Friday, February 24, 2023

Clos do Soleil strays from Bordeaux roots to champion Syrah

Photo: Clos du Soleil's Michael Clark
Those who share my delight in wines made with Syrah will be elated with the news from Clos du Soleil’s winemaker, Michael Clark, on a recent release of three wines. “We have not had a Syrah available for the last several vintages, but starting with this 2020 vintage, Syrah will be a permanent part of the Clos du Soleil portfolio,” he writes. The grapes are from the Blind Creek Vineyard at Cawston which, in the past, has produced stunning Syrah wines for Road 13 Vineyards when both the vineyard and the winery were owned by Mick Luckhurst, one of three partners in the vineyard. “I have a great relationship with them,” Michael tells me. “They have been growing for Clos du Soleil Winery for a number of years now, and we have a long-term agreement for Syrah and some other varieties.”
The Similkameen Valley has excellent terroir for Syrah. The varietal is a star in the portfolios of Vanessa Vineyards, Corcelettes Estate Winery, Orofino Vineyards, among other Similkameen producers. As well, Mt. Boucherie Vineyards and Rust Wine Co. have Similkameen vineyards that supply them with Syrah. Clos du Soleil owns four or five vineyards in the valley, but until recently, none was planted to Syrah. Perhaps that is because the winery was launched in 2008 on a Bordeaux template. Its reputation has been made with red and white wines made from Bordeaux grape varietals.
“We've been planting our own Syrah because we really believe in the future of this variety here,” Michael says. “Just this past spring we planted a couple of acres of Syrah at our organic "La Côte" Vineyard.” He adds: “B.C. is really producing some world-class Syrah, and moreover I think the variety can express terroir here very well. The fruit from Blind Creek is excellent, and this Syrah demonstrates that. One of the things that I love about the Similkameen is that just a very few kilometers of distance between vineyard sites can make a significant difference in growing conditions, and thus in the resulting wines. Blind Creek is quite close to Clos du Soleil, but the grapes from our estate sites produce an expression that is quite distinct from the fruit coming from Blind Creek, and I always find that fascinating. Frequently they prove to be very complimentary.”
The appeal of Syrah, to those of us who seek out the varietal, are the bold flavours that jump from the glass. I once told a friend who is besotted with Pinot Noir that I preferred Syrah because it speaks so assertively. He agreed, but added that Pinot Noir is a varietal you have to listen to. A very apt comment!
Here are notes on the Clos du Soleil Syrah and two other current releases.
Clos du Soleil Capella 2021 ($30.90 for 537 cases). This is the winery’s flagship white – a blend of 73% Sauvignon Blanc, 27% Sémillon. The varietals were fermented separately in French oak, barrel-aged for 10 months with lees stirring. The best lots were selected for this blend. The wine begins with aromas of lime, grapefruit and fresh grass, all of which is echoed vividly on the palate. The finish is long and crisp. 95.
Clos du Soleil Syrah 2020 Winemaker’s Series ($39.90 for 484 cases). There is 3% Viognier in this blend. The fruit was fermented in concrete and the wine was aged 15 months in French oak (five percent new). It begins with aromas of plums and violets mingled with spice and a hint of pepper. On the palate, the fruit flavours are rich and layered with notes of plum, fig, and dark berries. The tannins are long and ripe. 93.
Clos du Soleil Célestiale 2020 ($29.90 for 1,291 cases). This is a blend of 56% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% each of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, and 2% of Petit Verdot. After a moderate cold soak, each l0t of fruit was fermented in concrete and then aged 15 months in French barrels before blending. The wine begins with aromas of black currant, blueberry and dark cherry. On the palate, there are flavours of black currant, cherry and raspberry. The wine is finished with soft, ripe tannins so as to be approachable while still young. 93.

Monday, February 20, 2023

CheckMate's Little Pawn rated 100 again

Photo: Winemaker Philip McGahan
The first wine for which I awarded a 100-point score was the CheckMate Little Pawn Chardonnay 2o15. The amazing thing is that, vintage after vintage, Little Pawn manages to win 100 points from me. I have just tasted the 2020 CheckMate Chardonnays with winemaker Philip McGahan and Little Pawn, at least in my estimation, remains a perfect wine. The other wines are excellent as well. The consistency of Little Pawn, I believer, reflects the Black Sage Road vineyard where the grapes are grown so well. I would have expected one of the other CheckMate Chardonnays to shoulder Little Pawn to the side; or the wine to reflect the vintage variations. It has not yet happened.
Having said that, the 2020 vintage was one of the best in the Okanagan in the past two decades. Whether we are tasting whites, rosé wines or red wines, the 2020 wines are superbly balanced and polished. CheckMate wines, however, are elegantly polished wines, vintage after vintage.
Little Pawn’s grapes are from a vineyard called Jagged Rock. “Jagged Rock Vineyard, surrounded by steep rocky cliffs at 1,400 feet elevation, is a remarkable spot,” says a spokesman for Sebastian Farms, the holding company that manages the vineyard for Mission Hill and associated wineries. “The sparse, sun-kissed soils and heat radiating off the cliffs provides an ideal viticultural environment. Our Jagged Rock vineyard in the Southern Okanagan is tucked in against steep cliffs where cool desert nights, incredible sunlight, and a variety of unique soils provide an excellent home for our wines.” The soils are deep, stone free and were formed from glacial deposits. The spare nature of the soils helps produce balanced fruit. In addition to Chardonnay, other varieties also do well at Jagged Rock. These include Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Those wines are produced under Mission Hill’s other labels. CheckMate is focused exclusively on Chardonnay and Merlot.
Here are notes on the 2020 Chardonnays.
CheckMate Attack 2020 ($115). This wine was fermented entirely in oak foudres (large oval casks). The wine begins with aromas of spice and lemon leading to flavours of pineapple and pear with an underlying note of sea salt. That gives the wine a savoury finish. 97.
CheckMate Queen Taken 2020 ($125). The fruit for this wine is from 45-year-old vines on the winery’s Dekleva Vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench. The wine begins with aromas of peach, spice and vanilla. On the palate, there are flavours of citrus and stone fruit. The finish is rich and savoury. 95.
CheckMate Capture 2020 ($95). The grapes for this wine, all Dijon Clone 76, are from the Border Vista Vineyard in Osoyoos, so named because it is right on the border. The wine begins with aromas of peach and mandarin orange mingled with spice. On the palate, flavours of mandarin and stone fruits are mingled with hints of sea salt. 94.
CheckMate Queen’s Advantage 2020 ($95). The winery believes the vines producing this wine, planted in 1973, are the oldest Chardonnay vines in British Columbia. The wine benefits with a firm structure and with good length. There are aromas of mandarin orange which is echoed on the palate, along with hints of citrus and ginger. 96.
CheckMate Little Pawn 2020 ($110). The consistency and the elegance of Little Pawn through recent vintages is astonishing. It begins with floral aromas with hints of marmalade. The wine manages to be bright and rich at the same time, with flavours of peach, apricot and orange. The finish is persistent. 100.
CheckMate Knight’s Challenge 2020 ($95). The fruit for this wine (Dijon clones 76, 95) is from the Sunset Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench. The complex aromas and flavours reminded on taster of the aroma of wheat in a bin. A touch of almond mingles with sagebrush, leading to flavours of marmalade. The finish is persistent. 96.
CheckMate Fool’s Mate 2020 ($95). This is a rich and complex wine, reflecting the eleven clones of Chardonnay assembled in the wine, from vineyards on both sides of the valley. Some 20% of the blend is from the Jagged Rock vineyard. The wine has aromas and flavours of marmalade, pear, stone fruits and spice. The finish is long. 98.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Red Rooster shakes things up with fun wines

Photo: Red Rooster winemaker Elaine Vickers
The current releases from Red Rooster Winery push the boundaries; not radically but surprising from a winery that has been owned by Andrew Peller Ltd. since 2005. There is a cloudy Chardonnay, a carbonically-fermented red and the only sparkling wine in British Columbia made with Malbec. And there is a promise of more wines that do not always follow the beaten path.
The winemaker who is stirring things up, at least a little, is Elaine Vickers, a one-time professional player of extreme frisbee. She joined Red Rooster in 2019 after previous experience at Black Hills Winery (also owned by Peller) and Blasted Church Vineyards. Peller has backed her initiatives in making what she has called “fun” wines. “It was to keep with our image of being a fun winery that does some bold things,” she explains. “It is fun for me. It makes harvest interesting. And we are getting some good feedback for the wines. It is also to keep the consumer engaged and interested with what we are doing as well.”
That a big producer like Peller is giving her leeway is remarkable. Yet this is a group with lots of marketing expertise, which would know when or if Elaine is meandering off the rails. “Andrew Peller has fully supported the Red Rooster rebranding,” she says. “Every time I have asked for a new concrete tank, they have said yes. When I said I want to make a cloudy wine, they have said yes. This is exciting as a winemaker because you are able to make a whole bunch of new things.” Future releases may include Viognier fermented and aged on the skins; Pinot Noir fermented in concrete; Syrah fermented on the skins; Gewürztraminer fermented in oak puncheons; and Sémillon patterned on the classic, age-worthy Sémillons made in Australia’s Hunter Valley.
One can overstate just how radical some of these wines will be. Sparkling Malbec is unusual but sparkling red wines are not. Australian wineries have been making sparkling Shiraz for a long time. Sumac Ridge has made a few vintages in the Okanagan. Any producer of natural wines in British Columbia has released slightly cloudy white wines with success. Little Farm Winery at Cawston has even had some consumers complain that wines were not cloudy enough. Cloudy wines are made by maturing wines on lees to obtain richer flavours. The wines are not filtered aggressively before bottling so as not to sacrifice flavour. The haze in Red Rooster’s Chardonnay Sur Lie is barely perceptible while the flavour is excellent.
Carbonic fermentation is a technique well understood in red wine making. When done well, it turbocharges the fruity flavours. The Red Rooster example is well-done. There is nothing unusual about a single varietal Petit Verdot. It is seldom seen on its own because the little that is grown in the Okanagan generally is used to add backbone of red blends. This is the first release from Red Rooster. “I like 100% Petit Verdot,” Elaine says. “I like to keep some of the violet flavours in there if we can.”
Here are notes on the wines.
Red Rooster Sur Lie Chardonnay 2021 ($22.99 for 345 cases). This wine is made with fruit from the Hidden Terrace Vineyard near Oliver. Half was fermented in stainless steel, half in large format barrels – and all with natural yeast. The time on the lees allowed the wine to develop a rich texture. The wine has aromas and flavours of citrus and apple. 90.
Red Rooster Sparkling Rosé NV ($30 for 177 cases). The blend for this traditional method sparkling wine is primarily Malbec with a dash (less than two percent) of Pinot Noir and Syrah. The wine was en tirage for a year. The wine presents with an appealing rose petal hue and active mousse. Fruity aromas lead to flavours of strawberry and raspberry. Total production was 6,500 bottles but at least has been held back for further year of aging. 92.
Red Rooster Carbonic Maceration Merlot Malbec 2020 ($28.99 for 583 cases). Carbonic maceration is a technique for accentuating the fruitiness of this wine, which is 60% Merlot and 40% Malbec. The Malbec grapes were dumped whole cluster into the fermentation tank. A layer of lightly crushed Merlot was placed on top of the Malbec. The latter fermented inside the individual grapes. The Merlot was inoculated with yeast. The Merlot was punched down carefully so as not to disturb the Malbec. When fermentation finished, the blend was pressed and then aged 10 months in French oak (13% new). The wine is delicious with aromas of cherry, plum and blackberry that are echoed on the palate. The texture is generous and the finish persists. 92.
Red Rooster Petit Verdot 2020 ($39.99 for 150 cases). This is a bold, dark-hued varietal. The winemaking ensured extracting the maximum color and flavour by punch downs on the skins for 27 days. The wine was aged 18 months in a variety of French oak vessels. Full-bodied, the wine begins with aromas of dark fruits, tobacco and spice. The palate delivers plum, blackberry, dark cherry and coffee. The wine benefits from being decanted. 93.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Township 7 releases four wines from 2020

Photo: Winemaker Mary McDermott
The 2020 vintage in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys is now widely acknowledged as producing some of the best quality wines ever from the region. There is more confirmation in four recent releases from Township 7 Vineyards and Winery and in the commentary by winemaker Mary McDermott.
She describes 2020 as “a year that brought just about everything mother nature could throw at us, although on balance [it] turned out quite well.” She continues: “Cool, wet weather in the spring delayed bud burst and heavy rains during flowering led to a poor fruit set. This became a defining feature of the vintage, with eventual yields down 20-30% from average.” That tells consumers to move quickly when 2020 wines are released because they will be short supply.
“July and August saw hot, dry weather, allowing ripening to catch up from the delayed start,” Mary writes. “Smoke generated from western United States wildfires drifted north to our region, at one point giving us almost 5 days of uninterrupted heavy smoke cover. Not only was this a scare for potential smoke taint, but a possible loss in photosynthetic capacity of the vines. Luckily, blue skies reappeared and led to a warm, dry autumn.” She continues: “Veraison during this period was drawn out and seemed to be the longest we can recall in many years. This ultimately culminated in a very good balance between Brix and acids for the harvest.” The first frost occurred in cooler areas on October 16, followed by a significant snowfall on October 23. Vineyards with close proximity to Okanagan Lake were not affected by these events. However, most of the harvest was complete by this time.
“The year had average growing degree days of about 1,600,” Mary writes. There were very few summer heat spikes. “The majority of days were in the high 20’s or low 30’s, perfect for even ripening vinifera grapes.” Her conclusion: “Overall, the grapes from this harvest were really nicely balanced, with good acidity and slightly lower sugar levels, making for wines with excellent balance, finesse and ageability.”
Here are notes on four of her 2020 wines.
Township 7 Provenance Series Chardonnay 2020 ($25.97 for 328 cases). Half of this wine was fermented in neutral French oak barrels and then allowed to go through malolactic fermentation. The other half was fermented in stainless steel and did not go through malo. That made for the best of both worlds: a wine where buttery notes mingled with the bright apple notes from the stainless steel portion. A delicious and complex wine. 91.
Township 7 Provenance Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 ($33.97 for 1,000 cases). This wine is made with fruit from the winery’s Blue Terrace Vineyard at Oliver, as well as from a grower, Raju Vineyard in Osoyoos. A 21-day maceration has given the wine rich fruit and ripe tannins. Aromas of blueberry and black currant are echoed on the palate. 91.
Township 7 Provenance Series Merlot 2020 ($29.97 for 830 cases). The fruit for this wine is from the Blue Terrace Vineyard near Oliver and the grower-owned Front Yard Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. The wine had extended maceration to extract the rich fruit flavours. The wine was aged 18 months in French and American oak. The wine begins with aromas of dark cherry, plum and spice. The juicy palate delivers flavours of plum, cherry and chocolate. 92.
Township 7 Benchmark Series Pinot Noir 2020 ($41.97 for 400 cases). The grapes for this wine are from the Remuda Vineyard near Okanagan Falls. There was 48 hours of cold soak on the skins before fermentation, followed with two to three weeks of maceration. The wine was aged 12 months in French oak barrels, most of which were neutral. The masculine intensity of this wine may take some by surprise. It begins with aromas of dark cherry and blackberry, with earthy notes on the palate. This is a Pinot Noir, even if slightly over-extracted, that struts its power. 91.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Da Silva wines to tease our palates

Photo (courtesy of winery): Twylla and Richard Da Silva
Richard and Twylla Da Silva, the proprietors of Da Silva Vineyards and Winery, recently sent a trio of their current releases. The quality of the wines excites curiosity to taste the rest of the 15 or so wines in the portfolio. The wines are in three tiers: tradicional, vinhedo and legado. The Portuguese names for the tiers reflect the Da Silva family’s heritage. The family immigrated in 1955 from the Portuguese Azores to the Okanagan and bought their first farm on the Naramata Bench the following year. The winery was opened in 2006.
The winery now gets fruit from nine vineyards in the South Okanagan and the Similkameen. “To underscore the importance of provenance,” Da Silva says on its website, “the names of the growers, the exact latitude and longitude of the source vineyards as well as the vinification are detailed on every bottle. With over 60 years of farming in the South Okanagan, we intrinsically understand the many unique and diverse aspects of our land. Our time working the land allowed us to understand its nuances – what makes it truly special – and this knowledge is reflected in how we craft our wine," the family writes.
Here are notes on the wines sent to tease us.
>Da Silva Syrah Malbec 2020 ($40 for 300 cases). The fruit is from Cabana Estate Vineyard in Osoyoos and Sunrise Vineyard near Oliver. This wine, which is exclusive to the wine club, is 55% Syrah, 45% Malbec. It was aged 20 months in barrel (50% French, 50% American). Both varietals are excellent on their own but clearly a very good together as well. The wine begins with aromas of black cherry, black currant and pepper. The palate delivers layers of flavour, including cloves and plum. The wine benefits from decanting, which opens up the flavours and textures. 92.
Da Silva Cabernet Franc 2020 ($48 for 176 cases). The fruit for this wine was from the Avila Family Vineyard near Oliver. The wine was aged 20 months in barrel (50% French, 50% American). The wine begins with aromas of spice and brambly fruit. The rich texture supports flavours of plum and black cherry mingled with notes of oak. 91.
Da Silva Isabella 2021 ($29 for 200 cases). The sparkling wine is a blend of 75% Riesling and 25% Muscat, with the fruit from the Hidden Hollow Vineyard just behind the Da Silva winery in Penticton. The Riesling brings structure and citrus notes to the wine while the Muscat adds spice mingled with peach flavours. This is a refreshing bubbly. 90.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Osoyoos Larose launches a wine club

Photo: Osoyoos Larose general manager Michael Kuhlmann
In a move that surely was overdue, Osoyoos Larose Winery has just launched a wine club for the first time. It has been 20 years since this French-inspired Okanagan winery began selling Le Grand Vin, its premium, cellar-worthy, red Bordeaux blend. In that time, almost every other winery in British Columbia has set up wine clubs, often with considerable success. By putting club members first in line for new and collectible releases delivered to the consumers’ doors, many producers have developed, and retained, loyal fans.
Perhaps some of the credit for bringing Osoyoos Larose in line with current wine marketing trends can be attributed to Michael Kuhlmann, who became the winery’s general manager and winemaker last year after several years as the Osoyoos Larose vineyard manager. It could be that Osoyoos Larose did not launch a wine club sooner because there are only two wines in the portfolio: the $60 Le Grand Vin, which can be cellared for 10 or 15 years; and the $40 Pétales d’Osoyoos, also a red Bordeaux blend but made for earlier drinking. The wines are widely available in BC Liquor Stores (including some large format bottles) and in select private wine stores. “Osoyoos Larose launched 20 years ago and quite quickly set the bar quite high,” Michael told me last fall. “We were the leader for quite a while. Now to stay at the top, we need to change.”
In that interview, he was speaking of significant changes planned in the winery’s 80-acre vineyard on a hillside overlooking Osoyoos Lake. But he could just as well have been speaking of the need to become a little sharper in marketing, now that many competitors are producing wines at a quality level comparable to Osoyoos Larose. Especially when the winery’s lack of a tasting room has handicapped its ability to expand its base of customers.
The winery was established in the late 1990s as a 50/50 joint venture between Vincor International and a major Bordeaux producer called Groupe Taillan. Vincor’s object was to bring French expertise in wine growing to the Okanagan and, indeed, to raise the bar. The Osoyoos Larose winery was housed in the back corner of the Jackson-Triggs winery north of Oliver, with its own equipment and its own winemaker, Pascal Madevon, for the first vintages, beginning in 2001. Pascal was so impressed with the potential of the Okanagan that he became a Canadian citizen and, after leaving Osoyoos Larose in 2012, has been one of the busiest consulting winemakers in the valley. Pascal’s successors in the cellar have all been French or, like London-born Michael, have been trained there. One result is that Osoyoos Larose wines have been consistent in style: somewhat reminiscent of Bordeaux but with a clear reflection of Okanagan terroir.
When a white wine is released by Osoyoos Larose, either later this year or next year, it will be made with Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, the leading white varietals in Bordeaux. The winery planted three acres of these vines (along with a bit of Muscadet) several years ago and intends to plant eight more acres this spring on property on the Osoyoos East Bench.
It was impractical to put a tasting room in the original Osoyoos Larose winery, if only because consumers would have had to walk among Jackson-Triggs winemaking equipment to get to where Pascal worked.
Vincor was taken over in 2006 by Constellation Brands, a U.S. based company that was then one of the world’s largest wine producers. When Osoyoos Larose began to drift, Groupe Taillan in 2013 bought Constellation’s stake to own 100% of Osoyoos Larose. It also committed to moving out of the Jackson Triggs winery in five or six years. Trying to site a new winery with a tasting room has proved to be a nightmare. The vineyard, which was chosen by French consultants, is excellently suited for growing fine grapes. But it would have been prohibitively expensive to bring water, sewer and electrical services uphill to the winery, as well as build a road that avoided the town dump just down the hill from the vineyard.
A proposal to build a winery next to the three-acre white vineyard, just beside Highway 97 north of Osoyoos, was vetoed by provincial regulators. Raphaël Merlaut, whose grandfather founded Groupe Taillan, sounded quite frustrated in 2019 as he recounted the search for a winery location. “We invested in this property with the idea we would be allowed to build a winery here, which is not far from the vineyard and which is perfectly located for accessing electricity and water,” he told me. “But the regulations in this part of Canada do not permit us to build this winery here.” As a stopgap, Osoyoos Larose leased a warehouse at the Bordertown Winery, producing and cellaring four vintages starting with 2019. Early in 2021, Osoyoos Larose was able buy a former fruit packing house just at the east side of Osoyoos. It has been renovated for wine production. However, the 2022 vintage could not be made there because the province had not yet approved the winery’s connection with the Osoyoos water supply in time for the vintage.
Meanwhile, Michael Kuhlmann has begun restructuring the vineyard, now certified organic, to deal with the perceived impact of climate change. The vineyard was originally planted between 1998 and 2000. “When they planted the vineyard, they planted for the weather and the climate in 1998. The viticulture of 20 years ago is no longer applicable,” Michael believes. “If you speak to winemakers who were making wine 20 years ago, they would say that the [unusually hot] 2021 vintage is a once in a 30-year vintage. That was not the norm but I think it is going to be like that every two, three years.” When a gradual replanting begins, he would like to switch the Merlot vines, now in the warmest part of the vineyard, with Cabernet Sauvignon, now in a cooler section of the property. He will also use rootstocks that have been developed during the past two decades and are capable to accelerating ripening. He would like to re-orient the vine rows from the original east/west orientation. In blistering hot vintages like 2021, grapes on the south side of rows were at risk of being sunburnt. These changes are designed to allow the vineyard to continuing producing grapes with lots of fresh flavours while keeping the alcohol levels in check.
“We know the type of wine we want to make,” Michael says. “We are not trying to recreate Bordeaux and we are not trying to recreate Napa. This is the Okanagan. For the future of Osoyoos Larose, we are not going to make 15 different wines. That is not what we are here for. What we want to do is showcase this vineyard. We think this area is unique.” Consumers who want to be assured of a ringside seat as Osoyoos Larose evolves should consider joining the new club, which is called La Maison Osoyoos Larose. An annual membership fee of $1,500 gives members three shipments a year, each with six bottles or the equivalent in large formats. Some Le Grand Vin is bottled each year in magnums or double magnums. The shipments will include back vintages of Le Grand Vin. Only club members have access to back vintages. There is free shipping in British Columbia and Alberta and there will be member-only winemaker dinners.
Here are notes on current releases. I have only limited tasting notes on the unreleased 2020 Pétales and the 2019 Le Grand Vin; but with similar point scores.
Osoyoos Larose Pétales D’Osoyoos 2019 ($33.99). This is a blend of 64% Merlot and 36% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged 12 months in medium toast French oak barrels from multiple coopers. The wine begins with aromas of cassis and cherries. On the palate, there are flavours of dark cherries, blueberries and black currants. Bright fruit and long, ripe tannins give this wine appeal for current consumption, but with moderate ageability. 92.
Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2018 ($53.99). The blend is 64.9% Merlot, 14.2% Cabernet Franc, 12.7% Cabernet Franc, 5.2% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. The grapes, after crushing, were fermented in stainless steel tanks, with about 25 days of skin contact. The wine was then aged 12 months in French oak (60% new, 40% one year old). This wine is built for aging for 10 to 15 years, with grippy tannins at this stage. Decant the wine for early consumption. The wine begins with aromas of dark cherries, black currant and plum. On the brooding palate, there are flavours of dark fruits, leather, dark chocolate and cigar box spice. 94.