Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mission Hill; everyone deserves another chance

So, full disclosure, we intended to go to Mission Hill during our Okanagan wine tour a couple weeks ago, but we missed the turn. It worked out OK, as we ended up coming across Volcanic Hills and Mt. Boucherie, two wineries we had never visited, and found some good wines.

Still, I do intend to go back to Mission Hill next time we are up there. It worked out pretty good, as Sardis Park VQA featured Mission Hill last Saturday, so I got to do a little tasting.

I've been hard on Mission Hill in the past; basically because they are so huge and well known and I really didn't like their wine - with the notable exception of their Select Lot Collection Merlot, which, when properly aged, is outstanding - so I rated them accordingly. In the last year or so I've heard a lot of good things about how their wine has improved (even from some others who were not wild about them), and everyone deserves a second chance, so I was looking forward to this tasting.

Their Martin's Lane 2011 Pinot Noir was recently named Best Pinot Noir (under 15 GBP) in the world, but that's only available at the winery and wouldn't be tasted here. Still, that's an impressive award.

2010 S.L.C. Sauvignon Blanc

A very fruity nose, tiny hints of grapefruit, kiwi and passion fruit. The palate is full bodied and rich, very fruity as well, and a very balanced acidity. Sauvignon Blanc is not usually my favorite, but this one is outstanding.

Rating: 86

2011 Reserve Chardonnay

Again, very fruity, with lots of citrus mingling with a touch of coconut. Not the big buttery Chardonnay that I love but very well done, and very tasty.

Rating: 83

2010 Reserve Viognier

The nose might experience some green apple notes with some honey and flowers as well. Your palate will be rewarded with some apple and a touch of ginger and spice. Very nice.

Rating: 82

2011 Reserve Pinot Noir

Black cherry and raspberry on the nose, with a slight touch of minerality on the palate that you don't often get in a Pinot Noir. Also very fruit forward.

Rating: 80

2010 Reserve Shiraz

Intense aromas of dark berries with a touch of pepper waft over the nose invitingly. Full bodied, the cherry flavor really comes through with just the right amount of spice. At $22.99, an excellent value for a quality Shiraz.

Rating: 83

Pleasantly surprised, and kudos to Mission Hill for completely changing my opinion of their portfolio, at least this portion of it. Ironically, their winemaker just jumped across the street to Quails' Gate, so it will be interesting to chart the progress of these two big wineries as their 2013 and future vintages are released.

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