Thursday, May 6, 2021

Hester Creek's releases in the time of Covid

Photo: The Villas at Hester Creek
If ever there is a winery anxious for the pandemic to recede, it must be Hester Creek Estate Winery. The winery’s luxury accommodation – the six suites called The Villa – is open, but only to local guests. The province’s ban on non-essential travel has forced Hester Creek to announce it is not taking bookings “for guests visiting from outside the Okanagan.” Other public health restrictions have crimped operations of the Terrafina Restaurant on the winery grounds. It is open but just for patio service and take-out service.
Hester Creek also has one of the most expansive tasting rooms on the south Okanagan. Since public health orders prohibit indoor events for the next few weeks, the tastings are done on the patio which, fortunately, is also large.
Like many other wineries, Hester Creek is doing its best to serve the few people who get there. The pandemic, however, is not stopping the winery from releasing wines to the market and to its wine club. A glass or two of Hester Creek’s legendary Trebbiano is an excellent way to watch the light at the end of the tunnel get bigger. Here are notes on the spring releases.
Hester Creek Pinot Gris 2020 ($16.99). This wine was fermented cool and aged four months in stainless steel before bottled early to preserve the crisp freshness. It begins with aromas of pear, apple and peach. On the palate, there are flavours of citrus, pear and pineapple. 90
Hester Creek Pinot Gris Viognier 2020 ($16.99). This interesting unoaked wine is exclusive to some Save-On-Foods stores. It is a blend of 67% Pinot Gris, 33% Viognier. It begins with aromas of green apples and grapefruit, leading to flavours of peach, pear and citrus. The spine of the Viognier defines the crisp, yet juicy, structure. 90.
Hester Creek Old Vines Trebbiano 2020 ($22.99). This is such a fine wine that one wonders why no one else has planted Trebbiano. The vines in the Hester Creek vineyard were planted there 52 years ago. The winery treats the fruit gently: after pressing the whole berries, the juice is settled in stainless steel and fermented very slowly (for 38) days. It is then racked off the heavy lees but spends four more months on fine less. Consequently, the texture is rich. It begins with honeyed aromas of tropical fruit, leading to flavours of citrus, peach and guava. 92.
Hester Creek Character White 2020 ($15.99). This is probably the best-value white under $20 in the Okanagan. It is a blend of 71% Pinot Gris and 29% Gewürztraminer. The lots were cool-fermented and aged four months on fine lees. It begins with aromas of citrus, peach and lychee. It delivers a fruit basket of flavours with a hint of sweet fruit on the finish. 90. Hester Creek Rosé Cabernet Franc 2020 ($17.99). This is a voluptuous, all-hands on deck deeply
hued rosé (four days on skins). It begins with aromas of cherry, strawberry and red plums, leading to tons of flavour where candy apple mingles with cherry and strawberry. 91.
Hester Creek Character Red 2019 ($18.99). This is a blend of 49% Merlot, 21% Syrah, 16% Petit Verdot, 5% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, and 4% Cabernet Franc. It h as been aged eight months on barrel (75% French, 25% American). The Merlot here is what Hester Creek calls “Italian” Merlot. The wine begins with aromas of blueberry, black currant and pepper. On the palate, there is more pepper mingled with dark fruit. Long, ripe tannins give the wine an appealing finish. 90.

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