Writer and wine columnist John Schreiner is Canada's most prolific author of books on wine.
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Stag's Hollow zeroes in on Pinot Noir
Photo: Winemaker Keira LeFranc
This fall’s release from Keira LeFranc, the winemaker at Stag’s Hollow Vineyards, focusses entirely on Pinot Noir, a varietal for which the Okanagan Falls sub-appellation has a strong reputation.
Stag’s Hollow grows Pinot Noir both at the estate vineyard and in its newer Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard. The estate vineyard, as the winery name suggests, is planted in a sun-bathed hollow. The Pinot Noir block, mostly clones 115 and 667 and the Ritter clone, is about 30 years old.
The Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard, just two kilometers north of the winery, has been planted since 2012 with, among other varietals, five Dijon clones of Pinot Noir. In a note that accompanied the samples, General Manager Erin Korpisto noted that: “Being slightly cooler than our Stag’s Hollow vineyard, our Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard continues to prove itself as an ideal site for high quality Pinot Noir.”
The releases included table wines from each vineyard, along with a Blanc de Noirs made with Ritter clone grapes. This wine, Erin explains, “has been Keira’s nod to a rich and creamy Chardonnay, but since we don’t grow Chardonnay, she looked for another way to achieve something stylistically similar.”
Here are notes on the three wines.
Stag’s Hollow Blanc de Noirs 2020 ($25 for 87 cases). Made with Pinot Noir, this rosé is fashionably pale – lightly peach in hue. The aroma is fruity – notes of apple and spice. The big surprise comes on tasting the wine. It is rich in texture with flavours of spicy oak and ripe apples (a portion of this wine was barrel-fermented). The finish lingers and lingers. 92.
Stag’s Hollow Shuttleworth Creek Pinot Noir 2019 ($27 for 390 cases). There are five clones is this wine: 777, 115, 667, 828 and Pommard. Each is fermented separately and barrel aged 12 months before being blended. With a ruby colour, the wine begins with aromas of cherry. On the silky palate, there are savoury flavours of cherry and raspberry with a hint of so-called forest floor on the finish. This is an elegant and complex wine. 91.
Stag’s Hollow Stag’s Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019 ($27 for 240 cases). This is a wine with just two clones – 115 and 667 – which were co-fermented and aged 12 months in French oak (16% new). The wine begins with aromas of cherry and plum with a hint of spice. The wine is comparatively full-bodied with firm (not hard) tannins. There are flavours of plum with a touch of mocha. 90.