Located on the Niagara Escarpment right near Vineland, Ontario, Kacaba Vineyards & Winery has been focusing on small-batch wines since Michael Kacaba purchased the property in 1997.
Most of the wines produced by Kacaba are hand-crafted — there’s little work to be done by big machinery. From the picking of the grapes to the winemaking process from top to bottom, these people-powered wines reflect the care and attention provided by winemaker John Tummon and his team.
And while Ontario’s Niagara region in general is best-known for cooler-climate red and white grape varieties, Kacaba has excelled at producing bigger reds from their Niagara Escarpment property — most notably Syrah. The vineyards feature Ontario’s oldest Syrah plantings, which go into a number of bottlings of the grape, including the 2011 Proprietor’s Select Syrah and the 2011 Terrace Vineyard Syrah. They’re wines that tip the hat to the best the Rhône Valley has to offer – earthy complexity and just the right balance of ripe fruit and herbal notes.
But Kacaba is far from a one-trick pony when it comes to reds — the winery also does plenty of good work with Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The Niagara Escarpment Bench drains away frost, which is warmed by Lake Ontario and returned to moderate what would otherwise be cooler evening temperatures. This results in decidedly ripe fruit in these big but balanced, elegant wines such as the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon.
On the white wine side of things, wines such as the 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay, the 2013 Reserve Riesling and the 2013 Susan’s Sauvignon Blanc highlight the winery’s ability to make elegant, fresh whites using the cooler-climate attributes of the property as well as gentle, restrained winemaking, allowing varietal purity and fresh fruit flavours to shine through unencumbered by excessive oak or manipulation.
Kacaba Vineyards is our featured winery this month in the Wine Club! Join here and you’ll receive fantastic wine from this winery – right to your door!
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson.