Peller Estates 2010 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Review

No discussion of the rising global profile of the Canadian wine industry is complete without a review of Andrew Peller Limited (formerly Andrés Wines Ltd.) and the Peller Estates brand.

Located in the Niagara River sub appellation of the Niagara Peninsular vticultural area the Peller Estates brand, in contrast to its sibling premium brands (within the Andrew Peller portfolio) which range from Hillebrand and Sandhill to Calona Vineyards and Thirty Bench, is decidedly more commercial in flavour and as a result has the highest name recognition amongst the population of leisure wine drinking consumers rather than the snob factor amongst the community of critics and oenophiles.

In time, that may change. Consider that it is time’s inevitability that will answer the question of whether climate change is an irresistible force that will forever change the traditional strength of the Peller Estates portfolio –icewine—to a new strength: full bodied cabernet sauvignon.

Does the 2010 vintage of the Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon signify a shift from sweet to serious?

Perhaps for there is a noticeable trend as the strong 2007 vintage showed. That foreshadowed a step in the “don`t forget that our red wine is really good too” direction and the 2010 has many of the same characteristics: an enticing bouquet, mouth filling taste, tannis that are drying rather than overwhelming with an additional characteristic of fruit forward flavours (that are not over-ripe) underscored by an oak tinge thanks to a year of aging (40% of the time in French and 60% of the time in American oak barrels).

Traditionally the championship calibre reds of the Andrew Peller portfolio have hailed from limited production by the likes of Thirty Bench – known for its exclusive “Small Lot Reds” and meticulous meritage style “Thirty Bench Red”—but now, under Lawrence Buhler’s guidance, the 2010 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a worthy contender that should be taken as seriously in the fight for the consumer’s wine dollar.

Peller Estates understands the importance of the brand experience: from welcoming hosts when guests enter; approachable and accessible tours in California style vineyards; well stocked sophisticated stores; Zagat rated dining; knowledgeable sommeliers; and enticing loyalty programs. But the main ingredient – what serious drinkers thought of its reds—was arguably missing in the past but perhaps not anymore.

The 2010 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is worth a second look and many tastings for the collector who has space for bold Canadian reds. We hope that it is the continuation of a positive trend.

Sukasa Stars: 9.0 out of 10
Style: Reminiscent of late 80s – early 90s Napa Valley before that region's global hype
Food match: Barbeque, tri-tip steak, beef stew, medium cheddar
Recommended serving: 17-18 degrees Celcius
Drink now or cellar till 2018


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