Monday, January 29, 2024

St. Hubertus joins Anthony von Mandl’s stable

Photo: Sellers Andy (left) and Leo Gebert (credit Suzanne Gebert)
Anthony von Mandl has added to his collection of choice properties in East Kelowna with his recent purchase of St. Hubertus Estate Winery and half of its historic vineyard. He already owns CedarCreek Estate Winery (purchased in 2014), Martin’s Lane Winery (opened in 2017), and Sperling Vineyards (purchased several years ago). His Mission Hill Family Winery also owns the John Simes vineyard almost across Lakeshore Road from St. Hubertus, along with vineyards on Dehart Road. "St. Hubertus has joined Iconic Wineries of British Columbia," confirms Mission Hill spokesman Ian Galbraith. "St. Hubertus is a family-run operation with a rich history of winemaking in the north Okanagan, dating back more than 40 years. We have the utmost admiration for everything the Gebert family has achieved, and we are committed to honouring the legacy of what their family has created in the Okanagan Valley." What all these properties have in common is that this is some of the Okanagan’s best terroir for Riesling and Pinot Noir. The vineyards are also certified organic.
Sperling and St. Hubertus are two of the most historic vineyards in East Kelowna. Both were planted in the late 1920s by J.W. Hughes. Clone 21B Riesling, now widely grown in the Okanagan, was first planted in these vineyards (and at what is now Tantalus Vineyards) in 1978. The St. Hubertus Vineyard was farmed for many years by Frank Schmidt, who had been a foreman for Hughes. The vineyard then was called the Beau Séjour Vineyard, a brand of Growers’ Wines which was buying the fruit. The vineyard was later purchased by Jurgen Mannhardt who emigrated in the mid-1970s from Angola. He died a few months after buying the property when his tractor rolled over on a steep slope. The Gebert Brothers, Leo and Andy, came from Switzerland in the mid-80s, purchased the property and opened the St. Hubertus winery in 1992.
In 2003, the winery found itself in the path of the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire which destroyed 239 homes in Kelowna. Before reaching the city limits, the fire swept through the St. Hubertus vineyard, razed the converted garage housing wine production, and destroyed the heritage house in which Leo and his family had been living. But it bypassed a new warehouse in which all the bottled wine, including the 2002 vintage, was stored. The brothers bounced back with remarkable resilience. They had a temporary wine shop open within a week. A permanent new shop opened at the beginning of October. They introduced two new labels, Glowing Amber and Fireman’s Red, with profits going to a local relief fund. And work had begun to replace both the winery and the home.
In the second edition of my 2004 book, The Wineries of British Columbia, I recounted the story. Both luck and good planning explain why St. Hubertus, a 10,000-case producer, hardly missed a beat. When the winery burned, the only wine lost was 2,000 litres (440 gallons) of port. All other wine from the previous vintage, including the 2002 icewine, was already bottled and stored in the new warehouse a few hundred yards from the winery. The warehouse, a corner of which became the new tasting room, was untouched by the fire. An older storage building nearby was turned into the new winery. And everything had been insured. “Leo is very religious about that,” Andy says of his brother. “Whenever new equipment arrives, it is always fully insured.” You would expect nothing less, since the brothers are Swiss. Leo was born in 1958 at Rapperswil, a picturesque agricultural community in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. He trained as a banker and then worked in the United States with a plastics fabricator. But as a student, he spent his summers in small Swiss vineyards and that fired his desire to be a farmer. “We are brothers, we married sisters, we are neighbours, we are business partners and that’s as close as any family ever should get together,” Andy smiles. “We are very different from each other -- I guess that’s one of the reasons why it works.” Andy, who was born in 1965, came to Canada in 1990 after a few years skippering yachts in the Caribbean. He has been an active winery partner since 1994.
The partnership began to unwind last fall. An online news service reported that Leo had sold his shares in the winery to his brother, Andy, who confirmed it to me at a wine tasting in Vancouver. Leo retained half of the 76-acre property with the intention of continuing to grow grapes. Some of the sustainable and organic certified grapes grown in the almost 100-year-old St. Hubertus Vineyard include Chasselas, a Swiss varietal which is a nod to the Gebert family’s heritage; the old vine Riesling which was planted 45 years ago, Gamay Noir and other assorted varietals.
As is the usual practice, there has been no comment from Von Mandl, or privately-held Mission Hill or Sebastian Farms, his vineyard holding company. “This is the vineyard side of the business, and from this vintage (2021) is 100% certified organic,” British wine writer Jamie Goode wrote three years ago. “This has singlehandedly pushed the overall percentage of organically farmed vineyards in the Okanagan from 4% up to 17%. For those wanting to make high-end Okanagan wines, vineyard ownership is important, because otherwise you end up relying on growers. Such is the demand for fruit in the Okanagan, you can’t really dictate terms when you are looking to buy fruit as the growers can just sell it to someone else if you make too many demands of them. The Sebastian Farms vineyard resource is shared among all these wineries, which is a huge advantage.”
Von Mandl’s collection of Okanagan wineries, now under the banner Iconic Wineries of British Columba, is a group of stellar producers. In addition to CedarCreek, Martin’s Lane and Sperling, they include Road 13 Vineyards (purchased 2018), Liquidity Wines, CheckMate Artisanal Winery, Red Barn Winery at Jagged Rock. In a tasting three years ago, Goode wrote highly of the group. “Stylistically, I’ve been really impressed by the stylistic direction taken by the IWBC group. Each of the wineries has its own personality, but the shared family values are wines that express their place, without reliance on excessive ripeness or make-up such as too much new oak.”
It remains to be seen whether St. Hubertus was purchased for the vineyard or whether it will become another iconic winery. Currently, the St. Hubertus website has been taken down.  

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Chaberton delivers excellent value

Photo: Winemaker Gary Zhygailo
Langley’s Chaberton Estate Winery stands apart from many of its competitors for the eye-popping affordability of its wines, including two wines currently selling at $15 a bottle. I am telling all my wine-drinking friends to snap up these bargains while they last.
This was the first winery to be established in the Fraser Valley. The founders were Claude and Inge Violet, who had come to Canada from France in 1979. Claude’s family had been in the wine and spirits business for generations. One of Claude’s ancestors created an enormously successful digestive drink called Byrrh. Claude’s father merged the business with that of two competitors, a deal that left the Violet family more than comfortable. Claude chose the Fraser Valley rather than the Okanagan because of its milder maritime climate (the hard winter of 1978–79 had just devastated Okanagan vineyards). He bought a farm south of Langley, almost on the US border, and bulldozed the soil into a gentle south-facing slope for the vineyard, almost 50 acres in size. He started planting in 1982 with Bacchus vines imported from a nursery in Germany, a variety bred a decade earlier to mature in cool climates. It became the winery’s flagship white.
The Violets (who have since died) sold the winery in 2004 to a wine-loving Hong Kong businessman, Anthony Cheng, and his partner, Vancouver lawyer Eugene Kwan. Anthony’s refined palate is reflected in the only expensive wine in the portfolio, a $70 red blend called AC. Anthony has often had a hand in putting the blend together. Since the Fraser Valley is no place to grow big reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah, Chaberton buys grapes from an extensive network of growers in the interior. Those growers include the legendary Sam Baptiste who manages Inkameep Vineyards at Oliver. I was surprised to find a grape called Chancellor, a red hybrid, in the Chaberton Red blend. I thought it had all been pulled out in 1988 even though it was one of the better hybrids. It turns out that Sam still grows a bit and Chaberton found a home for it. It was Claude Violet who started buying Okanagan grapes. Chaberton’s early portfolio was all white wines. The winery opened just as the “French Paradox” craze for red wines made it hard to sell whites. Claude sponsored a grower on Black Sage Road to plant red varietals just in time to save Chaberton’s commercial prospects.
Over the years, Chaberton has employed several winemakers, notably Elias Phiniotis, a well-known consulting winemaker from the Okanagan. Currently, Chaberton’s winemaker is Gary Zhygailo who is, to the best of my knowledge, the only Ukrainian-trained winemaker in British Columbia. Gary (an Anglicized version of his given name, Gennadi) grew up in a wine region not far from the Black Sea. He earned a bachelor’s degree in food science in 2002 from the Odessa National Academy of Food Technologies, followed by a master’s degree in Fermentation and Winemaking Technology in 2003. He then began working as a cellar hand with a large Ukrainian winery and was the cellar manager in 2009. Before joining Chaberton in 2016 as a cellar assistant, he worked in several areas of the wine industry, including as an oenologist and technical sales representative for a French producer of oenology equipment. At Chaberton, he soon was promoted to chief winemaker. Look for him at the Chaberton table at the Vancouver International Wine Festival at the end of February where he will be pouring, among other wines, the AC blend. Here are notes of some of the current wines.
Chaberton White 2022 ($14.95). The blend for this wine changes from year to year, no doubt challenging (or stimulating) the winemaker. Sixteen different white varietals are in this blend with Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Madeleine Angevine, Siegerrebe, Sovereign Opal, Madeleine Angevine and Riesling leading the troop. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of fruit in the aroma and the palate, including peach, pear and citrus. A quaffable and very affordable wine. 90.
Chaberton Gewürztraminer 2022 ($18.95 for 506 cases). There is five per cent Siegerrebe to turbocharge what is already a spicy varietal. The winemaker gave the grapes short skin contact to further extract aromas and flavours. The wine begins with aromas of spice and rose petals. On the palate, there are flavours of lemon, tangerine orange and ginger. The finish is persistent. There is a touch of residual sugar but the wine is very well balanced, with a refreshing finish. 90.
Chaberton Estate Grown Bacchus 2022 ($18.95). Made with fruit from the estate vineyard, this is a flagship white at Chaberton. It has aromas and flavours of lime and lemon meringue pie. The bright acidity is well-balanced; the wine has a crisp finish. 90.
Chaberton Pinot Gris 2022 ($18.95 for 1,778 cases). Cold-soaked on the skins for 23 hours to give this wine a hue the winery calls “sunset coral.” Nine per cent of Chardonnay is in the blend. The fruit was co-fermented in stainless steel and aged two months on the lees. The wine begins with aromas of pear and apple. The juicy palate delivers flavours of peach, grapefruit and cantaloupe, also a result of prolonged time on the skins. 9o.
Chaberton Pink 2022 ($18.95 for 1,056 cases). The blend is 71% Zweigelt, 13% Viognier, 8% Chardonnay and 8% Madeleine Sylvaner/Gewürztraminer/Pinot Gris. The Zweigelt Viognier blend underwent 48 hours of skin contact together to obtain that deep pink colour. The free run juice was joined by Chardonnay and Madeleine Sylvaner. The wine was fermented for 15 days at moderate temperatures and aged one month on the lees in stainless steel. The wine has aromas of raspberry and cherry, leading to flavours of strawberry, rhubarb and watermelon. 89.
Chaberton Valley Chardonnay 2021 ($18.95 for 501 cases). This wine was made with Okanagan fruit. It was aged on the lees in stainless steel for five months, and then racked into stainless steel for 12 months to preserve the body and floral notes. There are aromas of apple leading to flavours of apple and stone fruit. 89.
Chaberton Barrel Aged Chardonnay 2021 ($23.50 for 237 cases). Made with Okanagan fruit, this wine was fermented in barrel and aged nine months on the lees in Burgundy barrels (40% new), while undergoing malolactic fermentation. The wine has aromas of butter, vanilla, coconut and ripe apple. On the rich palate, the flavours echo the aromas and lead to a long, satisfying finish. 91.
Chaberton Red 2021 ($14.95). This is undoubtedly the best bargain BC red on the market. The winery released it in a variety of sizes, from a 250 ml can to a 16-litre package. The price here is for 750 ml. The wine is a blend of 31% Chancellor, 25% Merlot, 11% each of Cabernet Franc and Gamay, 7% each of Cabernet Foch and Pinotage, 6% Zweigelt and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a juicy, drinkable wine with aromas and flavours of cherries, plums, spice and oak. 89.
Chaberton Merlot 2019 ($26.95 for 1,007 cases). There is 5% Cabernet Franc blended into this wine. 33% of wine was aged in brand new oak and 67% in neutral oak for 24 months. The wine begins with aromas of cassis and blueberry. The palate is packed with fruit, including dark cherry and black currant, with notes of chocolate and cedar on the finish. 92.
Chaberton Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 ($26.95 for 765 cases). This wine is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 8% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged 29 months in barrel (71% new, 29% neutral oak). This is a big wine, beginning with aromas of cassis and dark fruits, echoed on the palate with flavours of plum, dark cherry and black currant. The tannins are long and polished. 91.
Chaberton Meritage 2019 ($28.95 for 686 cases). The blend is 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot/Malbec. Long barrel-aging has polished the ripe tannins. The wine has aromas and flavours of cassis, blueberry, cherry and spice. 91.
Chaberton Syrah 2019 ($32 for 288 cases). This is 88% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged for 26 months in new oak barrels (70% American, 30% French). This is a bold wine with aromas of cloves, dark cherry and chocolate. The rich palate delivers flavours of cherry, blueberry, fig and pepper. 93.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Painted Rock Estate Winery turns 20

Photo: Painted Rock's John Skinner in wine shop.
Painted Rock Estate Winery’s Lauren Skinner has just assembled what she calls a walk down memory lane to celebrate the winery’s 20th anniversary. An increasing number of wineries have also begun celebrating significant anniversaries, a mark of the growing maturity of the British Columbia wine industry. I was there at the start of Painted Rock by interviewing Lauren’s father, John, to include him in the second edition of The Wineries of British Columbia, which was published in 2004. I have had numerous subsequent interviews and tastings with him for increasingly detailed profiles in all my wine books since then. I recognized from the start that John would be one of our leading vintners.
Here is what I wrote in 2004: As this book was going to press, bulldozers had just finished contouring a vineyard site on Lakeside Road, just south of Penticton, for the most exciting winery not yet open. In the spring of 2004, John Skinner, a Vancouver stockbroker, marked his 45th year by purchasing a 25-hectare (62-acre) property previously owned by Hillside Estate Winery but not developed. The winery is projected to open about 2010. “That dovetails very nicely with my retirement from the brokerage industry,” Skinner says. The property is immediately south of the Pentâge winery, on a bench that looks westward over Skaha Lake and is bounded on the east by high rock bluffs. This once was part of Braeside Farms, one of the largest apricot farms in the world, but the property has been idle for more than a decade. About two-thirds of the area is suitable for vines. Skinner leans toward planting primarily Bordeaux red varieties but only after getting the best viticultural advice he can. “I’ve always deferred to the experts,” he says. “I’m going to hire good, smart people.” Skinner, who grew up in Comox, was attracted to winegrowing through the experiences of winemaking friends in the Napa Valley. He is planning to build what he calls a “destination” winery with a restaurant attached to the tasting room. It will be a few years before work begins on the architecturally-designed winery. “I am looking at developing this carefully,” he says. “Time is on my side.”
Lauren writes: “The name Painted Rock was chosen to honour both the 500+ year-old pictographs discovered behind the property and the distinctive rock faces that are so uniquely important to the vineyard.” The vineyard was planted, beginning in 2005, with the major Bordeaux varietals plus Syrah and Chardonnay. The vines came from a nursery in France. The project attracted a leading Bordeaux consultant, Alain Sutre, who continues to advise Painted Rock.
“I will tell you how Alain found me,” John told me in one interview. “Alain heard about me from the nursery in Bordeaux. I had contacted the nursery directly because I wanted to get very specific clones. A year later, Alain showed up at the vineyard one day when we had just planted. He introduced himself and said, ‘I love what you have planted here, but no one in the Okanagan knows how to blend these clones.’ That was the beginning of the journey.”
The debut vintage was 2007. The wines were released in the fall of 2009 at the October Fall Wine Festival. Lauren writes: “Painted Rock was named ‘Best New Winery’ and was the talk of the room.” The following year, winery won two awards at the Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wine, the first time a winery had won these prestigious awards for wines from its first vintage. In 2011, at the Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards, Painted Rock was named the Number One winery in B.C. and Number Three in Canada. Since those awards, Painted Rock has accumulated a long list of awards in Canadian and international competitions. The wines have been lauded by such experts as the late Stephen Spurrier. Articles about Painted Rock have appeared in such publications as Decanter and Le Monde.
Lauren does not mention it in her memory lane notes, but her father assiduously worked the wine markets in Europe, getting Painted Rock into top wine lists there. In my view, this has been beneficial not only to Painted Rock but the overall reputation of British Columbia wines in international markets.
Gabriel Reis (above), Painted Rock’s winemaker since 2009, makes seriously good wines. The flagship here is a Bordeaux blend that the winery, never one to be overly modest, calls Red Icon. I have reviewed most vintages of Red Icon. I featured the wine in my 2017 book, Icon: Flagship Wines from BC’s Best Wineries. Alain Sutre has been involved in blending every vintage of Red Icon. I have always scored the wine consistently highly. Here are examples of recent reviews:
Painted Rock Red Icon 2014 ($55). This is 33% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 19% Malbec, 16% Petit Verdot and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon. Once again, it was aged 18 months in French oak (30% new), accounting for the svelte, polished texture of its long, ripe tannins. It begins with aromas of black cherry, black currant, spice and vanilla. The palate is rich, with flavours of black cherry and black currant mingled with notes of blackberry, mocha, tobacco, vanilla and spice. The wine, if decanted, is accessible now but is built to age for 10 or 15 years. 94.
Painted Rock Red Icon 2015 ($54.99 for 1,487 cases). This blend is 45% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc, 11% Malbec, 11% Petit Verdot and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine begins with aromas of black cherry, cassis and vanilla which are echoed in the flavours. The texture is rich and concentrated, backed by long ripe tannins. On the finish, mocha and coffee mingle with spicy dark fruit. Decanting helps open up the aromas and flavours. It would be preferable to let it blossom in bottle for five or 10 years before opening it. 94.
Painted Rock Red Icon 2016 ($54.99). The wine is a blend of 45% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc, 11% Malbec, 11% Petit Verdot and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was aged 18 months in French oak (30% new). The wine begins with aromas of blackberry, cassis and spice. The flavours are redolent with black cherry, blueberry and black raspberry mingled with subtle notes of chocolate. The tannins are long and silky. 95.
Painted Rock Red Icon 2018 ($59.99). The blend is 56% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Malbec and 8% Petit Merlot. The wine was aged 18 months in French oak (30% new). 94.
Painted Rock Red Icon 2019 ($79.99). The blend for Painted Rock’s flagship is 42% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 15% Petit Verdot, 14% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The batches were aged in French oak (30% new) for 18 months, with blending prior to bottling. The wine begins with bold aromas of dark cherry, cassis and chocolate. On the palate, there are flavours of dark cherry, blackberry, blueberry and spice. The tannins are long and elegant. Bright acidity gives the wine a refreshing fruit on the finish. 94.
Painted Rock Red Icon 2020 ($79.99). This wine, which is also available in magnums and doble magnums, is a blend of 39% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Franc, 14% Petit Verdot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Malbec. The various batches were aged 18 months in French oak (30% new) prior to blending. This is a cerebral wine beginning with aromas of spice, black cherry and black currant. On the palate, there are layers of dark fruits – black cherry, blackberry, plum and blueberry – mingled with spice and notes of chocolate. The tannins are firm but the extra year of bottle age has polished the texture. Decant for immediate consumption or lay it down for a decade or so. 95.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Da Silva celebrates its Portuguese heritage.

Photo: Twylla and Richard da Silva (photo courtesy of the winery)
Richard da Silva was perhaps too clever by half, as the cliché goes, when he and Twylla, his wife, launched a wine brand in 2006 and called it Misconduct. The idea was to bring attention to the wines with shadowy gangster-era stories about the winery and its origins. I even bought into the fiction in one of my tour guides. Here is an excerpt:
As Richard da Silva tells the story, the partners behind this winery are members of a “clandestine syndicate” called The Uncrushables. His and his wife, Twylla Field, are the partners the public sees. The others are friends and members of the da Silva family, farmers and grape growers in the Okanagan since arriving from Portugal in 1956. Keeping the names of partners confidential is mostly about marketing the 1920s image of gangsters, hot jazz and good times that Misconduct uses to differentiate itself from other wineries. Some of the labels recall Prohibition-era gangsters. “The St. Valentine’s Massacre Rosé is a play on the story behind the St. Valentine’s Day massacre,” Richard says. In 1929 gunmen associated with Al Capone shot seven men associated with a rival. “The wine is the bleed from seven of our varietals, representing the seven guys that Al Capone whacked.” Richard was born in 1971, growing up on a farm. “The reason the winery is called Misconduct Winery is that in my early twenties, I was a nightmare to society,” Richard admits. “I was one those guys who was a rebel.”
Even Richard finally objected to the gangster guff in my books, even though he was the source. I wish he had told me more about the rich history of his family. That made it into my last Tour Guide in 2020. When it became evident that the gangster guff was out of step with the quality wines he was making, he took the winery back to his family’s genuine Portuguese roots. After setting itself up in a sprawling heritage house on Upper Bench Road near Penticton, the winery has rebranded as Da Silva Vineyards & Winery and attached Portuguese terms to its three tiers of wine: Tradicional, Vinhedo and Legado. Tradicional’s meaning is obvious. The well-priced volume wines in this range have traditional Portuguese names, like Vinho Branco (white wine), Vinho Tinto (red) and Cor de Rosa (rosé). Vinhedo is Portuguese for vineyard. Legado means legend.
Richard comes from a family of immigrants with farming and wine-growing history dating back several centuries in Portugal. As the winery says on its website, the family arrived in the Okanagan in 1955 “with only a suitcase in hand.” “From our humble beginnings in Canada, our family’s hard work and farming expertise gave us the opportunity to buy our first family orchard on the Naramata Bench in 1959,” the narrative continues. “With over 65 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.” He pays close attention to terroir, taking fruit from as many as nine vineyards in the South Okanagan, including two near Penticton that he and Twylla farm. The latitude and longitude of the vineyards is detailed on the bottles.
These are well-made wines. Richard was among the vintners at last fall’s Swirl Around BC tasting in Vancouver and he will be at the Vancouver International Wine Festival at the end of February. I visited his table in the fall and I hope to get to him again in February. Meanwhile, here are notes on the seven wines Richard poured last fall. Five are from the mid-tier Vinhedo series and two represent the premium Legado series. Almost all of these will also be poured at the International Festival as well, including the ultra-premium Legado Nobreza. If you don’t get to the festival, consider visiting the winery some time this year. And make a reservation to dine at The Kitchen, the independently run restaurant here.
Da Silva Chenin Blanc 2022 ($35.99 for 344 cases). The fruit is from the winery’s Hidden Hollow Vineyard where Richard and Twylla are the growers. The wine, which was fermented and aged in stainless steel, is crisp, has aromas and flavours of lemon and apple. 90.
b>Da Silva Chardonnay 2022 ($33.99 for 286 cases). This wine was made with fruit from two Penticton-area vineyards. The wine was fermented in stainless steel and aged six weeks on the lees in new French oak. The wine begins with aromas of vanilla and spice. It is crisp, with flavours of apple and pear. 91.
Da Silva Pinot Noir 2021 ($44.99 for 350 cases). The fruit is from two Penticton area vineyards. The wine was fermented in open-top fermenters and aged 24 months in French and Hungarian oak barrels. The wine appeals with aromas and flavours of bright fruit, notably cherry and cranberry. 90.
Da Silva Legado Series Pinot Noir 2020 ($69.99 for 131 cases). The fruit is from what Richard and Twylla call “our prized Blenheim Hill” vineyard near Penticton as well as from grower-owned Lazy Dog Vineyard, also near Penticton. The wine was fermented in open-top fermenters and aged 20 months in French and American oak barrels. It is a more muscular wine than the 2021 Pinot Noir, which comes from the same vineyards. It has aromas and flavours of dark cherry mingled with spice and notes of forest floor. 92.
Da Silva Cabernet Franc 2019 ($44.99 for 154 cases). The winery also has a 2020 Cabernet Franc in its portfolio. Both are made with fruit from a grower vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench. This wine was fermented in open top fermenters and aged 24 months in American (60%) and French (40%) barrels. The wine has aromas and flavours of blackberry, black currant, vanilla and spice. 90.
Da Silva Cabernet Sauvignon 2020($47.99 for 174 cases). The fruit for this wine is from a grower vineyard near Oliver. The wine was fermented in open-top fermenters and aged 20 months in French and American oak barrels (50% each). It is a big wine with aromas of cassis and flavours of plum, dark cherry and black currant. 91.
Da Silva Legado Series Nobreza 2019 ($104.99 for 179 cases). This is a blend of 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged 26 months in French and American oak barrels. Nobreza is Portuguese for noble. The winery says this wine is the best wine that they made in that excellent vintage. The fruit is from four different vineyards, two near Penticton and two near Oliver. The wine was aged 26 months in French and American oak. Rich and full on the palate, this age-worthy wine has aromas and flavours of dark fruit. The finish is very long. 94.