Sunday 29 August 2010

Stag's Hollow Tasting

As mentioned Friday, I also attended a tasting at Taylorwood Wines on Thursday, hosted by the winemaker of Stag’s Hollow, Dwight Sick. Dwight brought a number of Stag’s Hollow’s new releases, including their new aromatic white blend “Con-Fusion”, which was quite pleasant, and hopefully has a prosperous future ahead of it; I just hope there is enough warm weather still remaining for the 2009 vintage to be consumed “on the patio” as Stag’s Hollow puts it! Stag’s Hollow has had some great success with their whites recently, having won a gold medal at the 2009 Canadian Wine Awards for their (2008) Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend (in good company with Road 13’s Viognier Roussanne Marsanne). They also released a delightful Syrah Rosé this year, which did not last long given its status as “Best Rose” during the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival. Fortunately we got to try some earlier this summer and it was a favourite; if only I could still find it somewhere!

New releases of 2008 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were also present, as well as the 2007 Merlot, and the new release of Stag’s Hollow’s Cabernet Merlot blend “The Heritage Block” (previously known as “Heritage Block 1”). The 2006 vintage of Heritage Block 1 can still be found in some BC Liquor Stores, but has been supplanted by the 2007 release in wine stores such as Taylorwood. Both versions are tasty, and in my opinion a pretty good value at the $25 price point for a Bordeaux-style blend suitable for mid-term aging (the winery recommends now to 2014 for the 2007 release).

Dwight also brought some of Stag’s Hollow’s reserve tier Merlot, called “Renaissance”, which was very enjoyable. The 2007 vintage was well reviewed by prominent wine critic Anthony Gismondi, who complimented its “solid core of fruit” and promise of further improvement over the next few years. It’s reasonably priced at $30, and the 2008 is about to be released at the end of September, which Dwight mentioned is even better – a wine that could “make vegetarians want to eat meat”! I’m not sure about switching teams, but I’ll definitely be getting some to hold in my 2008 collection.

I picked up three bottles at Taylorwood during my visit Thursday, to help flesh out my collection and pick them up while they lasted in stores. Having just heard via Twitter that 8th Generation was sold out of their very well reviewed 2009 Riesling I made sure to grab one of the few remaining bottles on the shelf for consumption later this fall. I also noticed the shelf stock of Twisted Tree’s Bordeaux blend “Six Vines” was getting very low, despite the 916 cases released. Having earlier decided to replace my bottle of (excellent) Twisted Tree Tempranillo in the 2008 collection with the Six Vines (which has better aging potential) I decided not to wait any longer for this unique award-winning blend (Gold at the 2010 All Canadian Wine Championships); the uniqueness comes from the inclusion of Carmenere, which is typically absent from North American Meritage-style blends. Lastly, I noticed just one case of Howling Bluff Pinot Noir near the register, and decided the time was ripe to pick up a bottle of this historic wine: following a Lt. Governor’s Award for the 2006 vintage, the 2007 vintage received first place at the Okanagan Wine Festival (and sold out in two days). I’ve never before seen Howling Bluff in a VQA, or any non-private wine store, so I knew the price couldn’t be beat. Now that the 2008 vintage has been released I figured it was about time for me to try it out (or at least I will in 2013 when my 2008 collection matures). Although it “only” received 87 points from Gismondi, he was careful to point out its potential to improve in bottle, so let’s hope three years does the trick.

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