Photo: Keira LaFranc of Stag's Hollow
In its two Okanagan Falls vineyards, Stag’s Hollow Winery grows the mainstream varietals but also nurtures several varietals rarely found elsewhere in the Okanagan.
The winery’s spring release includes two table wines made with Tempranillo, the Spanish red varietal, and one made with Dolcetto, the Italian red. (The winery also has another Italian red, Teroldego, and a Spanish white, Albariño.)
Stag’s Hollow winemaker Keira LeFranc demonstrates the versatility of Tempranillo by releasing two different styles. One is a conventional barrel-aged full-bodied red. The other, dubbed Joven or young, is made to be light and fresh. Both are appealing.
The Dolcetto rosé will infuriate those consumers and critics who have climbed on the Provençal bandwagon in recent years to praise anaemic-looking rosé. This wine, which is quite spectacular in the glass with its vibrant magenta colour, takes its inspiration from the darker rosé wines of southern Italy. As the winery says on the back label: “This is not your Nonna’s Rosato.”
I applaud Keira. I also enjoy the pale rosé wines that are fashionable but I prefer a rosé to have great visual appeal as well as delivering great fruit. This one does that. Keira achieved it by crushing the grapes by foot before giving the crushed fruit five days of skin contact to extract colour and flavour. Then the wine was fermented in concrete and aged in stainless steel to preserve all the savoury fruit flavours.
Stag’s Hollow also bottled this wine in an attractive clear bottle. It should be hard to keep the wine on the shelf.
Here are notes on the wines.
Stag’s Hollow Dolcetto Rosato 2020
($24 for 87 cases). This wine announces itself with an electric magenta hue in the glass. It delivers with assertive aromas – cherry, raspberry and pomegranate. There is more pomegranate on the palate, along with sour cherry. The finish is quite dry. 91.
Stag’s Hollow Tempranillo Joven 2019
($21 for 153 cases). The wine was aged about nine months in stainless steel and neutral oak barrels. There is three percent Dolcetto in the blend. This is a bright and refreshing wine, with cherry and blackberry aromas and flavours. 90.
Stag’s Hollow Tempranillo 2018
($28 for 344 cases). This wine was fermented in an open top fermenter and aged 20 months in a combination of French and American oak barrels. The wine begins with aromas of blackberry, black currant and cherry. These are echoed on the palate, along with notes of red currant, chocolate and oak. With breathing, the tannins become silky. 90.
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