Red Wine Starvation Meets CREW 2010 Meritage – Robert K. Stephen (CSW), Windsor Square

Filed in News, Red Wines, Wine Reviews on September 4, 2013

Meritage 2010(TORONTO, ON) – After travelling for a few weeks in Spain and Portugal my physician will no doubt be singing the praises of all the good cholesterol imparted by the almost exclusive seafood diet I thrived on. The only problem was a very limited opportunity to chug down some red wine, as white wine and seafood are just about mandatory.

Although a few glasses of appropriately chilled (the Spaniards know how to serve red wine far better than the Italians), yet light Rioja, rather saved the day in the red wine rescue department, in addition to a few ounces of heady reds in the four tasting menus offered to me as a Square Media Group journalist.

So I am starved for a bit of Canadian red wine that can deliver a bit of a punch. Fortuitously my lack of red wine met the 2010 CREW Meritage, and I am beaming with delight. Is it a quality wine or is my red wine starvation a boon for my rating of the Meritage?

Please try it yourself and praise me as a sage or criticize me as a fraud. Anything but indifference.

Nice black cherry colour. On the nose a rich stew of fruits loaded up with blackberry and rich black cherry, figs, dates and chocolate. My goodness, has Lake Erie North Shore gone NAPA?

Bernie Gorski can coax out the richness of Lake Erie North Shore grapes better than just about anybody. There is such richness and depth on the nose making it positively Un-Ontario-ish, as far as a red wine goes.

Unfortunately the label (and the CREW website) fails to indicate the percentage of the blend of grapes in this wine, but at least it advises us there is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. I will credit the Cabernet Sauvignon for imparting the richness, the Merlot the lushness, and the Cabernet Franc the chocolate and the discipline to reign in the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Whatever the percentages I am satisfied with a Chuck Swindoll dose of righteousness on the palate and the nose.

By the way, speaking of palate, there is some tannic heft counterbalanced by the sweetness of the Merlot and lazy discipline afforded by the Cabernet Franc. Elements of sand, clay, and smokey sweet rhubarb on the palate. Unlike some of the huge Spanish and Portuguese reds recently sampled, the CREW Meritage has a spunky acidity that makes it a bit more versatile for meats, tomato sauces, and charcuterie than some of the decadent and singular Iberian wines I have tried as of late.

Although it drinks well now, the tannins and acids hint at another 3-5 years of ageing. Lacking some Segovian Suckling Pig or Alentejano Black Pig, free-ranged, I’d say some ribs lathered with homemade sauce on the BBQ will suit this Meritage very nicely.

CREW has, once again, proven it is beyond good Lake Erie North Shore wine. It is top, international quality wine at a bargain price. I sense a cult winery in the making.

Try now before George Clooney buys all their output.

(CREW 2010 Lake Erie North Shore VQA Meritage, Colchester Ridge Estates Winery, Harrow, Ontario, 750 mL, 13.9%, $20, Square Media Group rating 94/100).

Only 295 cases produced. A case will take you very nicely through fall and winter. I am way ahead of myself, but with a prime rib on New Year’s Day……….yowsers!

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