ontario, $16.95, 9%, Square Media Group Rating 92/100).

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC.

Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden.

Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, “Have Story, Will Write.”

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