Pure Art #PEC style by Norman Hardie

Norman Hardie.  Honestly that pretty well sums it up.


I opened his 2012 County Unfiltered Cabernet Franc the other night because, well, it was time, AND it was one of several NH wines I had stored and kept thinking about (read: dreaming about).  Man oh man did it deliver.

Before we talk about the vineyard itself lets talk about this liquid hedonism!

I opened it, and because I’m an impatient idiot, I immediately had a glass.  An admittedly dumb yet necessary educational idea.  It started out edgy and a bit too tart but Holy Mother of God after 30 minutes of breathing it unleashed a whole new world.  I hold great admiration for those who can time a proper decant – my timing was pure luck and I got busy lol.  I should have known better and probably did but, again, refer to idiot statement above.  It grew in flavour but softened in tartness and became this thing of beauty.  Sure, I’m partial to my home province and region but I really had no great love for Cabernet Franc.  That’s not to say I don’t like it, I quite like it but I am more a Pinot Noir devotee (and I have a couple of his in storage waiting for another year or two of depth).  It was a velvety-punchy kind of wine just as it should be, bold and adorably arrogant.  Every bit of pepper and plum hit all the right spots.

The only negative to this wine was that I had only one to open!

As it was unfiltered there was a dusting of sediment which added to the realness of artistry.  Anyway enough fawning about Hardie and his Cabernet Franc, let’s look at the story briefly….

Hardie has been in Prince Edward County since 2003 after essentially travelling the Pinot Noir world as an apprentice and is a certified sommelier.  Basically, he is to Burgundian-style wines what Iggy Pop is to punk.  As I understand it he has around 12,000 Pinot Noir vines, and not to take anything away from the Cabernet Franc but this is where the real gold is found.  His cool climate experience and knowledge has transferred to PEC and has proven itself over and over.  Oh, he also has a wood oven and pizzas onsite, but I’m afraid I don’t order my Pinots at pizzerias any more often than I order my pizza at vineyards (tho in fairness I’m told his pizzas are really good!)

Here is his little corner on the internets…..  www.normanhardie.com


Raven Conspiracy


This caught my eye at the LCBO (Ontario) at the end of an aisle.  One reason being its intriguing name and label (Poe fan here), but more importantly it was discounted!

Now, I am not a huge fan of blends.  I can’t tell you why, they just seem to confuse me, but this one was really, REALLY good.  It’s called Deep Dark, and that may be a bit of a stretch as it is lighter than similar blends that have been promoted as “Dark”.  I was never really sold on the Apothic Red/Dark thing – maybe on a very cold day in the winter I could be convinced, but I just found it way too heavy.  If I wanted heavy and dark I’d spring for an Amarone.  In any case, this wine is essentially like a wimpy Apothic Red/Dark – but in a very, very good way.

It took a bit of searching around but I did find that this wine is mirrored by another Deep Dark but made with British Columbia grown grapes as opposed to this one which is from the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario.  I’d be very curious to see how it compares.  I was scratching my head wondering who actually produced this wine as it was not to be found anywhere on the label.  It took a bit of digging online but I did find a reference to Peller (Niagara) having made the wine.  I really don’t know why that would not be apparent on the label but maybe that’s to build up the mysterious side, who knows.

Regardless, I will buy more as this was a super fun wine to taste, not sure why it’s discounted, maybe it’s reached its end of production but if you can get it, do so!  I expected far less from this bottle than it delivered.   This one I totally do not regret.

(Update: after speaking with the LCBO store I found out that this wine was not discounted across all stores, just the one I had visited as they were making shelf space by discounting wines that werent selling in their location).