Friday, July 14, 2017

Okanagan Trip report and it's VIVA ITALIA time at La Stella!!!

Beautiful winery, beautiful wines, and always great staff. Our host, Richard, greets us warmly and shows us out to their terrace where we sit down in anticipation of a lovely tasting, and for the first time ever, we brought our own food!

For readers who want to enjoy Okanagan wine tasting on a budget, this is really a terrific way to save a few bucks and still have a lovely experience. I think most people who know us would agree that "budget-conscious" is not exactly a phrase that anyone would use to describe us, but hey, we probably saved $30 by bringing a picnic lunch as opposed to having lunch at one of the fine restaurants in the area, and that money gets used to buy another bottle of wine! It's a win-win.

I'm always amazing that their talented winemaker, Severine Pinte, can make such terrific wine in a true Italian style, and then head up the road to their sister winery, Le Vieux Pin, and do the same in a very French style. I know she lived and trained in both countries, but still, that takes some serious talent.

To the wines! Prices do not include tax or deposit.

La Stella 2016 Leggiero ($22.99)

Italian Chardonnays are generally done without oak, and this one is very much like those. Lots of fruit on the nose, citrus and apple, with strong notes of minerality. Flavors of quince, lemon/lime and green apple lead to a finish of that trademark minerality. 88.

La Stella 2016 Vivace ($22.99)

Classic expression of Pinot Grigio (what we would generally call Pinot Gris in these parts). Aromas of citrus, stone fruit and herbs. Lemon, lime and peach on the palate, with tart green apple showing up at the very end. 89.

La Stella 2016 Lastellina ($21.99)

We first tasted this wine, sitting in a hot tub, about 2 months ago shortly after release. In fact, we had a mini-vertical, sipping this one beside it's 2015 version; and we were SO disappointed with this. Two reasons: 1, the 2015 might have been our all-time favorite Rosé, and 2, this one just wasn't very good.
But we were cognizant that it might be suffering from bottle shock, and that seems to be the case, because it has improved immensely. Aromas of strawberry, rhubarb and bing cherry, flavors of cherry, cranberry and rhubarb. It doesn't measure up to the 2015, but it's still very tasty. 89.

La Stella 2015 Fortissimo ($29.99)

63% Merlot,17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Sangiovese and 9% Cabernet Franc

Beautiful aromas of red cherry, spice, smoke, tobacco and herbaceous undertones. Red cherry all over the palate, with a hint of tobacco and black pepper on the finish. Surprisingly approachable now given it's youth, but this might be the best $30 red wine in the Okanagan, year after year. If you have the patience to wait a few years, it will be even better. 92.

La Stella 2013 Allegretto ($69.99)

From their website: The Allegretto or a ‘medium-brisk and playful tempo’ is a very special single vineyard wine we call a true Merlot. The vines are planted on their own rootstock (pie franco) in white silica sand (what glass is made out of).

That explains the "Pie Franco" better that I could. Beautiful aromas of black licorice, black cherry and vanilla explode from the glass. Juicy red cherry and licorice greet the palate, soon joined by hints of cocoa, sage and earth. Finishes long. 92.

La Stella 2014 Maestoso ($89.99)

Maestoso, or "solo", is 100% Merlot from two different vineyards. Intoxicating aromas of vanilla, blackberry, smoked meat and red cherry. The palate is a delightful potpourri of cherry, oak, blackberry and vanilla, with a rich and luscious mouthfeel and a finish that lingers long after the wine is gone. A special wine and a special vintage. Give it 3-5 years to truly get where it is heading. If you just can't wait, give it a nice long decant. 94.

La Stella 2016 Moscato d'Osoyoos ($19.99 375 ml)

Light bubbly fruit salad in a glass. Flavors of orchard fruit, orange blossom and rose petals. Delicious and at less than 10% alcohol, it would pair with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or another bottle. Or three. 92.

Terrific experience here, as always, and we left with some great wine and our bellies full. Highly recommend the picnic lunch.

Next up: Although we were headed up to Le Vieux Pin, we had one stop to make next....another winery we had never visited before, Vin Amité Cellars!

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