Stratus Cabernet Franc 2019 is a Canadian wine, a Cabernet Franc-led blend comprised of the following grapes – 31% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Petit Verdot, 4% Tannat, 3% Syrah and 2% Malbec. Cabernet Franc is often seen in blends, usually with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot like this one, because on its own it must be allowed to ripen fully to avoid green flavours and to allow the beautiful fruit and floral characteristics to develop. You might think that Canada therefore would not be the ideal place for Cabernet Franc – in fact, the Niagara Peninsula, home to the Canadian wine appellation Niagara Lakeshore for which this wine qualifies, is perfect as it is situated on the banks of Lake Ontario and its proximity to water means that high summer temperatures are reduced and that the ripening period for grapes is extended.
Stratus Cabernet Franc 2019 is bursting with fruit & floral aromas and the flavours are equally as complex. It tastes initially of red fruits like raspberries, ripe cherries with cassis and a touch of vanilla but as the wine opens up darker fruit flavours like blackberries and dark plums emerge along with liquorice, woody and black olive notes. The oak ageing has not been overdone, only 6% new oak is used. The tannins are smooth given that the Cabernet Franc content is higher than the Cabernet Sauvignon content and the crunchy red fruit flavours and the relatively high acidity in the wine give it a fresh long finish and the power to age further in bottle.
The wine-maker of Stratus Cabernet Franc 2019, J-L Groux, is from the Loire Valley originally and he’s become known as one of Niagara’s winemaking pioneers. His aim is for outstanding wines with “powerful aromatics, a round mouthfeel, complexity, significant length and the capability of aging at least seven to 10 years” which he has certainly achieved in this wine. Simplicity is the key – Stratus is a gravity flow winery, the first in the world to be LEED certified (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) and the wine is certified sustainable.
You could try Domaine Gayda’s Figure Libre for a luscious 100% Cabernet Franc wine.