2006 Cave Spring Cellars Indian Summer Select Late Harvest Riesling Niagara Peninsula


Cave Spring Cellars is arguably one of Canada’s top four or five Riesling producers. Wines like the 2006 Summer Select Late Harvest Riesling drive that point home. Located in the postcard-pretty town of Jordan, Ontario, Cave Spring Cellars is run by siblings Len and Tom Pennacchetti along with winemaker Angelo Pavan. Len and Angelo are childhood buddies. Their friendship eventually led them down the winemaking path together.

Cave Spring Cellars fashions a slew of different Rieslings. None is more interesting than the Indian Summer bottling, made when the late fall season in Niagara allows. In 2006, there were multiple picks between December 8 and January 16, 2007. Grapes averaged 30.0 Brix, so they were just about frozen. Importantly, the early winter of 2006 did not have much in the way of temperature fluctuations, so that the bunches hung out well on the vines with only minor skin breakdown. As the semi-frozen grapes for the Indian Summer Riesling don’t quite reach the Brix level required to make Icewines (made from wholly frozen grapes), the Indian Summer Riesling, though sweet, is always less rich and unctuous than an Icewine.

The 2006 Cave Spring Cellars Indian Summer Select Late Harvest Riesling Niagara Peninsula is still a knockout today, showcasing just how well Ontario Riesling can age. It boasts gorgeous, deep aromas and flavors of honey, dried apricot, raisins and cinnamon, plus laser-like acidity, all combining to offer a rich but racy taste experience. Differently from recent vintages that have all made with Lincoln Lakeshore fruit (Myers vineyard), in 2006 about 30% of the Riesling grapes were picked from Cave Spring’s Beamsville Bench vineyard, which in my mind contributes to a slightly more vertical mouthfeel than I find in more modern, but still outstanding, vintages of this wine. 91/Drink: 2017-2020