The 2006 vintage was challenging for red wines in Ontario to say the least. Some of you may recall my woes last year in trying to find decent red grapes for my homemade wine. Even Concord, typically a "champion" variety, was beset with much rot and underripeness, and some of the red hybrids I looked at weren't much better. Having said that, I still think that in poor vintages, talented hands can coax decent fruit from a vine - and if need be, talented winemakers can still craft wines that appear to bespeak more than the sum of their predicted parts.
So it is with the 2006 Baco Noir from Harbour Estate, a wine that surprises me on two major fronts. 11.5% alc./vol. Intense - I mean glass-staining - purple/ruby/magenta inky colour with near-total saturation at the core; very dark for such a challenging, wet and drab September (remember: Baco typically ripens mid-to-late September in Ontario). Very fine, youthful carbonation shows up as minuscule CO2 bubbles inside the glass. Hickory/V. riparia/plum/bramble nose with a faint whiff of volatility that reminds me of a certain Barbera I tried a few years back. More sweet wild-grape grassy notes emerge with swirling. Crisp and lively acidity and very fine texture on the mid-palate; a few degrees of residual sugar as well, and though I prefer complete dryness, it actually works here. This doesn't look or taste like a cold-vintage red. Supple and full on the palate; very food-friendly, juicy and refreshing. I don't pick up any oak from it. Exceptional balance; fine, diminutive tannins. Long hickory-smoke/leafy finish - typical Ontario Baco in an atypical vintage. I liked it, and it went great with homemade pizza.