Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why Not Another La Frenz?

Why not, indeed?

It wasn't long ago when I wrote that I figured La Frenz likely shows up on The List as much as any other winery. I took a quick look back and, if I'm not mistaken, this will be the 16th wine to be added. Guess it's safe to say that we like this little winery.

668. 2002 La Frenz Shiraz (Naramata Bench - Okanagan Valley)

And what's not to like about their Shiraz. Owner and winemaker, Jeff Martin, is an Aussie transplant. I don't know that his genetic make-up just automatically includes DNA for making great Shiraz, but he's certainly putting up a good argument for making such a case - and not just to me. Jurgen Gothe, one of Vancouver's best known wine scribes, wrote a glowing column about a library tasting of four La Frenz Shiraz vintages he had last year. He saved the 2002 for last and said "that the '02's proof that these wines really do age long and smooth."

It was certainly smooth enough, with the flavour necessary, to accompany Boo's surprise camel fajitas. No one may walk a mile for a camel anymore, but I'd sure as heck walk a few for a bottle of this wine.

I've written before about how Jeff Martin doesn't enter but a couple of wine competitions in a year. He'll tell you that, in his opinion, there's only a few that are representative enough to make them worth entering - his regulars including the All-Canadian Wine Championships and the North-West Wine Summit. True to form, he entered the '02 Shiraz in both contests in 2004 and he came away with a silver medal in each one.

The biggest problem with La Frenz wines is that the 8000 cases or so that are made disappear almost as quickly as they become available. There's been more than one occasion when we've driven by the vineyard gate only to find a big sign proclaiming that the tasting room is closed because there's no more wine to sell.

With wines like this, it's not hard to understand why. There may be a lot of La Frenz on The List already, but I can pretty much guarantee that there will be many more to come.

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