Writer and wine columnist John Schreiner is Canada's most prolific author of books on wine.
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Burrowing Owl unmasked
Photo: Author wearing Burrowing Owl's mask
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery’s sampler pack of its red wine releases for spring came with an attractive mask. I donned it for the selfie that accompanies this item.
The winery originally ordered the masks for use by its staff. Such was the response that it is now sold in the Burrowing Owl wine shop for $9.95. It is also included free of charge with every case of wine ordered from Burrowing Owl.
I am not aware of other wineries with branded masks. It would be surprising if others have not picked up on the idea. Since mask wearing is going to be with us for some time, it makes sense to have a winery’s customers walking around with the winery’s brand on display. Especially if the mask is a little more chic than the ubiquitous “surgical” masks that, when not covering faces, are littering streets.
There is no reason why we should not make statements with our masks. Last summer, because I am a fan of Formula 1 racing, I purchased a mask from McLaren, one of my favourite teams. It is the same colour – orange – as the cars. I think it looks dashing. However, I paid a ridiculous price for the high tech mask (it has an anti-viral filter), which came from a factory in the Netherlands. Such is the cost of fandom.
The Burrowing Owl mask, which appears to have been made in China, is low tech … but comfortable and smart.
Here are notes on the wines, as written by Rhys Pender MW for the winery’s website. The points scores are mine but I will defer to his palate and vocabulary on the wines. While I have never found burlap in a wine (and I grew up on a farm!), I generally agree with his comments.
Burrowing Owl Merlot 2018 ($32). A bright, fresh, silky and complex Merlot with lots of black plum, baking spice, ripe raspberry, mixed brambly berries with violet and lavender floral notes, cocoa, marzipan and vanilla and some Earl Grey tea, burlap and cedar. The palate is full-bodied with firm ripe tannins, refreshing acidity, a velvety texture and flavours of plum pudding, black cherry, hazelnut, chilli spiced dark chocolate, paprika, dried sage with some graphite notes on the long finish. Has the structure to age and develop for over a decade. 90.
Burrowing Owl Syrah 2018 ($35). A deep, brooding Syrah with an intense nose of blackberry, black cherry and black plum fruit along with some pastry crust, vanilla and clove and complex notes of burlap, leather, espresso, violet, graphite, black sage and bacon. Dry, full-bodied and rich on the palate with intense black pepper, black fruit, ripe tannins, paprika, roasted red peppers, dark chocolate and grilled rosemary with a long finish and plenty of potential to age. 91.