Thursday, November 23, 2017

What am I thankful for??? BIRTHDAY WINE LIKE THIS!!!

Interrupting the latest Okanagan trip blog to bring you two very special bottles.

I tend to take US Thanksgiving off, if possible, so I can sit at home and watch football. It's been quite a while since that corresponded with my birthday, so this year I had a good excuse to sit at home and watch football and drink some great wine. Oh my, did we find a couple of fantastic bottles this year!

Marchesi de Frescobaldi 2010 Luce Della Vita ($89.99)

Sweet Sassy Molassy.

55% Merlot, 45% Sangiovese

Dark flowers, nutmeg, blueberry, black currant, mint, cola, blackberry and a hint of delicious funk on the nose. Blueberry, cherry cola, blackberry and chocolate on the palate. A touch of mint shows up on the long, beautiful finish. Undoubtedly the best Luce I have ever experienced.

I paired the above with my lunch, which was a bunch of cheese, nuts and crackers. Hey, it's my birthday, I can eat whatever the hell I want for lunch!

Paired with one of my favorite chicken dishes, the evening wine didn't disappoint either.

Hartford Family Winery 2014 Stone Côte Vineyard Chardonnay ($65.00 USD from winery)
Caramel jumps from the glass and assaults your nose, but if you pay attention, you'll notice some nutmeg, cardamon and cinnamon as well, followed by hints of wet stone and orange blossom. The palate is sublime, with notes of sweet vanilla, caramel, pear, hazelnut and underripe tropical fruit. Just amazing, featuring vibrant acidity. Crisp and refreshing. I need to get some more of these!

In the grand scheme of the wine world, I am sure there are people out there who had two better bottles tonight, but I bet there aren't many of them. To those of you who DID have two better bottles than I did tonight, I tip my cap.

Next up: hopefully tomorrow I'll find some time to continue the Okanagan trip blog!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Okanagan Trip Part 3, a full tasting of the new stuff from Tinhorn Creek!

A lovely tasting in the barrel room with the incomparable Shelann, their wine club concierge. She always puts on a first class tasting and today was no exception!

Tinhorn Creek 2016 Oldfield Reserve 2 Bench White ($19.99)

47% Sauvignon Blanc, 17% Semillon, 16% Viognier, 14% Chardonnay and 6% Muscat

 Aromas of white flowers, red apple and a tiny dollop of fresh cut grass. Unctious, with flavors of elderflower, citrus, peach and a slight herbaceous quality. Lovely. 

Tinhorn Creek 2013 Oldfield Series Pinot Noir ($31.99)
Aromas of red cherry, dried herbs and forest floor. Sour cherry and red berries dominate the palate. Will improve with a bit more time in the bottle but already tasty.

Tinhorn Creek 2014 Oldfield Reserve Merlot ($26.99)
85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc

Dark chocolate, vanilla, black currant and blackberry on the nose. Vanilla and chocolate on the palate, framing blackberry, black cherry and cedar notes. Delicious, and ready to drink right now with some beautiful BBQ.

Tinhorn Creek 2014 Oldfield Reserve Syrah ($31.99)

Dark purple, inky colour. Aromas of charred meat, violets, blackberry and blueberry. Juicy and round palate, blackberry, vanilla, blueberry and dark chocolate. French, Hungarian and American Oak, 1/3 of which is new, and the oak is still front and centre, but this is already so delicious. Can't imagine it's going to improve a bunch but we will see.

Tinhorn Creek 2014 The Creek ($55.00)

53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot

Aged 24 months in 40% new Hungarian and French oak. Arresting aromas of red berries and black cherry. Complex palate of red raspberry, blueberry, black cherry and black plum. Tannins are firm as can be right now, this is a big one to put away for 3-5 more years. If you just can't wait, ensure you aerate and decant for a couple of hours. So much potential.
Tinhorn Creek 2015 The Creek (Barrel Sample - $55.00)
Much more approachable than the 2014 due to the hot growing season, this beauty could be called hedonistic. Blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, mint and cherry on the nose. Juicy blackberry, raspberry, toasty oak and dark chocolate. Finishes long and beautifully. This one will age well but it's so good now, and not even in bottle yet. What a treat.

Terrific tasting, we are always taken excellent care of on any visit to Tinhorn Creek.

Next up: Another first time visit, just up the road to Rust Wine Co where we discover at least one wine that is quite remarkable.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Okanagan Trip, Part II, our second stop in the Similkameen is at Seven Stones

There is nothing more annoying than walking into a retail outlet and getting pounced on, and that's what happened here.

Of course, it wasn't the winery staff, it was their dog! LOL. He was so friendly and adorable. Winery dogs are awesome.

Very nice tasting room, a gorgeous patio with quite a view, and they also feature caves that you can tour if you have the time and inclination. We didn't have time but will plan to check them out on our next visit.

Seven Stones 2016 Rosé ($20.00)

100% Pinot Noir. Reminiscent of Provence with aromas of strawberry, with flavors of citrus, forest floor, mushroom and citrus.

Seven Stones 2012 Chardonnay ($25.00)

Light aromas of butter, nectarine, lemon zest and pineapple. Citrus and tropical fruit on the palate, with enticing minerality. Shows potential for aging. 

Seven Stones 2012 Vivianne's Pinot Noir ($30.00)

Aromas of raspberry, strawberry, black tea and cranberry. Red currant, red raspberry and baking spice on the palate. Delicate enough to pair beautifully with a grilled salmon dish.

Seven Stones 2012 Merlot ($30.00)

Aged for 18 months in French and American oak. Red cherry, black olive and mint on the nose. Just a hint of leather lurking in the background. Blueberry, black plum, vanilla and chocolate on the palate with a touch of spice on the finish. Very tasty.
Seven Stones 2013 Cabernet Franc ($30.00)

Black plum and black cherry aromas with a just-noticeable touch of black pepper. Flavors of raspberry, chocolate, red cherry. Light and fruity. 

Seven Stones 2011 Meritage ($35.00)

51% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot

Aromas of raspberry, coffee and tobacco. Black olive, raspberry, plum and a touch of chocolate on the palate. 

That was all we got to taste but they were selling some library vintages of Chardonnay so we took this one home and opened it up a week later.

Seven Stones 2010 Chardonnay ($35.00)

Attractive aromas of butterscotch, hazelnut and pineapple. Tropical fruit and citrus dominate the palate, with high acidity and just a touch of butter on the finish.

Unfortunately that was all the time we had to visit the Similkameen on this trip, but we will be back next year. For now, we were off to Oliver and Osoyoos to tour a few more wineries and attend an incredible event. Next up: New vintages at Tinhorn Creek!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Okanagan Trip, Part 1, let's travel through the Similkameen Valley (and, for once, stop and taste the wine!!!)

We've driven through the Similkameen Valley dozens of times. It's about time we actually stopped and tried some of the wine!

First up is a relatively new player in the market, Vanessa Vineyards. They were in the news recently as they've snapped up recently-retired legendary winemaker Howard Soon, late of Sandhill, to take over their wine making duties. I think Howard was retired for about 17 minutes. He and Don Triggs should hold a symposium on how NOT to retire!

Vanessa Vineyards 2013 Meritage ($36.99)

Cabernet Sauvignon 44% / Cabernet Franc 32% / Merlot 24%

Light nose features red cherry, with pretty floral notes, all framed with herbaceous undertones. Red cherry, blackberry, black licorice and mocha on the palate. Tannins are strong, this one needs a bit of time, but it's already good. 

Vanessa Vineyards 2014 Right Bank ($39.99)
Arresting aromas of blackberry, blueberry and charred meats. Delicious and fruity with loads of blueberry, vanilla and sweet baking spices. Finishes very long. Lovely. 

Vanessa Vineyards 2013 Syrah ($34.99)
Reminiscent of the Rhone Valley, aromas of vanilla, smoke, leather and a hint of forest floor. Black cherry, red raspberry and a hint of maraschino cherry on the palate. Tons of promise.
Vanessa Vineyards 2014 Merlot ($34.99)

Merlot 85% / Cabernet Franc 15%

Fermented and barrel aged for 26 months in mainly new and one year old American and French oak. The oak shines through on the nose, joined by dark chocolate, cassis and ripe red cherries. Delicious and juicy palate with notes of stewed plums, blackberry, blueberry, cassis and black raspberry. Their first Merlot, and it's a winner. 

That was their entire portfolio, although some other varietals are on the horizon, including a Viognier. They have a beautiful, big tasting room and as you can see from the above reviews, the wines are universally excellent. A "must-stop" on your visit to, or through, the Similkameen.

Next up: Our second stop in the Similkameen, at Seven Stones!