The focus of our recent trip to the Okanagan was to visit two of our favorite wineries - Quails' Gate and Cedarcreek - for special events. First up, our Saturday night Starry Nights dinner at Cedarcreek. We went there a couple hours before dinner to hit the tasting room, which is an excellent, well-organized room with knowledgeable staff.
There is a tasting fee but as they knew we were heading to the dinner they did not charge us. We tasted four wines each for a total of eight but at some point we must have lost track as I have notes on nine. We also got the wines in a particular order, to taste some together (ie the Merlot opposite the Platinum Merlot) and really compare.
Fruity with the minerality you expect from a BC Riesling, and notes of green apple on the palate. Off-dry and very nice, one of my favorite BC Rieslings.
Fruity with notes of peaches and nectarines on the nose. Pears are the main flavor on the palate. Of all the wines we tasted here, this is the ONLY one I wasn't crazy about.
2011 Platinum Block 5 Chardonnay
Oaked 10 months but the oak comes through very lightly; minerality on the nose and light and fruity on the palate.
2010 Pinot Noir
Cherries greet your nose and continue to the palate where they are met with some raspberry. Tannins are slightly firm, suggesting another year or two in the bottle would improve what is an already drinkable wine.
2010 Platinum Home Block Pinot Noir
Stunning nose of berries, plum and violets tell you that you are in for a treat; and they are right. The berries really shine through on the palate which finishes long and silky. Terrific now but put it away for a little while and you will have a special bottle of wine. A good value at $39.95.
Put your nose into a glass of this and you can be forgiven if you think you've just slid your nose into a jar of strawberry jam. You'll get raspberries, not strawberries, on the palate though. A terrific entry level Merlot that is ready to go right now and is only $19.95.
2009 Platinum Merlot
Oh my. This makes the above Merlot taste like Baby Duck (not really, it's just an analogy). Beautiful aromas of berries and mocha. Beautiful flavors of plums, chocolate and just a hint of pepper. Beautiful long finish and silky tannins. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
2010 Shiraz Cabernet
78% Shiraz, 18% Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% delicious. The nose brings you currants, your palate might taste some cherries, vanilla and a touch of pepper. An absolute steal at only $22.99.
2008 Platinum Syrah
Mocha and pepper greet your nose, and the mocha is joined by some vanilla flavors on the palate. Smooth and silky and a treat to drink now, and would only improve with some more time in the bottle.
And after the tasting, we hit the hotel, changed for dinner, and were treated to some more special tastings:
2011 Platinum Block 2 and Platinum Block 4 Pinot Noir
What's that? Two Pinot Noirs? Yes, and they were so different that it's almost inconceivable that they are the same grape, same vintage, and grown only about 100 yards apart. In the past, they had combined these into one great Pinot, but for the 2011 vintage (which has not yet been released, we got a sneak peek), they kept them separate and made two great wines.
The Block 2 wine was incredibly floral, silky, smooth, and a great drink right now.
Block 4 was a bigger Pinot; sharper tannins, more raspberry flavors, and it was OK now but needs more time in the bottle.
I much preferred the Block 2 wine to drink right now, but I have a feeling, and I could be wrong, that the Block 4 will be a better drink after some aging. I'll be getting some of these once they are released so I'll let you know!
For now, however:
Block 2 rating: 88
Block 4 rating: 84
2001 Platinum Merlot
Yeah that is not a typo; they pulled out a bottle of 12 year old Merlot from the library. There was one pretty big problem with this wine; it wasn't for sale!! They only have a few more bottles left and wouldn't let us take any home, which was probably a good idea as I imagine it would have been a battle royal to decide who got them. I've used the word "smooth" to describe some of the other wines above, but this took smooth to a whole new level. Beautiful berry flavor with a hint of vanilla. Absolutely spectacular.
2001 Platinum M
Regular readers of my wine blog have seen my previous posts on this Madeira-style wine, which was a 2004 vintage. This one was served with dessert and was excellent, although I couldn't really tell any difference between this one and my 2004.
Truly a special evening and a lot of fun, hosted by winery President Gordon Fitzpatrick. Definitely a "must-visit" winery for all Kelowna trips.