Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Celebrating the Italian heritage in B.C. wine

Photo: Howard Soon made the Okanagan's first Sangiovese
The Italian heritage of the British Columbia wine industry was honoured at a recent tasting organized by the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club.
The tasting featured wines made with Italian varietals grown in Okanagan and Similkameen vineyards. The acreage of Italian grapes in B.C. is modest – probably less than 50 acres - but the wines are interesting. There are about 600 native grapes growing in Italy but when the Okanagan was replanting in the 1990s, most of the vines came from French nurseries and the varietals were almost totally French varietals. There was not much room left for planting Italian varietals. That will not change anytime soon. Growers will not pull out proven French varietals to make room Italian varietals without much of a track record either in the terroir or with consumers. If someone here were to plant Grechetto, a well-known white in northern Italy, it might be a hard sell.
The most widely planted white grape in the Okanagan is Pinot Gris. In Italy, the varietal is called Pinot Grigio. A handful of British Columbia wineries release whites under the Italian name as a way to indicate that the wine, as in Italy, is light, fruity and refreshing. In the terroir of the Okanagan, Pinot Gris usually is a more robust wine; some wineries even ferment or age it in oak. Among others, the new High Note winery on Naramata Road offers a Pinot Grigio because the owner, Bert Evertt, once was a professional opera singer in Italy.
The Italian flag in the Okanagan usually is waved by small acreages of Italian varietals. One fine example is Trebbiano. In Italy, there is a family of varietals sharing that name – so many that Ian D’Agata devotes 10 pages to the group in his masterful Native Wine Grapes of Italy. The winery known today as Hester Creek was founded as Divino Estate Winery by Joe Busnardo, a native of Treviso in northern Italy. He established the vineyard in the Okanagan in 1968, planting only vinifera varietals. He may have tested more than 100 to see what would succeed, often getting vine cuttings from Italy (probably in a traveller’s suitcase). Divino ultimately released wines made with Gargenega, Malvasia and Trebbiano. Only the latter remains - and is a flagship white in the Hester Creek portfolio. It is a superb varietal but, to the best of my knowledge, no one else is growing it.
Another significant white Italian varietal in the Okanagan is Arneis, produced exclusively by Moon Curser Vineyards in Osoyoos. Chris Tolley (above), the winery’s co-proprietor, released 533 cases from the 2022 vintage, so well-made that I scored it 92 points. Moon Curser also produced 839 cases of Dolcetto, an Italian red. Chris has family roots in northern Italy, which partly accounts for his interest in these varietals. Stag’s Hollow Winery also makes wines from small blocks of Dolcetto and Teroldego. I am not sure what motivated the planting of those varietals. Stag’s Hollow grows enough Dolcetto that it could release 179 cases of rosé and 237 cases of red wine this spring. The planting of Teroldego, a red varietal, is tiny. Only 72 cases were released from the 2021 vintage.
Evan Saunders (above), the winemaker at Blasted Church, has had a short but good run with Italian varietals from the Mariposa Vineyard in the Similkameen. Through several recent vintages, the winery got small quantities of Nebbiolo, Lagrein, Refosco and Teroldego. After the 2021 vintage, Mission Hill proprietor Anthony von Mandl purchased the vineyard and the grapes now go his new Red Barn winery. Blasted Church, however, has planted about an acre of Nebbiolo at its Skaha Lake vineyard. Bonamici Cellars near Okanagan Falls, one of whose owners is Mario Rodi, has a collection of wines designated as La Famiglia Collection from its own vineyard. The varietals include Sangiovese, Barbera and Pinot Grigio. To the best of my knowledge, there is small block of Barbera Tightrope Winery & Vineyard on the Naramata Bench and another small block at the Sandhill vineyard on Black Sage Road.
Also on the Naramata Bench, Sal D’Angelo (above) at D’Angelo Vineyards in 2018 planted Montepulciano, the red varietal native to the Abruzzo region in east-central Italy, where Sal was born in 1953. The winery’s current release has some Merlot in the blend, largely because Sal needed to fill up a tank. The wine is delici0us; many wineries in Italy are now using Merlot in red blends.
There is probably more Sangiovese than any other Italian red varietal in the Okanagan, with the first grower to plant it being Jim Wyse,(above) the founder of Burrowing Owl Vineyards. “It was my idea to investigate planting the Italian varietals,” he told me. “I forget the exact year, but it would have been about 1999, the year we did most of the planting on the 72-acres leased from the Osoyoos Indian Band, at the back of our vineyard. it was my desire to see if we could ripen any Italian varieties, so we picked three (Sangiovese, Barbera, and Nebbiolo), and planted 4 rows of each in our ‘experimental’ section. After about 3 years we determined that Nebbiolo was not going to ripen here, but the other two seemed to be doing well. He continues: “As I recall, we made cuttings from the Sangiovese and Barbera, and sent these to a nursery in Niagara for grafting onto rootstock. I think it was 2002 or thereabouts when we sold that 72-acre leased patch to Calona Wines. The Italian vines were still too young to have produced any grapes at that point, and as a result Burrowing Owl never made an Italian wine.” Calona established Sandhill Wines on that property. Howard Soon, the longtime Sandhill winemaker, included Sangiovese in Sandhill’s lineup of single vineyard wines. Today, there are 3.69 acres of Sangiovese and 3.44 acres of Barbera in the Sandhill vineyard.
LaStella Winery also has Sangiovese in one of its Osoyoos vineyards. Winemaker Severine Pinte (above) uses it in a number of blends. Fortissimo is a blend of 54% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Sangiovese. Classico D’Osoyoos 2020 is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc. Espressivo 2020 is a 40% Cabernet Franc, 27% Merlot, 22.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10.5% Sangiovese. These can all be described as “Super Tuscans”. LaStella releases a Pinot Grigio under the label, Vivace, and a light sparkling wine called Moscato d’Osoyoos.
Still coming is a blend containing Sangiovese made by Hester Creek. “We will also be releasing our first Super Tuscan in 2025 as we harvested our first ever vintage of Sangiovese in 2022 and it is in barrel now,” says Kimberley Pylatuk, the winery’s public relations co-ordinator. “There will be more to say about this wine as it comes closer to a release date, but as of now, it still has at least another year to go in barrel.”
I am tempted to include Sovereign Opal, the white varietal developed at the Summerland research station and released in 1976. My impulse to call it an Italian varietal is because grower John Casorso has it exclusively in his vineyard and sells it just to Calona and latterly to Sandhill. He is descended from Giovanni Casorso, one of the first Italian immigrants to the Okanagan. This is a pioneering Okanagan agricultural family, established in the valley by Giovanni (John) Casorso (1848-1932), who was born near Turin, Italy, and who arrived in the Okanagan (after a short stop in San Francisco) in 1883 to work as an agriculturist at the Father Pandosy mission. He homesteaded land south of Mission Creek in 1884 to which he brought his young family from Italy. By the 1930s the Casorso family were raising livestock and selling it through a chain of retail stores in the British Columbia Interior. Giovanni Casorso also was one of the major tobacco growers when that crop flourished in the Okanagan in the 1920s; and was so successful with onions that he was crowned Onion King one year.
In November 1931 when Guiseppe Ghezzi conceived what was to become Calona Wines, he formed a syndicate to raise $10,000 for what was called the Interior Co-operative Association. The investors included Napoleon Peter Casorso and his sister, Mary, and possibly (the documentation is ambiguous) Giovanni Casorso, who was a member of the Syndicate until he died in April 1932. When the syndicate needed more money, it engaged the Capozzi family who has full control of the winery by 1961. The Capozzi strategy, which grew Calona Wines dramatically in that decade, was to emulate what the Gallo brothers were doing in California. Tom Capozzi even tried to get Gallo to invest in Calona. Giovanni Casorso’s son Charles is credited in the family history with planting a vineyard on a thirty-five acre property at Rutland in 1925. Two other sons, Napoleon Peter and Louis, planted grapes on the family's home property, Pioneer Ranch, subsequently managed by son-in-law Bert Sperling. Grandson August and now great-grandson John continues to grow grapes near Kelowna. Great-granddaughter Ann Sperling (below) -- her mother Velma was Peter's daughter -- became a winemaker and, with her siblings, founded Sperling Vineyard in 2008 at the Pioneer Ranch. The long Casorso involvement in Okanagan winemaking was ended, at least partially, when Anthony von Mandl bought the winery a few years ago. He has kept the Sperling winery open. The Kelowna Canadian Italian Club has a lot of Italian heritage to celebrate.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Blasted Church's Nebbiolo and friends

Photo: Blasted Church winemaker Evan Saunders
In its 21-year history, Blasted Church Vineyards has had some of the Okanagan’s most memorable labels. It began in 2002 when founders Chris and Evelyn Campbell bought what was then called Prpich Hills Winery. They hired the Vancouver marketing consultant Bernie Hadley-Beauregard to rebrand the winery. He hit a home run with the Blasted Church name and the labels. Since then, the labels have been redesigned at least three times. The first two generations were colourful caricatures, some of which were exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The current labels draw their inspiration from the religious art of the Renaissance.
The Blasted Church name comes from how the movers took apart a church in 1929 when relocating it to Okanagan Falls from the abandoned mining town of Fairview. They loosened the nails in the heavy timbers with a small dynamite charge. The church still serves a congregation in Okanagan Falls. That story provided a narrative for many of the labels. The labels, in turn, have kept alive the conversations about the wines even as the Campbells exited the business. The current majority owner is Sean Morrison.
For proof that labels are effective, just ask Evan Saunders, the winemaker at Blasted Church. “The first wine I started drinking consistently at University of Victoria was Hatfield’s Fuse,” Evan says, referring to a popular Blasted Church white blend. “I walked into a wine store. The colours [on the label] were bright, and it caught my eye. It is a funny coincidence that I ended up here.” Born in Manitoba in 1984, Evan took a microbiology degree, originally to prepare for medicine until an interest in wine took over. In 2011, he went to Brock University for a diploma in grape and wine technology. He returned immediately to the Okanagan and spent three years at Osoyoos Larose before moving to Blasted Church in 2014.
Here are notes on the wines.
Blasted Church Viognier 2022 ($24 for 973 cases). The winemaking for this wine is quite involved: fruit from two Osoyoos vineyards as well as from the estate vineyard on the Skaha Bluff. A portion of the grapes had skin contact to increase the aromas and the mouth feel. A quarter of the wine was fermented in barrel; the rest was fermented in stainless steel. The wine begins with aromas of peach, pineapple and apricot. The flavours offer a medley of orchard fruits including apricot, mango, peach and green apple. 91.
Blasted Church Bible Thumper 2022 ($30 for 96 cases). This wine is in the Small Blessings Series. It is estate-grown Viognier but has been fermented in French oak barrels (50% new, 50% second-fill). It was aged eight months on the lees in barrel; and two more months in barrel after being racked from the lees. The wine begins with aromas of apricot and pineapple. The palate is rich, almost honeyed, with flavours of stone fruits. The finish is very long. 92.
Blasted Church Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon 2022 ($28 for 490 cases). This is 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Sémillon. If I interpret the specifications correctly, there were two sources of Sauvignon Blanc and one of Sémillon, all picked and fermented separately in neutral French oak barrels and aged on the lees for six months. The wines were all blended into stainless steel, where they rested for two months. The wine begins with aromas of lime mingled with herbs and sage. The palate delivers flavours of lemon and lime along with a hint of green apple. 90.
Blasted Church Merlot 2021 ($34 for 385 cases). The fruit came from the estate’s 30-year-old vines. There are several distinct blocks which are managed separately and fermented separately, to be blended in the cellar. Three to four weeks of maceration have given this wine depth of colour and flavour, all of it polished with 18 months of barrel-aging (30% new oak, 70% second-fill). The wine begins with aromas of cassis, blackberry and dark cherry, all of which is echoed on the palate, mingled with blueberry. 91.
Blasted Church Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 ($36 for 1,675 cases.) This is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. Fruit was sourced from vineyards in Osoyoos, Oliver and the estate; all was fermented separately with 18 to 28 days of skin contact. The individual wines were racked into French oak (30% new) for 12 months; then racked into stainless steel and blended; and returned to barrels for six more months. The wine begins with aromas of cassis and dark cherry. The palate delivers flavours of dark fruits mingled with chocolate, all wrapped around long, ripe tannins. 91.
Blasted Church Mourvedre Syrah Grenache 2021 ($40 for 300 cases). Another Small Blessings wine, this is 35% Mourvedre, 33% Syrah and 32% Grenache. The grapes were destemmed to tank, with the varieties co-fermented on the skins for 20 days. The wine was aged 16 months in puncheon and mostly neutral oak. The wine begins with aromas of dark fruits with a hint of pepper. On the palate, there are flavours of cherries, plums, figs and pepper. 92.
Blasted Church Nebbiolo 2021 ($40 for 25 cases). This wine is in the Small Blessings tier. The grapes are from a small block in the Mariposa Vineyard in the Similkameen. The heat-loving varietal is rare in British Columbia – but it seemed to have thrived in the 2021 heat dome. The grapes were destemmed into a clay amphora where they fermented and stayed on the skins for three months. The wine aged another 16 months in neutral oak. The wine begins with aromas of violets mingled with strawberry and leather. On the palate, it delivers flavours of cherry, pomegranate, red licorice and spice, with a persistent finish. 93.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Plot Wines: new Okanagan virtual winery

Photo: Vigneron/winemaker Kevin Rossion (credit Chris Stenberg)
Among the new small-lot producers that emerged in the Okanagan this year, Plot Wines stands out for, among other things, bold and funky labels. It is one way that the winery can differentiate itself from its 300 or so competitors. On occasion, the typography can be a bit confusing. When I first picked up the Viognier/Chardonnay blend, I read to label as Thistle. The actual label is Thick because the texture of the wine is so rich. Silly me: I thought Thistle was a charming name. And I liked the wine.
The funky labels appear to have emerged from the mind of one of the winery founders, Adam Kereliuk, who teamed by with vigneron and winemaker Kevin Rossion to create Plot. Adam runs a branding and creative studio in Kelowna, focussed on food and wine. The third partner at Plot is Jayme Donohoe, the winery’s marketing and sales director.
Kevin and I first met about five years when, as a vineyard manager, he was helping get Kaleden’s Lakeboat Vineyard & Winery up and running. He is a self-made man in the wine industry. Born in Belgium, he worked in France and then in Spain, where he ran a restaurant and met his wife in Barcelona. He came to British Columbia in 2009 and like it. “Belgium in summer is like Vancouver Island – it rains over 200 days a year,” Kevin told me. His father-in-law had vineyards in the Okanagan. Kevin learned viticulture there, eventually launching his own vineyard management company and consulting with various wineries. He began making wine in 2010, initially for personal consumption by his family. The first vintages for what has become Plot were made in 2018.
On its website, Plot says that “while [Kevin has] mostly taught himself about winemaking, there's been a couple special mentors along the way. His approach starts first in the vineyard, and carries through with a minimalist touch in the winery, striving to use as little intervention as possible.” He continues to manage vineyards, including his own in Kaleden where he grows Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo.
As to the winery’s name, there is a simple logic. “We select fruit from the best plots of land we can find,” the winery says. Here are notes on three current releases.
Plot Thick 2022 ($34 for 147 cases). This is 60% Viognier, 40% Chardonnay, barrel-fermented. The wine begins with aromas of apricot, vanilla and honey, leading to stone fruit flavours on the rick palate. The odd name was inspired by the weighty mouthfeel. 90.
Plot Tempranillo 2020 ($36 for 72 cases). This Spanish varietal is rare in the Okanagan. Kevin has a small plot in his Kaleden vineyard. The wine was fermented with wild yeast and was aged 15 months in neutral oak. There is bright fruit in both the aroma and the flavours: pomegranate, cherry, cranberry, with sage and spice on the finish. 89.
Plot Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 ($36 for 211 cases). Fermented with wild yeast, this wine was aged 15 months in French oak (42% two-year-old barrels, 58% neutral oak). The wine begins with aromas of cassis, leading to flavours of dark cherry, black currant and plum with notes of spice on the finish. 90.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Vasanti Estate Winery releases its first wines

Photo: Sidhu family (l-r): Vik, Davinder, Harb and Gordie (Melissa Bexton Photography
Vasanti Estate Winery, a new Okanagan producer just north of Oliver, has a creative approach to recruiting members for its wine club. Each of the first 40 members has his or her name on a plaque at the end of one of the 40 vineyard rows beside the winery. If any of member drops out, the next in line will get a plaque. As it happens, Vasanti has two wine clubs: Zephyr and Aurora. Each has plenty of inducements in addition to plaques.
Vasanti, which plans to open a tasting room next April, is owned and operated by the Sidhu family. The winery name is derived from a Punjabi concept meaning new beginnings and renewal. It was inspired by family scion Harb Sidhu’s decision in 1980 to come to the Okanagan from India. Here, he established himself in agriculture, first with an orchard and later with vineyards. The family now has about 20 acres of vineyard in the Oliver/Osoyoos area of the Okanagan. “We three brothers decided it was a good time to continue on his legacy and start the winery,” says Davinder Sidhu, who was born in 1988 and is the middle of the brothers. “We had always dreamt of a winery when we were younger. It has a sentimental value to us because we all grew up as kids at the location where the winery will be.”
The brothers all have careers outside the winery. Gordie, the oldest brother, is a financial planner while Vik, the youngest brother, is trained as a biologist. Mentored by Jason Parkes, the winery’s consulting winemaker, Vik is assuming many of the winery’s viticultural and cellar duties. He also looks after creative duties. The elegantly packaged wines testify to his creative talents.
Davinder is an optometrist and the owner of two clinics in Prince Rupert. But he was exposed to the wine industry when he was earning his first degree. “I got my biochemistry degree from UBC Okanagan,” he says. “I did research at UBC Okanagan and [the research station] in Summerland for methoxypyrazines in cool climate wines in 2010 and 2011, some of which was published.”
Then he trained as an optometrist at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, the oldest school for that speciality in the United States. “I had an interest in healthcare while I was at UBC,” he says. “Optometry allows for a good work life balance which would allow me to continue my other passions in life such as agriculture and wine.” He continues: “This passion project [the winery] means quite a lot to my family and myself. I am putting a lot of bandwidth into this long term. In terms of optometry, I love seeing patients but I have always had a sweet spot for farming. That is the way I was born and raised. My summers were spent on the farm; they were not spent at the beach, so it is in my blood.”
Winemaker Jason Parkes,(above) born in Kitimat in 1971, has one of the more colourful résumés in the industry. He led a “spacepunk” rock band called Glasshead and currently leads a New Wave band called Proper Man. Between bands, he took a vineyard job at Hainle Vineyards that led to a his flourishing winemaking career with a number of Okanagan producers and with his own label. His impressive list of clients includes Indigenous World Winery, The Hatch Winery and Lakeside Cellars. “We have been friends with him since we planted our first vines; and we have always sold grapes to him, so we developed a close relationship over time,” Davinder says. “We are all trying to learn from Jason as well. He wants to teach us how things are done and what his methods are.”
Four of the six wines in Vasanti’s current portfolio are reviewed here. The other two wines are a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon, not quite ready for release. Four more wines will be released next spring when the tasting room opens (by appointment). These are 2022 Gamay Noir, 2023 Gamay Noir Rosé, 2023 Pinot Gris and 2023 Sparkling Pinot Gris.
Here are notes on the four wines that were available for review.
Vasanti Chardonnay 2022 ($27.49). The fruit is from the Jagger Rock Vineyard near Cawston in the Similkameen Valley. The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel, accounting for the expressive fruit-forward style. It begins with aromas of lime. There is a big mouthful of orchard fruits on the palate, including citrus, green apple and pineapple. 91.
Vasanti Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2022 ($29.99). The fruit is from the west bench block of the winery’s Monarch Vineyard at Osoyoos. The grapes were pressed and the juice was allowed to settle for three days before fermenting and aging in stainless steel. The wine presents with a deep rose colour. It begins with aromas of watermelon, strawberry and plum. On the juicy palate, there are flavours of strawberry, cherry and red plum. 90.
Vasanti Cabernet Merlot 2021 ($36.99). This is a blend of 46.67% Cabernet Franc, 36% Merlot and 17.33% Cabernet Sauvignon. All of these wines were fermented in stainless steel tanks with three pump-overs on a daily basis. The wines were aged in barrels for 19 months. The Cabernet Franc was in new American oak; the Cabernet Sauvignon was 50% in new American oak, 50% in neutral oak; and the Merlot was aged in 25% new American oak and 75% in neutral oak. The wine begins with aromas of black cherry and cassis. The wine benefits from decanting, which opens up the rich texture and the flavours of black cherry, black currant and mocha. The finish is long. 92.
Vasanti Cabernet Franc 2021 ($39.99). This wine was aged 19 months in new American oak barrels. The oak is amazingly well integrated in the wine, which has a rich texture, aromas of blackberry, dark cherry and spice. On the palate, the flavours of dark cherry and blackberry mingle with chocolate and spice. Again, the finish is long. 92.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Red Rooster is closed due to a grape shortage

Photo: Red Rooster's elegant winery, now shuttered
If you dig deep into the website of Red Rooster Winery, you will be surprised to read that this Naramata Road winery is closed permanently. The closure was announced to the staff in August but not to the public. The wine shop and tasting room remained opened through the Thanksgiving weekend. The remaining portfolio is still available on line.
The reason for the closure is simple: the Okanagan’s vine-killing winter of 2022-23 caused a major shortage of grapes for the 2023 vintage. Even though Andrew Peller Ltd., Red Rooster’s owner, has extensive vineyards and growers in both the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, they did not produce a big enough harvest to support the winemaking capacity of all the Peller wineries. Because of winter damage, the total 2023 grape harvest is projected to average half of last year’s crop.
Unlike most of Peller’s BC wineries, Red Rooster, which Peller bought in 2005, is not attached to a large vineyard. The estate vineyard is just two acres of Malbec. Red Rooster have been supplied by Peller vineyards or growers elsewhere in the Okanagan and in the Similkameen. The wines needed for the future Red Rooster portfolio were made this fall at the Sandhill/Calona winery in Kelowna. “We are still evaluating our options for next season, hoping to find the best path forward but we will certainly keep the brand alive and supported,” a Peller spokesperson said. That is fortunate. Since Elaine Vickers became the winemaker in 2019, Red Rooster has been on the path of becoming one of the most innovative of Peller wineries.
What will become of the Red Rooster buildings has yet to be determined. Built in 2004, the winery was designed by Robert Mackenzie, the Okanagan’s leading winery architect.
Here are notes on the current wines.
b>Red Rooster Sparkling Rosé NV ($35 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, with some held back for further year of aging. 92.
Red Rooster Brut Traditional Method ($35). This is 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Chardonnay, predominantly from the 2018 vintage. The grapes were whole-cluster pressed. The varietals were fermented separately in stainless steel before the base wine was blended, with the addition of 3.5% of the 2017 vintage. The wine then did its second fermentation in bottle and stayed on the lees for 36 months before being disgorged. There is a touch of brioche in the aroma and on the palate, propelled by the active bubbles. There are aromas and flavours of apples; the finish is crisp. This is as elegant as a Champagne but half the price. 92.
Red Rooster Pinot 3 2021 ($25 for 1,115 cases). This is a blend of 29% Pinot Noir, 36% Pinot Gris and 35% Pinot Blanc. The wine begins with aromas of melon and stone fruits, leading to flavours of nectarine and orange. 90.
Red Rooster Pinot Noir 2021 ($29). The fruit for this wine is from two Oliver area vineyards and one Similkameen vineyard. The three batches were all fermented separately on the skins for two weeks. The Oliver wines were aged in French oak (4% new) while the Similkameen wine was aged in concrete. The wine has aromas and flavours of cherry, red currant and spice, with a hint of earthiness on the finish. The texture is silky. 90.
Red Rooster Golden Egg 2018 ($50 for 362 cases). This is the winery’s icon red, a blend of 45% Mourvedre, 33% Syrah and 22% Grenache. A medium-bodied Rhône-inspired wine with a polished texture, it begins with aromas of pepper and dark fruits, with figs and pepper on the palate. 93.