Saturday, June 18, 2016

Okanagan Trip continues and the Hills have turned Black with the blood of everyone who makes lousy wine....

....OK was that a bit morbid?? I stand by it. worries about lousy wine here! Their portfolio is universally excellent and we enjoyed an excellent tasting experience as always.

Black Hills 2014 Alibi ($21.65)

Traditional White Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Pleasing aromas of grapefruit and tropical fruit. Flavors of green apple, pineapple and a touch of grapefruit. Lovely long finish. 88.

Black Hills 2014 Viognier ($21.65)

Aromas of white flowers, lime zest and pineapple. Oily and rich mouthfeel with enticing flavors of orchard fruits and slate. Really terrific. 91.

Black Hills 2014 Chardonnay ($26.00)

Intoxicating aromas of hazelnut, tropical fruit, apple and butterscotch. Luscious mouthfeel and a long beautiful finish. Flavors of citrus and red apple with just a smidgen of buttery notes. My favorite vintage of this varietal already and some more time in the bottle will only enrich it's complexity. 92.

Black Hills 2014 Carmenere ($49.50)

Their most limited-production wine, available only to wine club members. Beautiful scents of black pepper and raspberry. The palate gets some pepper too but it seems to turn more to white pepper, joined by some black plum, spice and earth. As with the Chardonnay, my favorite vintage of this varietal. Spectacular. 93.

The other two reds we tasted (2013 Syrah, 2013 Nota Bene) were both reviewed previously here, in October. My opinion has not changed much except to say that the Syrah has improved markedly with the extra time. Both are top-notch wines.

Next up, the Okanagan trip continues at a winery so different than this one; Black Hills features a fairly small portfolio, and next we head to some more Hills, Desert Hills, where we taste a whopping FOURTEEN different wines!

Okanagan Trip Continues at Upper Bench Winery and Creamery

Was totally unfamiliar with these guys but they are known for their wine AND their cheese....and the cheese we sampled was delicious.

Upper Bench 2014 Riesling ($22.00)

Aromas of slate and green apple give way to juicy flavors of red apple and pear with impressive minerality. 88.

Upper Bench 2014 Chardonnay ($25.00)

Aromas of hazelnut, butterscotch and toffee. The palate finds some notes of peach and hazelnut. Goes through no malolactic fermentation, but has some of the big, bold, buttery characteristics that Chardonnay can exhibit despite that fact. 88.

Upper Bench 2014 Zweigelt ($25.00)

Am I the only one that thinks Zweigelt sounds more like an Eastern European military strategy than a grape? "The Germans rolled their tanks into Italy and then ZWEIGELT!!!!". Anyway, this rare varietal in BC features pleasant aromas of chocolate and roses. Hints of blueberry, cedar and blackberry on the palate. Juicy. 88.

Upper Bench 2013 Pinot Noir ($28.00)

The nose will experience some red and black berries, with some earthiness and leathery qualities. Red fruit, herbaceous notes and just a touch of spice on the palate. 89.

Upper Bench 2013 Four Shadows Merlot ($30.50)

Blackberry, black cherry, vanilla and dark chocolate on the nose and palate. Full-bodied and finishes long. 89.

We enjoyed our tasting here, which was our last of day 1, and left with a bottle of Blitzkreig, er, I mean Zweigelt and some cheese. We will be back here for sure.

Next up! After some pool and hot tub time, and a good sleep, day 2 begins with a huge tasting at Black Hills!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Okanagan wine trip continues at Terry Taylor winery

90% of you totally won't get the joke there, but 10 of you are laughing your asses off.

Who is Terry Taylor? A moderately talented professional wrestler from the 1980's era who was told to put his hair into a painted-red Mohawk, wear a red outfit, walk to the ring strutting his head like an idiot and call himself the Red Rooster.

And someone in the business actually thought this was a good idea. Someone actually thought this would be a character that wrestling fans would care about. Someone thought this character would make money. Sweet Jesus.

The same company that churned out mega-stars like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, brought you this travesty.

Just goes to show you, they ain't all good ideas.

Anyway, we arrived at Terry Taylor, er, Red Rooster winery just as they were closing, but the employee there was good enough to take us through a complete tasting of a lot of their reserve-level wines.

Terry Taylor.....Red Rooster 2015 Reserve Rose ($19.00)

A blend of Syrah, Malbec, Mouvedre, Grenache and Petit Verdot. Strawberry, rhubarb and watermelon on the nose. Red berries, red cherries and rhubarb on the palate. Very dry. 86.

Red Rooster 2013 Reserve Pinot Gris ($19.00)

Floral notes mingle with some peach, apple and melon aromas. The palate is intense with beautiful red apple flavors; I'd almost go so far as to say it reminds me of apple juice without the sweetness. 88.

Red Rooster 2014 Reserve Viognier ($19.00)

Melon, apricot and orange blossoms on the nose. Tropical and orchard fruits intertwine on the palate, leading to a finish with just a touch of spiciness. Really nice. 89.

Red Rooster 2013 Reserve Meritage ($21.75)

39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 7% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot

The nose exhibits some smokiness to go with the aromas of leather and black fruit. The fruit continues through to the palate where a bit of earthiness, cocoa and spice come along for the ride. Long finish. A really good bargain for the money. 90.

Red Rooster 2013 Reserve Syrah ($26.00)

Intense aromas of leather, tobacco, black pepper, black cherry and plum. Full-bodied with a beautiful rich mouthfeel. Long and lingering finish with hints of black fruit, pepper and tea. Special. 92.

Red Rooster 2013 Riesling Icewine ($60.75)

Aromas of pear, apricot, honey and pineapple. Rich and sweet flavors of pineapple, lemon and honey bring glee to this rooster's palate. I know it's not a surprise that my favorite wine at any tasting would be an icewine, and a Riesling icewine at that...but even by those standards, this one is quite fabulous. 96.

Red Rooster 2011 Golden Egg ($43.50)

Out of sheer morbid curiosity, we bought one of these without tasting it. Nobody in the Okanagan makes a Rhone-style GSM blend heavy in Mouvedre. Nobody. Thought it would worth a try.

Red berries, red cherries and plum on the nose. A bit of spice joins the fruity palate. Cherries abound and it features a bit of that "sweetness" that the Grenache brings along. 88.

Red Rooster, the winery, was pretty damn good. Red Rooster, the wrestler, was a train wreck.

Next up: just down the street to a place that makes some wicked cheeses and a single-varietal Zweigelt (what? someone in BC makes a Zweigelt???). Upper Bench!!

Okanagan wine trip continues: Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday......

....hello Ruby Blues...

It's been about 5 years but this winery used to be called Ruby Tuesday, after the Stones song of the same name, but after deciding it wasn't worth the effort to fight a lawsuit filed by the restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday, the name was changed to Ruby Blues.

Consider that your useless-bit-of-trivia for the day.

Let me tell you, though, the wine is far from useless.

With a sign that advertises "tasting fee is a smile" you know this is winery is a little bit different. Their wines are different too.

Ruby Blues 2015 Peace, Love & Bubbles ($25.00)

Frizzante style rose wine, with notes of strawberry, passion fruit and grapefruit. 85.

Ruby Blues 2015 Pinot Gris ($20.00)

Aromas of tropical fruit and citrus. The palate features some understated flavors of apple, pear and passion fruit. 87.

Ruby Blues 2015 Viognier ($25.00)

Impressive aromas of white flowers and orange blossoms. Notes of pineapple, passion fruit, and lemon lime. Finishes very well. Lovely. 89.

Ruby Blues 2014 White Stiletto ($20.00)

Their signature white blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Viognier.

Aromas of pineapple, white flowers and citrus. The Chardonnay brings just the smallest hint of butterscotch to the party. A perfect summer patio sipper. 89.

Ruby Blues 2015 Gewurztraminer ($20.00)

Intense aromas of pineapple and lychee are the highlights here. The palate is soft and supple, with floral notes and beautiful tropical fruit. We picked up a couple of these, and in fact I am enjoying one as I type this review. 90.

Ruby Blues NV Red Stiletto ($25.00)

The first non-bubbly NV wine I have encountered in the Okanagan. 70% of it is made up of 2013 Syrah grapes, with some Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from other vintages mixed in for good measure. Smoky aromas and flavors of black cherry and just a touch of spice. It's not bad, just.....odd. 87.

Ruby Blues 2013 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon ($30.00)

Black cherry, vanilla, blueberry and tobacco on the nose. Blackberry, tobacco and spice on the palate. Finishes well but tannins are still a bit sharp; suggesting some more aging is in order for this to reach it's potential. 88-90.

Ruby Blues 2014 Late Harvest Chardonnay ($35.00)

Aromas and flavors of honeysuckle, butterscotch and pear. Lovely for those of you who like a nice dessert wine that isn't very sweet. Pair it with cheese or desserts that aren't overly sweet. 90.

They have a couple of reserve-level wines which unfortunately they weren't tasting for our visit; but we had a lot of good wine anyway. Nice experience!

Next up: Just down the road where we were either going to find some good wine, or perhaps the worst gimmick in the history of professional wrestling: Red Rooster.