Saturday, December 31, 2016

Okanagan trip continues at Quinta Ferreira

As always, we are warmly greeted by staff as we enter the quaint tasting room. They have an impressively large portfolio, so let's get right to it.

Quinta Ferreira 2014 Unoaked Chardonnay ($20.00)

This unctuous wine features a nose of apple and citrus. Red apple and lemon come through on the palate. 87.

Quinta Ferreira 2014 Sauvignon Blanc ($20.00)

Pleasing aromas of peach and white flowers. Red apple mingles with herbaceous notes on the palate. Very nice. 89.

Quinta Ferreira 2014 Riesling ($20.00)

Orchard fruits with just a touch of developing petrol notes on the nose. Kiwi and citrus on the agreeable palate. Has aging potential. 88.

Quinta Ferreira 2014 Oaked Chardonnay ($20.00)

Beautiful aromas of fresh, hot, buttered toast as well as some orchard fruit and apple. Toasted marshmallow, apple, hazelnut and coconut on the palate with a pleasing long finish. A real steal at this price and this would be a terrific "everyday" Chardonnay. 91.

Quinta Ferreira 2011 Syrah ($30.00)

Intense, almost brooding aromas of black fruit, violets and black pepper. Hazelnut, vanilla and coffee flavors. Lots of legs on this one. 90.

Quinta Ferreira 2012 Merlot ($25.00)

Beautiful nose of cinnamon, smoke, vanilla and allspice. Black cherry, vanilla, dark chocolate and plum flavors. Really nice with some aging potential as well. 91.

Quinta Ferreira 2010 Alagria ($30.00)

20% Merlot, 15% Cab Franc, 20% Cab Sauv, 25% Malbec, 10% Petite Verdot, 10% Zin

Unusual blend of the Bordeaux varietals with some Zinfandel thrown in for good measure. The Zin brings along some notes of blackberry jam to join in aromas of vanilla and black cherry. Dark fruits and coffee on the palate, with hints of spice. 90.

Quinta Ferreira 2012 Cabernet Franc ($30.00)

Blackberry, black cherry, cedar and sweet vanilla notes on the nose. Intoxicating. Flavors are complex and include cedar, vanilla, chocolate and hard Xmas candy on the finish. A stunner. 92.

Quinta Ferreira 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($30.00)

Lots of dark berries, chocolate and plum on the nose. Black cherry dominate the palate, with raspberry, black currant and vanilla showing up as well. Nice. 91.

Quinta Ferreira 2012 Malbec ($35.00)

Black cherry and strong blueberry aromas. Less jammy than Malbec tends to be, with flavors of blueberry and raspberry. 89.

Quinta Ferreira 2010 Obra-Prima ($35.00)

30% Merlot, 23% Cab Franc, 30% Cab Sauv, 15% Malbec, 2% Petite Verdot

Sweet aromas of green pepper and black cherry. Dark chocolate, black cherry, cedar, vanilla and hard Xmas candy on the palate. Finishes long and lovely. Serious potential to improve with aging. 91-93.

Quinta Ferreira 2012 Porta D'Ouro ($25.00)

Aromas of dark berries, cinnamon and blackberry give way to sweet red cherries which dominate the palate in this pleasant port-style wine. 88.

As always, an excellent tasting with several standouts. We left with quite a few reds and multiple bottles of that delicious Chardonnay. Highly recommended.

Next up: Our second visit to Maverick Estate Winery, as the last Okanagan trip of 2016 starts to wind down.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Okanagan Trip continues at Painted Rock

Admittedly we were a little late to the Painted Rock party, as this was only our second visit here and we had only tasted their wine intermittently at random tastings around town. Boy, were we ever missing out.

The tasting room is stunning. The view of the Okanagan Valley is stunning (even during the rain that greeted us). Most importantly, the wines are stunning.

Painted Rock 2015 Chardonnay ($30.49)

Toasty, smoky oak and roasted hazelnut mingles with floral aromas. Strong flavors of pineapple, orchard fruit and butterscotch. Creamy and absolutely delicious. 93.

Painted Rock 2015 Rosé ($21.69)

Raspberry, strawberry and rhubarb aromas jump from the glass, Complex flavors include strawberry, green tomato, sage and orange zest, High in alcohol at 14.9% but sublime nonetheless and pairs nicely with red-sauced pasta. 92.

My wife, after having one sip of this wine, slammed her wine glass down which I thought was an indication she didn't enjoy it. Nope, I think she loved it even more than I did!!

Painted Rock 2013 Merlot ($34.99)

Black fruit, vanilla and a hint of spice on the nose. Black cherry, vanilla, dark chocolate and spice on the palate. Beautiful. 92.

Painted Rock 2013 Syrah ($34.99)

Black plum, black cherry, cassis and white pepper on the nose. Cassis, dark chocolate and black pepper on the palate. Finishes long and luscious. 93.

Painted Rock 2014 Red Icon ($47.79)

33% Merlot, 21%, Cabernet Franc, 19% Malbec 16% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon

Black plum, blackberry, cassis and sweet spice on the nose. Black fruit leaps from the glass into your mouth, where it is joined by some black pepper, vanilla and baking spice. Needs time to reach it's potential. But oh, what potential. 92-94.

Painted Rock 2014 Malbec ($42.99)

Like a lot of Malbec, this is inky and jammy on the nose with sweet aromas of blueberries. Black fruit and herbs join the blueberry on the palate. Juicy and impressive. 91.

Painted Rock 2014 Cabernet Franc ($44.99)

Beautiful aromas of black cherry, basil, mint and mocha. Flavors are intense, powerful and superb. Black fruit, cherry, tobacco, nutmeg and spice. Another bottle that will age beautifully and has a very high ceiling. 91-94.

Painted Rock 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon ($44.99)

Earthy notes with eucalyptus and black plum on the nose. Tannins are silky but a bit closed, suggesting this one will really benefit with some nap time. Lovely flavors of blackberry, earth, tobacco and mint. 90-92.

We had a terrific experience in the tasting room. Staff was well educated and friendly, a cheese and charcuterie plate was scrumptious, and we got to chat with proprietor John Skinner, who is as knowledgeable and passionate about BC wine as there is. We even joined the wine club, so lots more great visits are on our horizon.

We bought just about everything in the portfolio, including the Malbec. We have accumulated a pretty decent cellar over the last few years, and this is the ONLY bottle of Malbec in it. Very special!

Next up:

Okanagan Trip continues at Quinta Ferreira; and also, lots of good wine has been consumed since my last catch-up post, so one of those is desperately needed as well.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Let's all go to Nk'mip as the Okangan Trip report continues

For the first time we were staying at Spirit Ridge Lodge at Nk'mip; it won't be the last.


We thoroughly enjoyed our time there, and I would be surprised if we aren't back in 2017 for another couple of nights. We also enjoyed a first class tasting, not only sampling the regular stuff at the bar, but also taking part in a semi-private tasting in the private room where we got to sample some special stuff.

Nk'Mip Cellars 2015 Pinot Blanc ($16.99)

Aromas of peach and citrus give way to strong flavors of apples, both red and green. 88.

Nk'Mip Cellars 2015 Dreamcatcher ($17.79)

Interesting blend of Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Ehrenfelser and Chardonnay. Apricot and lychee on the nose. Pleasing flavors of meyer lemon and melon. 88.

Nk'Mip Cellars 2013 Chardonnay ($17.49)

Toasty oak, hazelnut and butterscotch dominate the palate. Balanced minerality on the palate, with crisp, fruity green apple notes. A real bargain at this price. 88.

Nk'Mip Cellars 2015 Rosé ($17.49)

A blend of Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah.

Intense notes of strawberry and rhubarb, with some raspberry hiding in the background. Cherry and strong flavors of pink grapefruit dominate the very dry palate. 86.

Nk'mip Cellars 2014 Pinot Noir ($23.49)

Beautiful, fruity aromas of red cherry and red licorice. Complex flavors of cherry, red and black currant and hints of earth. As 'entry level' Pinot Noirs go, it's tough to get much better than this. 91.

Nk'Mip Cellars 2013 Merlot ($21.99)

Vanilla, cassis and tobacco leaf on the nose. Light flavors of chocolate and raspberry, with a touch of spice on the finish. 86.

Nk'Mip Cellars 2014 Talon ($24.99)

51% Syrah, 18% Cab Sauv, 15% Malbec, 13% Cab Franc, 3% Merlot

All kinds of black fruit come through on the nose, with some cedar notes joining in. Black cherry and black plum on the palate, with a long finish. 88.

Nk'Mip Cellars 2014 Q'wam Q'wmt Syrah ($30.49)

Beautiful black pepper and black cherry aromas. Rich and juicy mouthfeel, with cherry, clove and black pepper flavors. Delicious. 92.

Nk'Mip Cellars 2010 Pinot Noir ($?)

As they were sold out of one of the wines we were supposed to taste in the private tasting, they substituted this one from the library, with weak notes of cherry on the nose and palate. Probably has seen better days, given the age. 87.

Nk'Mip Cellars 2014 Q'wam Q'wmt Merlot ($25.99)

Aromas of blackberry, cherry and tobacco. Beautifully complex palate, with flavors of vanilla, chocolate and black cherry. Juicy and very very long finish. 91.

Nk'Mip Cellars Q'wam Q'wmt Cabernet Sauvignon ($30.41)

Slightly muted nose with some black fruit and coffee coming through. The palate is more intense with black cherry, coffee, toasty oak and mocha. Tannins are chewy and a long finish. One of our favorite of this varietal in BC and with time, could be really, really special. 91-94.

Nk'Mip Cellars 2013 Mer'r'iym ($50.99)

Beautiful Bordeaux-style blend with some black fruit, mint and vanilla on the nose. The palate is juicy notes of cherry and dark chocolate with tight tannins suggesting this needs some more time to really hit the peak that it's capable of. It's beautiful already. 90-93.

Nk'Mip Cellars 2015 Q'wam Q'wmt Icewine ($68.09)

I've been doing this wine blog for several years, and the 2012 version of this wine is still the ONLY wine I have given a perfect 100-point score. This one is just about as good.

Intoxicating notes of honey, apple, cinnamon and apricot will overwhelm your olfactory senses. The palate features just the right amount of lemon, with hints of pineapple and baking spices. So special and so absolutely delicious. 99.

Next up, the trip report continues with another great tasting at Painted Rock!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Stag's Hollow special wines....and, do you think the wine glass doesn't matter? You are so wrong.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Life has say the least for the last couple of weeks. Anyway, this past Sunday my wife and I were fortunate enough to attend a special event hosted by the glass company, Riedel. The tasting featured three special wines from Stag's Hollow, presented by the owner and proprietor, Larry Gerelus, who I think is one of the few in the BC wine industry who I don't believe I had ever met before. Good guy, and passionate about his wines.

The wines presented are reviewed below, but first let's start by discussing the glasses. We were given three from their Veritas series, which we were told was the third from the top (most expensive) in their impressive lineup of glasses:

New World Pinot Noir
New World Shiraz
Merlot/Cabernet (Bordeaux varietals)

First up we started with a 2011 Renaissance Pinot Noir. We were asked to pour it into all three glasses, and one at at time, smell and taste the wine. Remember this is the SAME wine, poured into high-quality glasses.

Tracey and I were already fans of serving wine in the correct glass. We have an extensive collection of varietal-specific glasses; but even we had NO idea what a difference it would make.

In the proper glass, the Pinot was outstanding. In the Shiraz glass...meh. In the Bordeaux glass, it was bordering on undrinkable.

I am not kidding, folks. If you are drinking your wine out of the wrong glass, it likely doesn't taste anything like it is supposed to.

Now, not EVERY single varietal has it's own glass. Riedel provided us with a beautiful, large booklet explaining exactly what varietal goes with what (and they also have a wonderful app that does the same thing). The second wine we were served wasn't a Shiraz, but in fact a 2013 Tempranillo, which shares enough of the profile of Shiraz that this is the appropriate glass. We repeated the exercise in all three glasses, and found exactly the same thing. If we were tasting that wine out of the wrong glass, we would have never purchased one. We purchased three.

Third was their Renaissance Merlot, 2013. Exactly the same thing; it popped right out of the Bordeaux glass, was not very good out of the Shiraz/Tempranillo glass, and was downright awful out of the Pinot Noir glass.

So, skeptics amongst you are saying right now "BS. It can't possibly make that much difference. How is that possible?"

Well, I am far from an expert, but it was explained to us that not only does the shape of the glass greatly alter the aromas of the wine, depending on the profile of the grape (and we all know how important smell is), the shape of the opening presents the wine onto different places on your tongue. As everyone probably knows, we have four different senses of taste, and they are all in different places on your tongue; the proper glass knows where to put wines that are higher in acidity, so that you will taste the wine at it's very best.

It matters. Oh does it matter.

Oh, and as a funny exercise, we also drank some of the wine out of a plastic cup, to predictable results. Don't ever take a bottle of good wine on a picnic and drink it out of a plastic cup, especially one with a rim. You are wasting your money.

Next time you are going to buy a $40 bottle of wine, buy yourself a $40 (or more) varietal-specific glass to go with it. You will thank me.

On to the wine (oh, and the ratings are based on the wine consumed in the PROPER glass of course!!):

Stag's Hollow 2011 Renaissance Pinot Noir ($35.99)

Black cherry, plum, spice and earth on the nose and the palate. A touch of forest floor comes through on the finish which is long and lovely. Drinking beautifully now. 91.

Stag's Hollow 2013 Tempranillo ($25.99)

I'm a much bigger fan of this varietal than my wife, but her first reaction to this wine was "wow". I generally drink Tempranillo after it's aged for a decade or more, but this is the best 'young' one I have ever tasted, and it's not close. Beautiful aromas of red fruit, coffee, leather, earth and tobacco. Blackberry, cherry, cedar and a touch of tar on the palate. Juicy and delicious. 93.

Stag's Hollow 2013 Renaissance Merlot ($34.99)

Deep rich purple in colour. Blackberry, blueberry, cocoa and vanilla on the nose. Rich flavors of mocha, leather, vanilla, dark chocolate and red cherries. Drinking well now but would benefit from decanting if you are impatient. We picked up a couple of these and are going to lay them down in the short to mid term to let them fully express themselves. 92.

And a bonus, before we started the tasting we started off by tasting this one:

Stag's Hollow 2015 Muscat Frizzante ($21.99)

Notes of lemon, lime and peach on the nose and the palate. Light and very dry with some stone fruit and citrus on the palate.
Full disclosure: Frizzante is just not my thing. The best thing I can say about this wine, I suppose, is I've had a lot of worse Frizzantes. It's not bad. 87.

What a fantastic event, something I would DEFINITELY recommend you do if you have the chance. It was $99 per person, but we left with our glasses ($149 value), so we did pretty well. And, great to get a chance to taste some terrific wine from a producer that I was only somewhat familiar with.

Next up: I promise to get back to the last Okanagan trip report soon!