Think back nine years. Having trouble? Let me help you. In 1999 Southbrook Winery resided quite happily at 1061 Major Mackenzie Drive just north of Toronto; they had been a winery for 8 years (at that location) and their winemaker was Derek Barnett (now with Lailey Vineyard). They did not grow any of their own grapes here; they bought their grapes from Niagara Vineyards, in this case Lailey, and made the wine in the former cow barn at the property in Maple. I bought this bottle back when I was a budding eonophile; Southbrook still had that (sound astonished) “a quality winery north of Toronto” cache. The guy behind the counter said, “It’s big and It’ll age a long time.”
That’s enough history, let’s fast forward to now. I found this bottle of ’99 Franc on a rack and decided I best drink it now – boy was I wrong, still too early … yes it’s drinking very nicely now but I think another few years would do this wine lots of good. I started by pouring it right out of the bottle; unfiltered bits and pieces fell into my glass. Looking at the wine as it cascaded into the glass, I could see that the colour was still dark, the smells were smoky, woodsy and had a hint of cherry licorice, the taste was all-woodsy and black fruited.
I then decided to filter and decant, what a difference: black licorice, spicy nuances and some green pepper on the nose. The taste was even better: black fruit, a bit of cedar, cinnamon, herbs, a bit of something spicy and hints of charred green pepper fresh off the bbq. The decanting smoothed this one out and made it even better then it originally seemed – and boy is it rich and flavourful … best of all it still has plenty of years left, I’d say 3 years or more. Wonderful. Lost & Found rating: Major Treasure ... and getting better.