Sunday, July 26, 2015

Red Rooster hatches a second label

Photo: Red Rooster winemaker Karen Gillis (courtesy Red Rooster)

This summer, Red Rooster Winery has released two new wines under the winery’s new Henhouse label.

Presumably, this might be called a second label unless you think there is something negative about a second label.

In my view, second label wines are not inferior wines. Karen Gillis, Red Rooster’s winemaker, is among the most talented of Okanagan winemakers.

Second label wines are often the creation of the marketing department, either to freshen the winery’s image or to move a little extra wine.

Red Rooster would appear to have both motives in play. The winery’s traditional label bears an elegant outline of a rooster against a crisp white background.

The Henhouse label, on the other hand, has an image of a fox. It strikes just the right note of whimsy to attract a consumer’s eye in a wine shop. The moderate pricing of these well-made wines has additional appeal – although the entire Red Rooster wine portfolio is affordable.

Here are notes on some current releases.

Red Rooster’s Henhouse Sly White 2013 ($13.99). This is a blend of  44% Pinot Blanc, 19% Chardonnay, 17% Pinot Gris, 9% Gewürztraminer, 6% Riesling and 5% Pinot Auxerrois. This is a fruity, off-off-dry wine with aromas of peach and spice. On the palate, there are flavours of apple and melon. The texture is soft and juicy. This is affordable and easy to drink. 88.

Red Rooster’s Henhouse Ruffled Red 2013 ($15.99). This is 54% Cabernet Franc, 46% Merlot. Due to unforeseen circumstances, this wine was opened and then tasted over several days. That can be a tough test for an inexpensive red. This wine passed with flying colours. The brambly aromas opened well with breathing and the flavours of cherry and blackberry were more delicious and complex on the fourth day than on the first. 88

Red Rooster Pinot Gris 2014 ($15.69 plus tax). The wine begins with aromas of melon, apple, pear and citrus, echoed in the flavours. The five grams of residual sugar add texture but the balancing acidity gives the wine a crisp and refreshing finish. 90.

Red Rooster Gewürztraminer 2014 ($16.99). The wine begins with aromas of rose petal, lychee and spice. On the palate, the wine has spicy grapefruit and melon flavours. The wine is crisp and refreshing. 90.

Red Rooster Rosé Reserve 2013 ($21.99 for 480 cases). Lovely bright salmon pink, this wine begins with aromas of strawberry and crème brulé. The palate offers a rich mouthful of cherries and other red berries. The wine is full-bodied for a rosé, with a dry finish. This is a saignée method rosé, incorporating 35% Malbec, 27% Cabernet Franc, 15% Syrah, 8% Mourvedre, 7% Petit Verdot, and 3% each of Pinot Noir and Grenache. This wine demands food. 88.

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