Have you tasted wines made from the Cabernet Libre grape? If not, you can have a chance if you buy a bottle from Enrico Winery on south Vancouver Island. Cabernet Libre is a hybrid developed by Valentin Blattner in Germany by crossing Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. This hybrid, and Blattner’s other hybrids, are developed to be disease resistant for cooler climate regions like we have on Vancouver Island. I tried two red wines from Enrico Winery, their Braveheart Cabernet Libre 2017 and their King’s Council Reserve Vintner’s Blend 2018. I noticed that the Reserve label has gold lettering on it while the non-Reserve has silver lettering. A subtle way to differentiate wine tiers.
If you are interested in Enrico Winery’s white wines, I wrote about their Petite Milo and Ortega wines at this link.
Enrico’s winemaker is Daniel Cosman, also makes wine at Unsworth Vineyards, which is located on Vancouver Island. I read that Daniel was the person that started planting Blattner hybrid grapes for Unsworth and I assume he is also the driving force for the Blattner hybrid grapes planted for Enrico Winery as well. The grapes do appear to be doing well on Vancouver Island.
My Tasting Notes
Enrico Winery Braveheart Cabernet Libre 2017 (BC $24) – I think that this bottle had a slight cork taint to it, as there was a bit of mustiness of baked potato aroma to it on the nose, with a little on the palate as well. With decanting the musty baked potato aroma/flavour did decrease but did not totally go away. That being said, the slightness of the cork taint did not reduce the overall fruit aromas and flavours in this wine. When cork taint is strong, fruit aromas and flavours of a wine become very dull and muted. I did not put the taint details in my notes below, but even with the taint, I enjoyed this wine.
This wine has a deep, about 90% opaque ruby colour from the core to the rim. It has a medium minus intensity nose showing sweet spices, red fruits and a touch of oak. With swirling I also picked up toasty oak and liquorice. These aromas persisted with decanting. This wine is dry with lower acidity and silky, soft tannins. Fuller bodied. You get flavours of plums and red cherries, with touches of floral, leather, vanilla and minerality. With a bit of air you also get ripe black fruit flavours. With decanting there were more black fruit flavours. A medium length with a soft finish. Cherries and plum flavours along with some sweet spices. I prefer this wine with decanting as it brought out more of the black fruit flavours. I think this wine would work well to enjoy with pate or grilled burgers.
Rating: – with decanting. A light intensity nose with red fruit and toast aromas. It is silky smooth with lower acidity. Plums, red cherries, sweet spices, and leather flavours. A soft finish.
Enrico Winery King’s Council Reserve Vintner’s Blend 2018 (BC $28.50) – is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20% Syrah, and 20% Malbec. It has a deep mix of ruby and garnet colour in the glass, but is still translucent to the core. It has a very light intensity nose, with hints of red cherries, sweet spices, vanilla and chocolate. With decanting the aromas stay the same. It would be nice if the aromas were a bit stronger. This wine has a medium plus body, with a semi-round, thicker mouthfeel. Medium acidity and fine tannins. Plums and ripe cherries primarily but you also get a touch of ripe raspberries and floral violets. With decanting nutmeg spice is prominent along with some milk chocolate and black fruit flavours, and there is less floral. It has a medium length finishing with red cherries, plums and milk chocolate flavours, and some drying tannins. With decanting there is some black fruit flavours as well on the finish. An elegant wine. I prefer the undecanted wine better as I enjoy the floral and raspberry flavours in the just opened bottle. With the winter upon us, you may want to try this wine with a stew or a steak pie.
Rating: Very light aromas of red cherries, sweet spices and a hint of chocolate. It has a bigger, thick and round mouthfeel, with plums, ripe cherries and raspberry flavours. Plus a touch of floral, and milk chocolate on the finish. Medium fine tannins.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
You can purchase these wines directly from the winery through their website. I’ve been told that these wines are readily available at most Liquor Retail Stores across Vancouver Island. Other private wine shops across mainland BC may carry these wines, but you need to ask.