Friday, September 7, 2012

Volcanic Hills wine releases for 2012

Photo: Volcanic Hills Estate Winery

Volcanic Hills Estate Winery was opened in 2009 by the father and son team, Sarwan and Bobby Gidda.

Sarwan is one of the three brothers who previously started Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery. Sarwan left that family partnership and moved a few hundred yards down the hill, building an imposing 15,000 square foot winery fronting on busy Boucherie Road.

Whatever the family dynamics, both of the Gidda-owned wineries make solid wines and sell them at reasonable prices.

Volcanic Hills made its mark in 2011 by winning a Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence for its 2010 rosé. The two rosé wines released this year are also delicious.

Daniel Bontorin makes the wines. He has been a consulting winemaker in the Okanagan since 2005 and previously made wines at Quinta Ferreira, Le Vieux Pin and La Stella wineries.

Here are notes on the current releases, which are widely available in VQA and other wine stores.

Volcanic Hills Magma White Blend 2011 ($15.90 for 841 cases). This is a blend of 55% Riesling, 13% Müller Thurgau, 8% each of Pinot Blanc, Schönburger and Kerner; 6% Pinot Gris and 2% Viognier. That little bit of Schönburger goes a long way – giving spice to the aroma and a hint of Muscat on the dry finish. There are also fresh citrus aromas and flavours. The winery calls this an “aromatic, tantalizing” blend and I agree. 90.

Volcanic Hills Magma Rosé 2011 ($15.90 for 455 cases). This wine is 88% Gamay Noir and 12% Chardonnay. It is juicy and full-bodied, with aromas of raspberry and flavours of raspberry, strawberry and rhubarb. Finished dry, it is a serious rosé for the dinner table. 89.

Volcanic Hills Magma 2010 ($16.90 for 491 cases). This is an unusual blend: 51% Zweigelt (an Austrian red); 25% Michurinetz (a Russian red); 20% Maréchal Foch (a French hybrid); and 4% Syrah. The wine was barrel-aged for nine months in new French oak. I wonder whether American oak might not have been a better match (and a cheaper one) with the gamey flavours of these varieties. The wine has smoky aromas and savoury flavours of plum, dark chocolate, spice and liquorice, with an herbal  note on the finish. 87. 

Volcanic Hills Pinot Gris 2011 ($17.90 for 592 cases). This unoaked Pinot Gris begins with aromas of pear, pineapple and apricot. That carries through to deliver a medley of tropical flavours, with tangy citrus on the finish. 88.

Volcanic Hills Rosé 2011 ($18.90 for 920 cases). This is 100% Gamay Noir, made in a slightly off-dry style of a summer sipper. There are aromas of cherries and strawberry jam, with juicy flavours of strawberries and pink grapefruit. Even though the winemaker left 11.3 grams of residual sugar in the wine, it is so effectively balanced with lively acidity that the wine is refreshing to drink. 88.

Volcanic Hills Gewürztraminer Single Vineyard 2011 ($19.90 for 377 cases).  This wine begins with appealing rose petal and lychee aromas. On the palate, it delivers layers of tropical fruit flavours, including lychee and pear. The wine is deliberately off-dry, with 19 grams of residual sugar. It finishes with clean and refreshing sweetness that pairs well with spicy foods. But not too spicy – a full bore curry would submerge the lovely delicacy of the flavours. 90.

Volcanic Hills Gewürztraminer 2011 ($17.90 for 377 cases). This wine begins with aromas of lychee and spice. It delivers a fruit bowl of flavours – peach, mango, lychee. The hint of residual sweetness lifts the flavours and gives the wine a fleshy palate weight. However, it is balanced to finish almost dry. 89.

Volcanic Hills Merlot 2008 ($24.90 for 218 cases). This wine has had 24 months in oak barrels before being bottled; and has been released with optimal bottle age. Dark in colour, it has aromas of currants and cherries, with rich fruit flavours of plum, black cherry, blackberry and chocolate. 90.

Volcanic Hills Syrah 2008 ($28.90 for 497 cases). Appropriately dark in hue, thus begins with aromas of white pepper, black cherry and plum. On the palate, there is the classic flavour of cracked pepper over white cherry, accentuated with vanilla and spice on the finish. 89.

Volcanic Hills Eruption 2009 ($29.90 for 1,069 cases). This is a blend of 40% Merlot, 32% Syrah and 28% Cabernet Sauvignon. The funky sulphur on the aroma covers the fruit – although it emerges with decanting. The flavours are much more appealing: there are gobs of blueberries, black currants, black cherries and dark chocolate. Decanting is a must. 88.

Volcanic Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 ($29.90 for 300 cases). Dark in hue, this begins with aromas of black currants, plus and figs. On the palate, the wine is big and bold – typical of the great 2009 vintage – with flavours of black currants, plums, mint, dark chocolate and toasty oak. 91.

Volcanic Hills Chardonnay Icewine 2009 ($29.90 for 200 ml; 83 cases produced). Gold in hue, this wine presents a rich aroma of ripe pineapple with a marmalade bowl of citrus fruits. The intense citrus jam flavours are deliciously rich. The acidity gives this wine an excellent balance, allowing a clean finish. Sweet without being cloying. 91.


At September 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM , Blogger wcc said...

Hi John, just a note on the 2010 Magma, the oak regiment was mostly 2 and 5 year old mix of french and american barrels but mainly french. The amount of new oak was a mere 15%.



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