Thursday, September 27, 2018

Time for a random update of great stuff! And some good stuff! And some stuff that would fall under another category!

Alrighty, finally trying to catch up on a bunch of stuff we have enjoyed (or not) over the last few months while I have been too busy with Okanagan trip reports to post them! Lots of spectacular stuff here.

Expect a few more of these "random catch-up" entries in the coming days/weeks as I still have pages and pages of notes to post.

Next up: Back to the Okanagan report, as I promised last time.....Gray Monk!

Okangan trip report Part Deux, our morning begins with a stop on the way to Lake Country at Ancient Hill !

Our first visit here, which is on the way to Lake Country but not really, kind of out of the way but not so far out of the way you shouldn't go visit. They have a charming tasting room and friendly staff. But was the wine any good? Well, let's see.

So the answer to the question above, "are the wines any good", is "Depends". The Gewurztraminer certainly is quite good, and many of the others are perfectly drinkable. And, hey, if you are one of those that likes to go off the beaten path, figuratively and literally, this may be the place for you. Where else are you going to get Baco Noir, Lemberger, and a Rosé with Baco and Gerurztraminer? I'll tell you where: Nowhere.

Next up: We arrive in Lake Country, and our first tasting of the day is Gray Monk!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

To Kelowna we go, the start of another Okanagan trip, and we begin the day at probably the most recognizable name in BC WIne: Mission Hill!

I have a love/hate relationship with this winery. I love to hate them.

But everyone deserve a second, third, and maybe fourth chance. This is not on our "must-do" list, but we do like to stop in every few visits to Kelowna to see what's up. Since they hired eminently-talented winemaker Darryl Brooker as their chief winemaker for the 2015 harvest, I expect that the quality of the wines here will have improved since our last visit. Let's see if I am right.

That's it for today, although there is still some room for consistency across the portfolio, I am comfortable in saying there has been improvement. Here's hoping it continues! I'm sure it will.

If you've ever been here, you know that the grounds of the winery are second-to-none. The tasting room is beautiful, if a bit corporate. Still, if you get the right guide, you can have a good experience here.

From here, we left and went to The Hatch; and let me tell you, there were more customers at The Hatch than there were here. But since I've already written my report on the wines we tasted at The Hatch, my next report will be from our trip the next day into Lake Country, at a winery we had never previously visited: Ancient Hill !

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Okanagan Trip, Part V, and we go up, up, up, up, way up the hill to Fairview Cellars!

Seriously, anyone ever been here? You just keep going up, up, up, up. And signage? Forget it. Without GPS you'd have a better chance of playing Pick-Up-Stix with your butt-cheeks than finding this place. Thank goodness for GPS!

We arrive and are warmly greeted by Honey, their Golden Retriever. Honey is a good dog. Honey is a very good dog! And she joins us in the tasting room, where she is much more interested in having her belly rubbed than in anything wine-related that may be going on. We accommodate her as best we can.

In between belly rubs, we manage to taste some wine.

On the way out, we are greeted by their other dog, who's name escapes me. He was out protecting the vineyards when we arrived; probably chasing away bears. Seriously, he chases away bears. He is a very, very good boy!

 The very last stop of this trip was at Rust, which I already posted out of order, so this wraps up this little trip from June. Next up: Still have Disney wine to report on, plus a ton of miscellaneous stuff, but I think I'll try to get to our last trip up to the Okanagan this year, which was to Kelowna a few weeks ago. Lots to report on, so we will start at Mission Hill!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Okanagan Wine Trip Part IV, we visit Lariana Cellars, and the blog gets a facelift!

We are no strangers to Lariana Cellars, a small little outfit run out of a garage, about 15 feet from the United States border. That is hardly an exaggeration, as crossing the road would take you into bushes that are right on the border. It's that close.

They have a very small portfolio of wines, choosing to excel at what they can do best. An exciting winery and there isn't a bad wine in the bunch. Let's get to the three they had for us this trip!

That's it for today! Love to hear what you think of the new format. So far I think it's a big improvement but I am sure there will be challenges when I come across really bizarre-sized bottle shots....but I'll jump off those bridges when I come to them. I had to make the images thinner than I liked or they bleed over into the wallpaper, but that might fix itself when I move the blog to a new platform (spoiler alert....still to come).

Next up: This trip continues with a winery I was somewhat familiar with but had never actually visited: Fairview Cellars!!

Okanagan Trip, Part III, at a winery quickly establishing themselves as one to watch: Rust Wine Co!!!

We visited Rust Wine Co (formerly Rustico) for the first time last year; you can read all about it here, if you need a refresher. I mention that because they make the best (IMO) Zinfandel in the Okanagan, and that review was included in last year's post. All I can say about that Zinfandel is that I have enjoyed 3-4 more bottles of it and it's quite possible I underrated it. A simply terrific wine that pairs beautifully with just about any piece of red meat. Try it!

On to the new stuff we tasted this past June!

Rust Wine Co. 2017 Rosé ($22.00)
Made from 100% Pinot Noir, slight floral aromas mix in with strawberry and watermelon. Strawberry, tart cherry and watermelon on the palate. Very dry and tasty.

Rust Wine Co. 2017 Gamay ($22.00)

Enticing aromas of red cherry and white pepper give way to very fruit forward flavors of cherry, raspberry and black pepper. Lovely finish. Absolutely one of the best, if not the best, BC Gamay. We bought a couple of these, and we do NOT buy Gamay.

Rust Wine Co. 2016 Cabernet Franc ($25.00)

Red fruit abounds, with hints of mint and spice on the nose. Rich, round and fully developed, this beauty starts off with funky mushroom flavors, but the red cherry and strawberry take over on the mid-palate and a touch of spice comes up at the end. Lovely.

Rust Wine Co. 2016 Golden Mile Bench Merlot ($35.00)

Three Merlots? You bet your sweet bippy. I suspect about 15% of you are old enough to know the origin of that phrase. Anyhoo, this one opens up with aromas of red cherry, raspberry and blueberry. Black cherry, vanilla and mocha on the palate. Medium finish. 

Rust Wine co. 2016 South Cawston Merlot ($35.00)

Light fruity aromas, with hints of vanilla and baking spice. Similar to the cab franc, it starts off with flavors of funky mushroom, and the mid-palate brings along the red and black fruits. Terroir is everything, the three different Merlots are almost nothing alike.

Rust Wine Co. 2016 Black Sage Bench Merlot ($35.00)

Black cherry, black plum, vanilla and coffee on the nose. Red raspberry, strawberry, blackberry and dark chocolate on the palate. Finishes forever. Really delicious. My favorite of the three by quite a bit.

Rust Wine Co. 2016 Black Sage Bench Syrah ($37.00)

Aromas of black pepper, forest floor, earth and black fruit. Bright red cherry, white pepper, mushroom and earth on the palate. Beautiful long finish. Perhaps my favorite wine from Rust, with the possible exception of that damn Zinfandel. 

Rust Wine Co. 2016 South Cawston Syrah ($37.00)

Tasty, but almost seems a touch prosaic after tasting it's brother above. Different in many ways but still presents red cherry aromas and flavors, mingling with mushroom and wild strawberry. Another long finish, although not quite as long as the above.

That's it for now! I previously "teased" some exciting changes to this blog; still lots of them to come, but you are going to see the first of the changes in my next post, another fairly new winery that is hitting "must visit" status, Lariana Cellars!