Friday, January 19, 2018

2017 Castel "Ohhh my...."

So the 2017 Castel wine was finished and sitting for a few months now. Its remarkable how much it changes in such a short period of time and while the changes are rapid in the first few months, after about 6 months the changes slow but they do continue. Already this wine is nice and you can see how its developing very well. 

Castel has a very distinct and interesting flavour and if you haven’t tried it (chances are you haven’t as its quite rare) its really worth tracking some down. It has strong blackberry and ripe plum flavours, coffee – very different than the Kuhlman Hybrids (Foch, Millot). Kuhlmans are stronger on the cherry, strawberry fruit and this is more towards the Baco Noir spectrum or flavour. There is also a distinctive woody-earthy flavour that I have not found in any other wine and it stands out and really makes Castel special. I have noticed a very, very, slight hint of this same flavour in some Pinotage which has some similar pedigree.

The Aromas include plum, fresh tobacco, coffee, spring forest. Definitely more complex than many other hybrids and the wine is inky dark red.

So for 2017 we had a very unusual growing year with 3 months of drought that started June 14th and ended September 15th. The grapes developed smaller than usual, flavour on the vine were strong, and the sugars were exceptional with Brix around 26 for Castel and lower malic acid than usual.

We just sampled some of the 2017 Castel vintage to see how its doing and have just blended it with a little Leon Millot. In the glass again inky dark red with slightest purple hue – not blue typical of hybrids. As soon as you bring it to your nose you can recognise how nice this wine is…the aromas are strong and inviting and typical for Castel. The taste is even better, I’m expecting a alcohol blast as its at about 13.5-14% but no. Reaction - “ohhh my…”. Think the unusual hot and dry year has had a positive impact.

Of course, like Art, everyone’s tastes are different. I’ve always really liked Castel and this is a good example.  Best ones I’ve had come from Nova Scotia. Gaspereau Vineyards and Domaine De Grande Pre Winery make wonderful Castel wine.