Thursday, July 17, 2014

Desert Hills is our next stop in Epic Wine Tour '14 (TM)

Another winery where the customer service was off the charts. Randy Toor, one of the owners, took excellent care of us, and numerous other tasters, in a very busy tasting room. Let's see how the wines stack up.

2012 Pinot Gris ($19.90)

Pears, apple, and melon on the nose and palate. A slight hint of minerality on the lovely finish. 87.

2013 Unoaked Chardonnay ($17.90)

Maybe the best Unoaked version of this varietal coming out of BC right now. Citrus fruits, apples, and a beautifully long finish. 88.

2013 Cactus White ($16.90)

Viognier, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. Try finding THAT combination elsewhere. Pineapple, herbs and a touch of pear and minerals. Very nice. 89.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc ($18.90)

Crisp fruit flavors with a medium finish. Has aged well. 87.

2013 Gewürztraminer ($22.90)

Recently awarded "white wine of the year" at the 2014 All-Canadian Wine Championship for a reason. Some spice and roses on the nose, with lychee and citrus fruits on the palate. One of the best of this varietal. 89.

2013 Helena Rosé ($19.90)

Strawberries, grapefruit and rhubarb on the nose and palate. Very slightly off-dry. 86.

2013 Gamay ($19.90)

Black cherry and a slight touch of cinnamon on the nose. Cherries and earth on the palate. Gamay is just not my thing, but this one is drinkable. 80.

2010 Merlot ($24.90)

Black cherries and cassis on the nose and palate, with a bit of vanilla and some cloves on the finish. Full bodied and smooth. Will improve with some more bottle time. 85.

2009 Syrah ($36.90)

Dark berries, raspberry jam and a bit of earth make this a lovely, complex Syrah. Finishes with a bit of spice, chocolate, and vanilla. Beautiful now and a few more years will really make it special. 90.

During the tasting I mention to Randy that I'm not a Malbec guy; I've never found a BC Malbec that I enjoyed. He instructs me to go over and get a bottle of his Malbec, and opens it up for a special taste. Not on the regular tasting menu.

2011 Malbec ($34.90)

Strong notes of coffee mixed with berries on the nose, jammy berries on a long finish. Silky. Not enough to make me a Malbec fan, but my favorite so far by far. 87.

2009 Mirage ($36.90)

Their signature Bordeaux blend. The nose might get some vanilla, cassis, and plums. Those flavors carry through to the palate, where a hint of tobacco, chocolate and licorice joins the party. Will improve with a bit more time, but already drinking well. 90.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.90)

Cassis and a hint of mint on the nose. Berries and black currants on the palate, with a silky mouth feel and long finish. 87.

Ambassador Port ($49.90)

Coffee and dark chocolate dominate the nose and palate. If you like Port-styled wines, you will love this. 85.

This wasn't being tasted at the winery as it was very limited, but I took a chance and bought one and enjoyed it a few days ago:

2010 Zinfandel ($39.90)

Berries on the nose and palate, with lots of blackberry jam that this varietal often exhibits. 85.

Another very successful tasting experience, not a bad wine amongst them, and some that were truly special. We've already enjoyed the two bottles we bought (Zin, Gewürztraminer), giving us extra motivation to go back on our next visit!

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