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David Lawrason’s Weekly Wine Pick: a surprising Bordeaux-style red from Niagara

Weekly Wine PickHidden Bench 2008 Terroir Caché Meritage

$35.20 | Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula | 91 points
Every once in a while a wine comes along that shakes one’s beliefs—in this case, it’s the presumption that Niagara should just give up on pulling off “Meritage” wines, the full-bodied, Bordeaux-style cabernet-merlot reds. Despite a weak, wet vintage, good grape growing and winemaking has trumped conventional wisdom on the subject. Of course, there’s the question of whether buyers will pay for quality—but I would compare this very favourably to any $35 Bordeaux.

The taste: It pours with impressive colour. The nose is very fragrant and complex with red and black currant fruit, fresh dill, cocoa, roasted red pepper and coffee. It’s slim on the palate, with lower alcohol and very good acidity as well as soft tannin. Loads of flavour and excellent length.

How to drink it: It is maturing and fairly light, so it doesn’t need long ageing, although it should hold through 2017. It’s important to decant this and let it breathe in a wide-based decanter, then serve it in large fine glasses that will show off its aromas. Serve with savoury roasted poultry or red meats.

Vintages. LCBO 505610