Before I tell you why I exclaimed what I did, it is important to note how I acquired my 3 bottles of this Reserve. In the spring of 2006 I wondered into the Inniskillin winery, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where staff had just finished putting out a display of the last two cases of 2002 Cabernet Franc Reserve with one of those "Last of ..." signs on them. They were not offering any tasting of the wine, so knowledge of vintage and track record of the winery came into play when I bought my bottles. In hindsight I should have bought one of the last remaining cases (12 bottles) - but funds were tight and there are plenty of others wines to buy. Now back to why the exclaimation.
I should not in any way be surprised by this wine, I have tasted longer aged reds from Inniskillin before, most notably a Franc from the early 80's that fellow wine writer Konrad Ejbich provided. I am happy to report that this wine has that kind of staying power. The colour has just the slightest bit of bricking, but nothing to be concerned with. The nose is sweet and pleasant with sweet dried cherries, butterscotch, oak, tobacco, spices (clove and maybe some ginger), vanilla and a touch of alcohol. (it is 13.5%). As time progressed (say an hour or so) cassis, raisin and blackberry also came out. On the palate there was pepper, vanilla-oak, cinnamon, dusty tannins, some black fruits (berries and currants); and over that same length of time (about an hour) the cinnamon, oak and spice became the most dominant. All exceedingly pleasant and palate friendly. The finish was hard to put a finger on because there was so much happening, but as it lingered on the tongue, and well after the swallow, there was a spiced-candied-orange-peel-with-a-hint-of-vanilla taste. Yummy, even if you don't like orange peel. I have one bottle left so I must chose wisely when to open it - another few years won't hurt it though. And if I were to say anything else, it would be this: a wine like this is the best reason I can give as to why you should visit and shop directly at the winery ... finds like this one. Lost & Found rating: Real Treasure.