Monday, March 1, 2021

Stag's Hollow releases top Syrahs

Photo: Winemaker Keira LeFranc
This year, Stag’s Hollow Winery, which is located just south of Okanagan Falls, celebrates its 25th anniversary. What better way to start the year than with the release of two outstanding Syrahs. The wines are a tribute to the Amalia Vineyard near Osoyoos, which has supplied fruit for Stag’s Hollow for some years. They also celebrate the skills of Keira LeFranc, who began taking over the winemaking here in 2016 and who made every wine in the 2018 vintage. The designation Renaissance at Stag’s Hollow is reserved for the premium winesin the best vintages.
Erin Korpisto, the winery’s sales and marketing manager, described how a portion of the 2018 Syrah was selected as a Renaissance Syrah. “In 2018 we were able to do a bit of Viognier co-fermentation with our Syrah,” she recounted in a note accompanying the release of these wines. “We distributed a small amount of Viognier, in varying amounts (ranging from 5%to 20%), amongst six of our eight one-ton Syrah ferments (keeping two ferments as 100% Syrah). These small lot ferments were pressed off individually into a combination of French oak barriques, hogsheads and puncheons (22% new) where they aged for 18 months.” Erin continues the story: “As we followed their élevage, it became increasingly evident that the quality of the vintage was such that we’d have the opportunity to create our third ever Renaissance Syrah.” Both this wine and the white label Syrah are from the same vineyard, but each wine is distinct. “With the exception of the Viognier inclusion, the winemaking for both wines was identical – the difference being purely the consequence of careful barrel selection,” Erin writes.
I would also suggest that the white label Syrah is more perfumed and very slightly lighter because there is significantly more Viognier in the blend. But both are excellent Syrahs and reasonably priced for the quality. Here are notes on the wines.
Stag’s Hollow Renaissance Syrah 2018 ($38 for 95 cases.) The winery also bottled 24 1.5-litre magnums of this excellent, age-worthy wine. This wine, made from fruit grown in the Amalia Vineyard on the Osoyoos West Bench, is a fist in a velvet glove. Deep in colour, the wine begins with aromas of black cherry, plum, leather and black pepper, all of which is echoed on the full-bodied, even fleshy, palate. It is immensely satisfying to drink now and will age gracefully for 10 years – longer for the magnum. 94.
Stag’s Hollow Syrah 2018 ($27 for 383 cases). This wine has 9.2% Viognier co-fermented with the Syrah (the Renaissance had just 1.2% Viognier). The fruit is also from the Amalia Vineyard. The Viognier in the blend gives an appealing floral lift to the cherry and blackberry aromas. On the palate, there are flavours of plums, cherries, pepper and spice with complexing notes of licorice and earth on the finish. 92.

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