Writer and wine columnist John Schreiner is Canada's most prolific author of books on wine.
Saturday, June 12, 2021
Black Widow Winery expands Naramata Bench holdings
Photo: Shannon, Dick (centre) and James Lancaster
Since opening in 2006, Black Widow Winery has relied on grapes from its seven-acre property on Naramata Road, along with purchased fruit.
Now, the winery has begun to bring on production from a five-acre property, also on the Naramata Bench, that winery owner Dick Lancaster bought five years ago as his daughter, Shannon, and son, James, were joining the business.
“It was originally an orchard in the 1930’s and was turned into pasture for beef cattle about 45 years ago,” Dick says. “One of my sons came up with the clever vineyard name, Beau-Vines, as a play on that. We planted it with Pinot Noir, Gamay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. We have about three acres of vines, with a higher density planting. We’ve had some soil nutrient deficiencies that have made for a slow start, but we’re releasing our first Pinot Noir since 2011. The 2020 Rosé is largely based on the Syrah and Cabernets from this site. The Pinot has been blended with a small portion of Gamay, and we have 100 cases coming out in July.”
The winery projects it will get a “decent tonnage” this year and a full crop next year from the Beau-Vines Vineyard.
“The idea behind the purchase was not so much to increase production, but allow us to be more self-reliant and to increase the red wine portion of our business, as well as rosé,” Dick says. “We’ve cut back on some of the grapes we purchase. We hope to maintain a 3000-case production average.”
Much of Black Widow’s wine is snapped up by its very loyal wine club, a loyalty that the Lancasters foster with special events at the winery.
For example, the winery is holding what is called an “En Primeur” tasting of yet to be released reserve red wines. The tastings are schedule for June 26 and June 27 at the winery, with limited seating available.
“Our 2019 Merlot, Syrah, Hourglass and Vintage One will be accompanied this year by a 2020 Pinot Noir,” the winery has announced. “All but the Syrah will be available for sampling.” The wines will be bottled and released in July.
Here are notes on currently released Black Widow wines.
Black Widow Pinot Gris 2020 ($25 for 320 cases). The wine presents in the glass with a very slight and appealing blush. It has aromas of citrus and apples, leading to an abundance of fruit flavours including peach, pear and apple. 90.
Black Widow Dry Gewürztraminer 2020 ($24 for 115 cases). Think of Alsace when drinking this wine. It begins with aromas of lychee, pineapple and spice, which are echoed on the palate. The rich, almost oily texture recalls the concentration of dry Alsace Gewürztraminer wines. 91.
Black Widow Oasis 2020 ($25 for 330 cases). This is a blend of Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Schönburger. The wine begins with aromas of spice and rose petal. Rich in texture, the wine delivers flavours of apple, papaya and spice, with a crisp, dry finish. 90.
Black Widow Sparkling Web 2020 ($26 for 220 cases). This is a blend of Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris. It is made as a dry frizzante wine, crisp and fruity with floral aromas. It is lively and refreshing. 91.
Black Widow Rosé 2020 ($30 for 190 cases). This wine blends juice of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, with added touches of Merlot and Pinot Noir. The wine presents with an appealing rose petal hue, with aromas and flavours of watermelon, cherry and raspberry. The finish is crisp, dry and refreshing. 91.
Black Widow Phobia 2019 ($34 for 275 cases). This is a blend of 70% Merlot, 30% Syrah aged in barrel for 17 months. It begins with aromas of cherry, blackberry and plum. The juicy and rich palate delivers flavours of blueberry and dark cherry with a hint of pepper. 91.
Black Widow Red Back 2019($38 for 100 cases). This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, aged 17 months in oak. This is a bold wine that is drinking well but will age very well. Aromas and flavours of black currant and dark cherry are mingled with notes of chocolate, tobacco and oak. 92.
Black Widow Hourglass 2018 Reserve ($50 for 750 ml, $27 for 375 ml). The winery produced just 260 cases and is sold out except for 375 ml. bottles. This is blend of 73% Merlot and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged in French oak (40% new) for 21 months. It is a polished wine, beginning with aromas of black cherry, cassis, tobacco and chocolate which are echoed on the palate. There are fine silky tannins on a concentrated texture. The finish is long, with a note of spice. 93.
Black Widow Vintage One 2018 ($52 for 750 ml bottle; a limited number of 375 ml bottles available). This is a port-style fortified Merlot barrel-aged for 21 months. Total production is just 75 cases. The wine is dark in colour. The aroma explodes with sweet cherry and black licorice. It delivers delicious flavours of sweet berries mingled with spice and chocolate. It has the appealing freshness of late-bottled vintage port. 92.