Friday, November 3, 2017

Stag's Hollow releases three reds

Photo: Stag's Hollow's Larry Gerelus and Dwight Sick

In this fall’s vintage, Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard was in the enviable position of getting 85% of its grapes from its own vineyards.

That is enviable because, as a winemaker at another winery told me recently, the vineyard is where the quality happens. A skilled winemaker is an asset, but only if the grapes are well grown.

Stag’s Hollow scores on both counts. Larry Gerelus, who owns the winery with his wife, Linda Pruegger, now has close to 25 years of experience as a grape grower. Dwight Sick, the winemaker, is one of the Okanagan’s most naturally talented winemakers. A former flight attendant, he had certainly established himself in his second career.

In 2012, Stag’s Hollow planted most of its 16-acre Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard, which is just south of Okanagan Falls. This has more than doubled the estate vineyards and has enabled the winery to increase its production of single vineyard wines and of interesting varietals – such as Albariño, a Spanish white grape and Dolcetto, an Italian red. Each is grown by just by one other Okanagan winery.  

The current releases include a young Pinot Noir from Shuttleworth Creek, along with Syrah and Grenache from two vineyards that are established growers for Stag’s Hollow.

Here are notes on the wines.

Stag’s Hollow Pinot Noir 2015 Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard ($25.99 for 190 cases). The winery grows five clones of Pinot Noir here. The winemaker says the wine “has many attributes I associate with cool climate Pinot Noir from Central Otago in New Zealand.” I found the aromas and flavours of black currant and cherry to show herbaceousness, more likely due to the youthfulness of the vines. 87.

Stag’s Hollow Grenache 2016 ($25.99). Dwight Sick is the Okanagan’s foremost proponent of Grenache. He began making the varietal about 2010 when he found it was being grown by the Kiln House Vineyard on the Penticton West Bench. This wine also has come Grenache from the Hearle Vineyard on the Osoyoos East Bench (along with 10% Syrah in the blend). It is a delicious wine starting with the appealing bright cherry hue in the glass. It has red berry aromas.  On the palate, there are flavours of cherry, red currant and strawberry with a touch of spice and pepper on the finish. 90.

Stag’s Hollow Syrah 2015 Amalia Vineyard ($23.99). This delicious Syrah delivers both Christmas spices and deli spices on a bold and generous palate. The flavours of sweet fruit – plum and fig – are punctuated with a note of pepper. The finish is very long. 92.


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