Ravine Vineyard 2016 Sand & Gravel Cabernet Franc

Article by Thomas Reid

I appreciate the apprehension of buying the unknown, preferring instead to go back to your old faithful. And yes, you’ll always have your local liquor store to duck out to in a pinch, but it might be time to break away from your old wine buying habits. We live in a world class wine region, and it deserves to be explored and enjoyed! To ease your mind, wineries encourage tasting the wine before you purchase it – unlike the LCBO.

This week’s wine comes from Ravine Vineyard in sunny St Davids, ON. Almost equal driving distance (15 mins) from downtown St Catharines, old town Niagara-on-the-lake and Lundy’s Lane in Niagara Falls sits perhaps one of Niagara’s best kept secrets.


You may have seen wine from Ravine in the LCBO in years past, but no longer. Now the only place to buy wine from Ravine is at the winery on St Davids bench. This family owned and operated property has deep roots in the area. The Lowrey family purchased the farm in 1867 and has been farming on the land ever since. They seem to have decided to bottle that history, in addition to the wine, in the form of sauces, preserves and cider under the Lowrey Bros label.


With the chill in the air lately, and the promise of (gulp!) Christmas on the horizon, I have chosen Ravine’s 2016 Sand & Gravel Cabernet Franc. Truthfully there were several great options (all priced at $18.95) to choose from, both a Bordeaux style red blend (Redcoat) and a quirky blend of white varietals (York Rd) along with several other very approachable single varietals.

The 2016 Sand & Gravel Cabernet Franc is a lighter body than you’d normally expect from this varietal, however that is part of what makes it noteworthy and effortlessly quaffable. It is undoubtable youthful, not typically worth trumpeting when talking reds, but it’s not overly tannic nor harsh. Instead it’s youth is found in lighter medium body and fruit forward palate. On the nose you get aromas of cranberry, blackberry and Christmas spice (I did mention it had me thinking Christmas!).


The 2016 Sand & Gravel Cabernet Franc may not be up to pairing with your Sunday roast lamb or hearty beef stew, but would be perfectly at home with a roasted vegetable pasta, homemade pizza with fennel sausage or even your Christmas turkey with cranberry sauce. I know, I hear it, too soon!

The rundown

Ravine 2016 Sand & Gravel Cabernet Franc ($18.95)

  • Brix: Average of 22.6
  • Acidity: 5.6 g/l
  • Alcohol: 12.5%
  • Aging: French oak for 10 months

Website ravinevineyard.com

Location 1366 York Rd, St. Davids, ON L0S 1P0