Photo: Stag's Hollow winemaker Dwight Sick with proprietor Larry Gerelus
has its signature white in Sauvignon Blanc.
taste the white that Stag’s Hollow Winery called “Tragically” Vidal, I wonder
whether Vidal could have emerged as a signature table wine in Canada if the
wine industry has explored its applications beyond Icewine.
Falls vineyard that Larry Gerelus and Linda Pruegger bought in 1992 already was
growing Vidal. At the time it was a widely planted French white hybrid. It was
winter hardy and productive. It made better table wines that other white
hybrids and it has been discovered as a perfect Icewine variety.
Linda were not interested in making Icewine. As well, they could see that most
of the Okanagan’s Vidal vines had been pulled out in 1988. So in 1995 they
grafted over 80% of the Vidal block to Chardonnay. They took referring to what
was left as Tragically Vidal.
Not so fast,
said consumers, who were just getting into the Anything But Chardonnay funk.
Vidal table wine flew off the shelf in the Stag’s Hollow wine shop much faster
than Chardonnay. Larry and Linda got the hint. Many of the Chardonnay grafts
were removed and productive Vidal vines were restored.
and Linda hired Dwight Sick, a former airline flight attendant who has become a
superb winemaker on his second career. Dwight has taken Vidal to another level
with winemaking and blending steps to give the wine complexity. Most of the
grapes were fermented slowly at cool temperatures to preserve the fruity aromas
and flavours. About 4.5% of the wine in the 2015 blend was fermented separately
on the skins, punching up the flavour and the texture. Finally, he blended
10.5% Orange Muscat into the final blend.
It is anything
but tragic to take that much trouble with a wine.
notes indicate, he also took just as much trouble with other wines. Here are
notes on three current releases.
Stag’s Hollow Tragically Vidal 2015 ($16.99). The spicy tropical fruit
just jumps from the glass. On the palate, there is a medley of fruit flavours,
including pineapple, pear, lychee and pink grapefruit. The finish is remarkably
persistent. There is residual sugar in the wine, so well balanced with fresh
acidity that the finish seems dry. 91.
Stag’s Hollow Cabernet Franc 2013 ($24.99). This wine begins with
aromas of blackberries, vanilla and smoky oak, leading to concentrated and
brooding flavours of brambleberries, black cherries and dark chocolate. 91.
Stag’s Hollow Tempranillo 2013 ($25.99). Tempranillo is the leading
red variety in Spain. The style of this wine, with bold oak that is still under
control, seems inspired by Rioja. There is a hint of blackberry and black
cherry on the nose, leading to savoury flavours of black cherry. There is a
hint of dark chocolate on the finish. 91.