by Zoltan Szabo

Equuleus is an iconic wine from an iconic Canadian winemaking family, the Boscs, of Chateau des Charmes. Good Food Revolution’s Zoltan Szabo was fortunate enough to attend a recent vertical tasting of Equuleus wines at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto lately and we are fortunate enough to have his notes to publish just in time for Canada Day. – Malcolm Jolley, Ed.

Paul Bosc Jr. led an information–packed seminar and tasting of several vintages of Chateau des Charmes’ flagship red, ‘Equuleus’; the glitzy Ritz Carlton provided space for this excellent session and wines made only in exceptional vintages.

Since its first vintage in 1988 and prior to 1998, this red was labeled ‘Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Cabernet’ and it was a blend of at least 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, with the addition of a small amount of Merlot, grapes coming from estate vineyard in St. David’s planted with vines in 1983 and 1984.

Equuleus is a constellation, the Latin term for ‘little horse’, one of the 88 constellations, the second smallest and also very faint, yet the wines showed the contrary and many are bright – shining examples of what this winery can produce when it comes to quality, some stellar wines, indeed.

The proprietary name is also indicating the passion of Paul Bosc Sr. and his family not only for wines and winemaking, but Egyptian Arabian horses, kept in a barn nearby the estate vineyard, hence manure is used to fertilize the soils.

My notes from this amazing tasting are as follows…

‘Equuleus’ by Chateau des Charmes, Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard, St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula

1991 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Cabernet – dried plums, chocolate, wet – fermenting tobacco; medium weight with acidity much alive, still; nuances of plums and dried morel lingering, along softened up tannins; it aged with grace, but not giving up yet.

1994 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Cabernet – sundried cherries, cassis, smoke – spice – mineral – barnyard; medium bodied with velvet tannins and earth – leaf notes on the finish.

1995 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Cabernet – kirsch, cassis, plums, black olive paste, soy and herbal, with underlying tobacco and leather; medium to full and well concentrated with juicy acidity and a kick of supple tannins on its long finish; years ahead of it.

2002 ‘Equuleus’ – black cherry, wet gravel, graphite; full and warm with no lack of freshness and a soft and dusty grip of tannins on the finish; delicious and drinking so very well now.

2005 ‘Equuleus’ – plums, herbal, earth – warm spice, tobacco and truffles; full and dry with lively tannins and sweet roots note on its finish; masculine; impressive; it got a southern Tuscan flair; testament of an age -worthy vintage.

2007 “Equuleus’ – cassis, black raspberry, beet root, lilac and violet, pine needle – mint; full with supple texture, integrated tannins and an excellent overall balance; it will age for 10 + years and will just benefit from it; due to more new Allier medium toast barrels used here, this vintage also shows a different style, compared to the previous ones, like a modern left bank Bordeaux meets Napa Valley; the best yet, in my view. ($32.70 – LCBO# 319525)

2010 ‘Equuleus’ – barrel samples of wine aged in 100% new Allier medium toast + , medium toast and 3 years old medium toast + barriques; blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested at 25 brix average; similar to the 2007, yet its fruitier – fleshier and with softer tannic composition; another great wine in the making.

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