I've said it before. Their approach to wine, their approach to the number of varietals they carry, their approach to....well, basically their approach to EVERYTHING, is crazy. Most of it flies directly in the face of what we have come to expect in the Okanagan (or, for that matter, wineries in general).
That might be their biggest strength.
We took our dear friends up for a visit, where their Manager, Grayson greeted us warmly and took us into a private room to share with us some of their new stuff. And also a sneak preview of something that wouldn't be in bottle for at least two more years.
|My lovely wife and Grayson, in there somewhere|
|The author, with Grayson, who REALLY is there. It took so long to get this picture that I had almost a full glass.|
For now, let's just talk about the myriad of wines they poured for us.
The Hatch 2016 B Yanco ($15.99)
They refer to this as their "house white" but it's so much better than that. 85% Pinot Blanc and 15% Gewurztraminer and 100% tasty. Lovely aromas of white flowers, tropical fruit and lychee. Light fruity notes with just the right acidity. Such great value. 89.
The Hatch 2016 Screaming Frenzy Pinot Gris ($19.99)
Intense aromas of just about every fruit you can imagine, punctuated with wafts of red apple. Ever so-slightly off-dry, full mouthfeel and flavors of tropical fruit with just a touch of spice. Delicious. 90.
The Hatch 2016 Screaming Frenzy Chardonnay ($18.99)
Intense and powerful aromas of butterscotch, toasty oak, apple and hazelnut. Flavors of vanilla, buttered toast and a touch of spice. You are going to hear this phrase a lot today: Incredible value. 90.
Crown + Thieves 2015 Roussanne/Viognier ($29.99)
Honeysuckle, white flowers and pears dominate the nose. Creamy and full mouthfeel with intense flavors of citrus and a touch of honeysuckle. Delicious and built to improve with age. 92.
The Hatch 2015 Screaming Frenzy Pinot Noir ($24.99)
Another year, another beautiful Piggy Pinot. Aromas of cherry, plum, vanilla and earth. So good and so young, smooth flavors of black cherry, just a touch of earthiness. 93.
The Hatch 2015 Ross O. ($16.99)
Previous iterations featured a blend of Pinor Noir and Gamay, this one has ditched the Gamay in favor of Syrah. A positive change, IMO. Want to learn more about Ross? Just check out this link, it will tell you all you need to know about Ross, and will probably validate my hypothesis that the guys running this joint are a little bit nuts :) 90.
Crown + Thieves 2013 Broken Barrel Syrah ($69.68)
Intense floral notes mingle with aromas of cherry, cold cuts and black pepper. There is so much going on here. There is some white pepper, there is some tobacco, there is cherry, some vanilla, some blueberry... so complex and special. Only 50 cases were made. It's called "Broken Barrel" because the barrel carrying this wine actually broke in a forklift accident; the wine that was saved has become this treasure. Lucky for us. 94.
The Hatch 2013 'Hatchchild' Cabernet Sauvignon ($33.33)
Black fruit, eucalyptus and violets on the nose. The violets follow through to the palate, joined by tasty blackberry, some earthiness and the faintest hint of cigar box. The tannins are strong in this one, but it's already delicious and will only improve. 92.
The Hatch 2016 Screaming Frenzy Sauvignon Blanc ($18.99)
Aromas of guava, gooseberry and some jalapeno. Fruity flavors of melon, stone fruit and citrus. Minerality and acidity hit all the right notes. 91,
Black Swift Vineyards 2015 Kurkjian Vineyard Riesling ($24.99)
Just all kinds of stone fruit and citrus here on the nose and the palate. Aromas of diesel are just starting to develop, suggesting this will age beautifully. I will let you know, I have a couple in my cellar. But if you can't wait, that's fine, it's already delicious. 93.
Black Swift Vineyards 2013 Desert Valley Vineyard Cabernet Franc ($54.99)
This was a real treat to get to taste now, but I'm going to wait until next time to give it a full review. It's already delicious but it is a big, huge, hairy beast and it is going to get soooooo much better. Sold out, but they were generous enough to let me take home 3 bottles of this bad boy (told you they were nuts) and they are in the cellar, waiting for the big, grippy tannins to subside a bit. This is going to be SUCH a treat.
So that's it for this tasting which spanned about 90 minutes and started in the private tasting room and finished up in the public room, where we enjoyed the last few wines, chatted with a bunch of lunatics behind the counter, and even came across a couple of young ladies who described themselves as "groupies" for the wine.
I wonder if Mission Hill has groupies? I'm guessing not.
Our friends loved this experience so much they joined their wine club; just their second club. Just 9 more to go to catch up!!!
There is so much more wine to talk about, they have so many SKU's that it would be impossible to taste them all in one day. Or week.
We left the winery with a case of miscellany; including a Chardonnay from the Crown + Thieves line that we've yet to taste, but was described as a "fat slutty monster".
My wine club shipment arrived the following week, which featured another 4-5 wines we have yet to sample, including a Muller-Thurgau. What is that, you ask? Well, you can read about it here. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but this has to be the only one of this varietal in BC. I was told it was SO good that it would "give (me) an erection". Yes, that is an actual quote. While that remains to be seen, I can report that my wife was particularly excited by the proposition. Probably too excited.
Anyway, that's it for now from this place that I can only describe as an irreverent insane asylum. Please, folks, if you visit the Okanagan and you have never been here, make sure you check them out. In fact, let me plan your itinerary for you: A double feature of The Hatch and Quails' Gate. They are next door neighbors and they are absolutely two of the best wineries you will ever visit. You will get to taste excellent wines at both. You will get excellent service at both. You will be able to buy some excellent value-wines at both.
And EVERYTHING else will be completely different.
Next up: On our way to Naramata, where we make our first ever visit to Township 7!
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