Stratus is a rather high-end winery in Ontario's Niagara Peninsula area, at least to judge by their prices and modern, fashion-conscious tasting room out on the vine-laden flats between the QEW expressway and Niagara-on-the-Lake. I picked up a bottle of their 2007 Cabernet Franc while tasting there a few years back, and we had it this Christmas with our traditional vegetarian Christmas dish of Chiles en Nogada --- a vegetarian modification of the Mexican recipe, made of Poblano chiles stuffed with a tofu, tomato, onion, raisin and spice mixture and topped with a cream and ground walnut sauce and pomegranate.
Someplace Hugh Johnson (I think) says that there are two main ways to get a great wine and food pairing: a brilliant contrast in which each sets the other off, and an echoing in which the two are similar, yet different, for a total experience more complex than either one separately. This was indeed a great pairing, mostly of the second kind, with the spiciness and slight grassy or vegetal elements characteristic of Cab Franc echoing the Poblano pepper. Good strong fruit flavors too, and medium-grained tannins. A very balanced wine, but fairly full-bodied, reminscent of a good Bourgeuil like the Domaine de la Chanteleuserie "Alouette" but with some aspects more like an excellent Bordeaux: it seemed a bit on the smooth and elegant side for a Cabernet Franc, but with no lack of flavor. Tannins seeming to get more pronounced as the meal went on, fairly grippy on the finish, which is fairly long perhaps due to the tannins sticking the flavorsome stuff to the tongue. Not obnoxiously tannic, though. Still I'd guess this wine, though delicious and somewhat evolved now, has 3-8 more years of beneficial evolution in store. Unfortunately I only bought one bottle---I recall it was fairly pricey (retail price was listed as $38 on release but I think it was on sale for less at the winery).
If one has to numerically rate it, perhaps a 8.5 or 9 on my 10 point scale that goes to 11, maybe 89 Parkeresque points. Great stuff, anyway...an unfortunate example of fairly expensive wine for which I know no cheaper substitute with quite the same qualities, though the Chanteleuserie comes close. One of quite a few superlative Ontario wines I've had the pleasure of drinking this year... more on the others anon.
Good as this wine was, my wife's Chiles en Nogada were, as usual, the true pièce de résistance of the meal. Dessert was pampepato, served with the 2005 Sauternes from Chateau Suau. I've had several 375ml bottles of this, a couple of them somewhat disappointing after an initially fabulous experience...this one seemed back to form, with pineapple, cotton candy, and a little bit of burnt sugar flavors. The overall format seemed relatively low-acid, not super-crisp, nor super-complex beyond the abovementioned flavors, but nonetheless fairly fresh-tasting. Quite sweet, but not quite to the point of seeming syrupy.