Black Bank Hill 2020 Cabernet Franc, Lincoln Lakeshore VQA

Black Bank Hill 2020 Cabernet Franc, Lincoln Lakeshore VQA

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An exceptional vintage and very low yields resulted in an end-of-September pick of this 100% Cabernet Franc estate fruit. The wine exhibits the concentration of a great vintage yet retaining a tremendous balance between the fruit, flavour definition, its medium-plus body and acidity reflecting its underlying cool climate terroir and the judicious picking date.

Colour of deep and saturated ruby.  Aromas and an intense palate of dark cherry, strawberry jam, rose blossom, eucalyptus, anise, leather and cedarwood. A long finish lifted by its refreshing acidity and supported by generous but ripe tannins. While the overall ripeness of the vintage is already providing great pleasure, this wine will benefit from continued bottle age and will show its best between 2025-35.

100% Cabernet Franc from clones 214 and 327, hand-picked on September 29, 2020 at 23.1 brix. A wild fermentation to fully dry and <2 g/L residual sugar and 13.0% alc./vol. 20-months élevage in neutral French barrels and bottled 4 July 2022 with a light filtration. 2 barrels, 48 cases made.

[Tasting note: 12 September 2023]

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Independent Wine Reviews

Tony Aspler, 2020 Cabernet Franc, (90 points): Deep purple-ruby in colour; high-toned, cedary, vanilla, plum and blackcurrant nose with a floral top note; medium-bodied, dry, firmly structured but elegant; great balance; fine spine of acidity and a saline note on the finish. (Tasted March, 2024)

Rick VanSickle, Wines in Niagara, 2020 Cabernet Franc (92 points): This 100% Cabernet Franc, clones 214 and 327, are from the Black Bank Hill estate vineyard. It was destemmed and crushed prior to wild fermentation with 20 months of élevage in multi-use French oak barrels. Pure unadulterated Niagara Cabernet Franc here with a savoury, bright and ripe array of brambly red berries, minty herbs, anise, dried cigar leaf and fine oak spices. It has structure and weight on the palate with earthy black raspberries, dark cherries, anise, herbs, leather and spice with a long, vibrant finish. Can cellar to 2032. (Tasted May 2024)

Louise Boutin, winecurrent.com, 2020 Cabernet Franc (93 points): I love Ontario cabernet franc and this one scores high on my deliciousness scale. Starting with the gorgeous nose of jalapeño mingling with ripe sweet black cherry, star anise, pipe tobacco, violet and the list goes on. There’s an excellent fruit concentration here—black cherry, purple plum—followed by the peppery/savoury character that gives so much complexity to this medium-full-bodied beauty matured 20 months in used French oak barrels. Expect powdery tannin astringency in the lovely peppery finish, perfect for a rare flank steak on the grill. This has room for further bottle maturation but is certainly hard to resist now. Aerate/decant one hour before dinner time. (Tasted May 2024)

David Lawrason, Wine Align, 2020 Cabernet Franc (89 points): This is a very tidy, elegant and nicely balanced cabernet franc with ripe raspberry fruit in this fine vintage, nicely sewn with tobacco, wood spice and vanilla. Very complete aromatics! It is medium weight, fairly dense and streamlined with fine sandpapery tannin, and a hint of sourness. The length is very good to excellent. Best 2025 to 2028. (Tasted May 2024)

Michael Godel, Wine Align, 2020 Cabernet Franc (90 points): Truly floral perky and cabernet franc for which perfume is extended and elevated by judicious use of wood. A good and useful representation of the Lincoln Lakeshore appellation (which is quite broad it needs saying) and Black
Bank Hill’s location is just about Beamsville. Vines are still quite young and so depth, concentration and experience are not quite there but there is likely
a good portion of purchased fruit in this 2020. The winemaking here is spot on, restrained and the attention to detail would make it seem like focus is also pretty good. The future is surely bright for the double B. Drink 2024-2026. Tasted May 2024. Value Rating: 4-stars