at the winery and the LCBO
(Re-Tasted October 2011) ... I really delved into old Ontario wines this night, and was rewarded handsomely on both occasions. The first was this Hillebrand flagship Trius Red that I was enthralled with upon its release and had visions in my head of it lasting a decade or more, which is why I ended up with 12 in my cellar. Earlier in the day I ended up going to the Hillebrand futures tasting where I got a chance to try the next in the great line of Trius Red (2010) and an older version (2007). The folks I was with were unimpressed with the '07 and once I got a chance to taste it began to worry myself - could this wine really be over the hill so soon? The wine was lean and uninteresting and dare I say a little weedy. This tasting prompted me to open one of my own bottles and give it a try. The good news is that the wine is fine, and what we tasted in the afternoon was a funky bottle that was not caught by winery staff as being off - bottle variation does occur. The nose is still loaded with all kinds of goodness: anise, blackberry, vanilla, cinnamon, pencil shavings and a touch of oak for enhancement of aromas. The taste is pleasant doling out cassis and blackberry along with anise and vanilla-oak. For those of you still with bottles in your cellar have no fear, but I think you should open a couple just to get a feel for this wine and how it is ageing ... very nicely I might add.
For many people the Hillebrand Trius Red has been the pinnacle of red wines in Ontario. The first of this blend was made by J.L. Groux, a master of the blend, who moved his assemblage skills just down the road from his former employer. After J.L. left, Hillebrand offered the winemaker’s gig to a guy whose previous work experience included wineries in New Zealand, Australia, and a couple here in Ontario. He was just about to pack up the family and head back home when Hillebrand knocked on his door … he decided to stay and good thing for all of us he did. Darryl Brooker’s time at Hillebrand has brought a renaissance to that winery. Instead of boring you with the history, let's get right down to Darryl’s newest creation of this J.L. favourite. The 2007 vintage has been termed by Daryl as "the best vintage I've ever seen". From it he has created a Trius Red that truly should stand the test of time. A blend of Cabernet Franc (44%), Cabernet Sauvignon (32%) and Merlot (24%), this one really shows the brilliance of the 2007 fruit enhanced by good wine making practices. A nose loaded with black cherry, cinnamon, spice, vanilla, raspberry and plenty more. Some might call this wine too tight or too young - and while there is some truth to that, it still exhibits plenty of aromas; it’s on the palate that this wine is not quite ready to express itself. There's blackberries, red berries, spice, licorice and a touch of mocha/coffee that resides on the tongue at this time, with more to come. You'll also notice the stunning color, which is what first drew my attention to this wine back in the fall. Fruit forward, fresh and lively - all terms you could use right now and it's only going to get better. For the past ten years this wine has been a bargain in $19.95 … this year we’ll see it’s first increase, a measily two bucks, which might seem a tough swallow in these times, but the wine certainly isn’t; even at $21.95, this wine is a bargain and you’ll feel you stole this one from them when you’re drinking it in 2019. Price: $21.95 – Rating: *****