Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Wild Goose earns two "best of show" wine awards

Photo: Hagen (left) and Roland Kruger (right) with their late father, Adolf

At the recent All Canadian Wine Championships competition, the Okanagan’s Wild Goose Vineyards won two “best of show” awards – one for a white wine, one for a red.

The winning white is the winery’s 2017 Gewürztraminer. The winning red is the winery’s 2016 Red Horizon Meritage.

“Two Best of show trophies in one competition?” marvels general manager Roland Kruger. “I am not sure that has ever happened.  That is truly humbling. Our growers, vineyard, and cellar teams did a remarkable job putting that wine together.”  

Let’s reserve some credit for the Kruger family, among the Okanagan’s most respected wine growers. Here is an excerpt on the winery from the 2014 edition of John Schreiner’s Okanagan Wine Tour Guide.

The bell tower above the new wine shop that Wild Goose opened in 2012 telegraphs an unintentional whiff of “I told you so.”  When the winery first opened in 1990, a government official suggested that founder Adolf Kruger would be lucky to sell 2,000 bottles of wine a year. Adolf proved him very wrong. Now, Wild Goose is producing 11,000 cases of award-winning wine each year.

[Adolf died in 2016 after passing the winery on to his sons. Hagen is the senior winemaker while his brother, Roland, now is the winery’s general manager.]

The winery has been highly acclaimed for white wines with, among many awards, seven Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Wine. In recent vintages, well-crafted red wines have joined the portfolio. “Hagen has been working the red program pretty hard the last couple of years here,” Roland says. “We have some good growers giving us good fruit. Hagen has been working with a couple of consultants and the results are beginning to show.” 

In a release on the awards at the ACWC, Roland described the two wines.

“The Red Horizon Meritage has been in production since Wild Goose revamped its red wine program in 2011,” he wrote. “With grapes coming from their Secrest Vineyard in Oliver, and Kerry Hill Vineyard in Okanagan Falls, the quality of this fruit has been so consistent, yielding fruit forward, full bodied, high quality wines.  The 2016 Red Horizon is a blend of 50% Merlot, 32% Petit Verdot, and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon.”

He continued: “Gewürztraminer has been a mainstay at Wild Goose since the winery’s inception in 1990 and has garnered numerous accolades over the years.  The 2017 Gewurztraminer is a blend of 50% Gewurztraminer grapes from the old vines at Wild Goose, planted in 1984, and the remaining 50% from grower partners throughout the south end of the Okanagan Valley.”

Hagen, the winemaker, elaborated on the wine. “Gewurztraminer is one of our favourite wines to produce, the aromatics of the juice dripping out of the press is something I look forward to every harvest.  The spice, ginger, lilac, and clove notes are balanced beautifully with a hint of residual sweetness and finishing with crisp palate cleansing acidity.  This wine is always a treat to have with the amazing cuisine that our province is blessed with.”

Here are notes on current releases.

Wild Goose Mystic River Pinot Blanc 2017 ($16.52 for 975 cases). This expressive white from one of Wild Goose’s storied vineyards has aromas and flavours of citrus, apple and peach. The lingering finish is crisp. 92.

Wild Goose God’s Mountain Riesling 2017 ($17.39 for 400 cases). This wine begins with citrus aromas. On the palate, the tangy lime flavours mingle with notes of minerality. 91.

Wild Goose Stoney Slope Riesling 2016 ($18.26). The extra year of bottle age has allowed the wine to starts developing the classic petrol aroma. On the palate, there is a core of lemon and lime flavours. The finish is dry.

Wild Goose Riesling 2017 ($16.52 for 2,100 cases) This is the winery’s quaffable, off-dry Riesling, with flavours of peach and citrus. 90.

Wild Goose Pinot Gris 2017 ($17.39). This wine has aromas and flavours of pears and stone fruit mingled with spice. A well-balanced touch of residual sugar supports the fruity flavours. 91.

Wild Goose Gewürztraminer 2017 ($16.96). Prior to the ACWC, this wine had already won gold in two other competitions. The wine puts on a dramatic show, with powerful aromatics of lilac, lychee and rose petals. It is rich on the palate, with flavours of spice, peach and apricot. The wine is balanced to finish dry. 92.

Wild Goose Autumn Gold 2016 ($17.39). This white blend has legions of fans. A blend of equal parts Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc, it brims with fruit. It begins with aromas of peach, apple and citrus which are echoed on the palate. 90.

Wild Goose Merlot 2016 ($20 for 430 cases). Aged 12 months in French and American oak, this bold wine begins with aromas of black cherry and vanilla. On the palate, the dark fruit flavours mingle with chocolate, coconut and toasty oak. 91.

Wild Goose Red Horizon 2016 ($23 for 450 cases). This wine is already allocated two bottles per customer. It is a bold, even robust, red. It begins with aromas of cassis mingled with spice, and continues with flavours of black cherry, fig, dark chocolate and leather. 92.


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