Monday, September 5, 2011

Seven Stones and Friends: Random tastings

Photo: Gewurztraminer grapes at vintage time

From time to time, tasting notes accumulate or so not necessarily support a narrative.

But that is no reason for sitting on notes of good wines. Indeed, as the notes below show, a few are made in small enough volume that they are sold out at the winery. You might get lucky at your favourite wine shop.

Here is a romp through some wines I have enjoyed this summer.

Domaine de Chaberton Canoe Cove Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 ($20.25). Here is a Cab from a solid vintage that is drinking well now. It begins with vanilla, spice and plum on the nose and in the finish, with a tasty scoop of sweet fruit on the mid-palate. 88.

Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery Council’s Punch Bowl 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (restaurants only). Think of Graves. This dry, even flinty, white has aromas of herbs and peach and flavours of citrus and sage, with a spine of minerals. 87.

Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery Birch Bark Canoe Pinot Blanc 2010 ($12.99). This wine has appealing aromas of apples, with flavours of apples and citrus. The clean, refreshing finish is lingering. 89.

Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery Ogopogo’s Lair Pinot Grigio 2010 ($12.99). This has a pleasant fruity aroma and flavours of peach, apple and citrus, with a delicate fruity finish. 88.

Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery Larch Tree Hill Riesling 2010 ($12.99). This wine begins with appealing citrus aromas and delivers juicy flavours of peach and lime. It relies on a little too much residual sugar to plump up the texture and lift the flavours but a lot of consumers like their Rieslings this way. 87.

Laughing Stock Blind Trust Red 2009 ($29). This winery has two blends, a red and a white, that are released as Blind Trust. The components of the blends, which change each year, are hidden under the capsule. The idea is to challenge consumers to guess before peaking. This red is 70% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec. It is a delicious, voluptuous red, tasting of blackberry, black currant and lingonberry, with soft, ripe tannins. 90.

Laughing Stock Syrah 2009 ($34). The 14.8% alcohol on the label signals that this wine, from a ripe year, will be muscular. However, there is so much intense fruit that the alcohol is nicely in balance. It begins dramatically with aromas of black cherry, lingonberry, mocha and vanilla. The chewy, earthy palate has flavours of plum and cherry, with a good grippy structure around the scoops of sweet fruit. 90.

Laughing Stock Rosé 2010 ($N.A.). Here is a fine dry rosé for summer, with aromas and flavours of strawberry and cranberry. The finish is crisp and refreshing. 88.

Osoyoos Larose Pétales d’Osoyoos 2007 ($25). This is the “second” label of Osoyoos Larose, echoing a Bordeaux tradition to making a more accessible second wine either from the fruit of young wines or from the barrels that are left over when the premium blend has been put together. These are not inferior wines and usually are good value. This is a juicy and elegant red, with aromas of red currant and cherry and vanilla and with flavours of red berries. There is a hint of cedar and oak tannin on the finish. 89.

Road 13 Rockpile 2009($24.99). This is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It is big and bold, with aromas of plum, blackberry, black currant, vanilla and chocolate, all of which the wine delivers to the palate. The texture is concentrated, even muscular, but ripe and the finish is long. 90.

Seven Stones Speaking Rock Syrah 2008 ($ Sold out). This is a satisfying, chewy red, beginning with aromas of meat and cherries. On the palate, there are layers of flavour – plum, black cherry, chocolate. It finishes with hints of spice and pepper. 91.

Seven Stones Standing Rock Meritage 2008 ($31.99). This is a blend of 58% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The wine begins with appealing aromas of raspberries, blackberries, olives and vanilla. The generous flavours include blackberry, plum, mocha, coffee and vanilla, with a long finish of spicy berry flavours. 91

Seven Stones Row 128 Merlot 2009 ($24.99). This is a vivacious Merlot, beginning with the striking berry aromas, supported by vanilla and mocha from the 17 months barrel-aging. On the palate, the wine shows a concentrated texture, with flavours of blackberries, blueberries and plums. 91.

Seven Stones Cabernet Franc 2009 ($28). This is a lively, brambly red, a swashbuckling expression of the variety. There are aromas and flavours of blackberries, currants, cherries and red plums, with an earthy edge to the long finish. 89.

Seven Stones Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 ($N.A.). Here is an exceptional Similkameen Cabernet Sauvignon, with a hint of mint and layers of sweet fruit – blackberry, plum, mocha, black cherry. The wine has long ripe but firm tannins and will cellar very well for seven to 10 years. 91.

Sperling Vineyards Pinot Gris 2010 ($19 for a production of 261 cases). This is crisp and dry, with flavours of melon and apples. It has what the winery calls "grip" on the palate, along with a backbone of minerals. This is a food wine if ever there is one. 90.

Sperling Vineyards Gewurztraminer 2010 ($24 for a production of 224 cases). Old vines make a difference. This wine is made from 25-year-old vines and that accounts for its rich texture and its rich flavours. There is spice, lychee, event a hint of peach, with a good dry finish. 90.

Stag’s Hollow Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($19.99). The winery’s notes on this wine trumpet that it does not have “any of the usual overbearing personality issues of some Sauvignon Blanc wines.” I would agree, even if I prefer a Sauvignon Blanc that swaggers. This wine has delicate herbal and peach aromas and flavours of peach and citrus. The soft acidity leaves the impression that the wine has residual sugar (it has hardly any). This is an eminently quaffable wine even if it could do with a bit of personality. 88.

Stag’s Hollow Con-Fusion 2009 ($17.99). This is 63.0% Gewürztraminer, 12.5% Sauvignon Blanc, 9.0% Riesling, 7.0% Pinot Gris, 6.0% Viognier, 2.5% Muscat. It is an elegant white, with aromas of spice, herbs and melons. On the palate, there are flavours of melons, pears and grapefruit. The blend has tamed the Gewürztraminer characters and produced an elegant white with a long finish. 90.

Stag’s Hollow The Heritage Block 2008 ($24.99. This is a blend of 47% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Cabernet Franc. It is a big, generous red with aromas of cassis, plums, sage and cedar. The palate is a medley of bright red fruit, with a dash of sweet fruit on the mid-palate. The tannins are ripe but firm enough to give this five or so years of cellaring potential. 90.

Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris 2010 ($17.99). This is a wine that never lets you down. It delivers flavours of pears and citrus with a crisp, refreshing finish. 88.

Van Westen Vivacious 2010 ($18.90) This is Pinot Blanc with a dash of Pinot Gris to lift the fruity aroma. The wine is tangy and refreshing with flavours of crisp, ripe apples. 88.

Van Westen Vino Grigio 2010 ($18.90)Here is a wine with a brilliant, laser-like focus, with citrus aromas, flavours delicately of lime and a spine of minerals. 90

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