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