Thursday, October 13, 2011

Desert Hills and Snowy Tropics

Regular readers might have noticed that the posts have been rather slow in coming lately. It's not a case of our not tipping back a glass or two. Indeed, as we used to say after finishing all those university years - "I don't drink anymore. Problem is, I don't drink any less either." Life just seems to have caught up a bit with me lately - and, since the day job has nothing to do with wine and doesn't give me the luxury of time to keep up to date with the blog, I'm falling rather behind. If nothing else, all the extra-curricular activities should make for some interesting posts.

In the mean time though, I'm going to have to try some "express posting" and this double post might be a good place to start.

958. 2009 Arrowleaf - Snow Tropics Vidal (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Naturally, the first wine to be added to The List actually deserves a bit of commentary. I have to say that I'm most familiar with the Vidal grape as a varietal that is most notably used for producing many of Canada's famous ice wines - and that's how the Vidal grape showed up earlier on The List and made my Wine Century Club application. I don't see it that often as a varietal table wine - and definitely don't buy it as a regular quaff at home.

I grabbed a bottle of the Snow Tropics, however, when I saw that it won a Gold medal at the 2010 Northwest Wine Summit, Double Gold at the 2010 All Canadian Wine Championships and Platinum at the 2010 Wine Press Northwest Platinum Judging. Those are some hefty additions for any resumé - let alone for a wine that costs $15 at the winery.

There's little doubt that the nose belied an off-dry sweetness, but the wine still packed a nice acidity that rounded out the taste. Vidal is a hybrid grape that is primarily grown in Ontario, New York and, to an extent, here in BC in the Okanagan, largely because its thick skin helps lengthen the hang time for the fruit and makes it more suitable for cooler climate regions. The high acidity and fruitiness also makes it particularly adaptable for dessert wines and ice wines.

This bottle doesn't go as far with "the sweet" as a dessert wine but the residual sugar definitely stands out. Think about pairing it with spicy foods or just sipping it on the patio on a hot day. It won't take a batch of similar awards to prompt me to buy another vintage.

959. 2001 Desert Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (VQA Okanagan Valley)

The Desert Hills Cab didn't fare as nicely. This was likely one time that we waited too long before we opened the bottle. The wine wasn't corked but it was definitely lacking in any "ooompf" and I was rather expecting a little - as I generally find Desert Hills wines to be big and boisterous. In fact, if memory serves, I actually remember visiting the winery for the first time and having one of the Toor brothers say that there weren't pouring samples of the Cab anymore because there just wasn't enough left. However, he was so sure that we'd like the wine that he guaranteed our approval. If the wine didn't meet our expectations, he said he'd replace the bottle.

It's likely too late to say that the bottle didn't quite grab our attention. Seven years after the fact would likely be taking things a little too literally.

I do wish that we'd tried the wine so many years back though. If an owner is so proud of his wine that he'd guarantee you'd like it, there has to be something behind it. This isn't the first Desert Hills wine to be added to The List. I'm pretty sure it won't be the last either.

But now, to try and catch up on some of the downed soldiers I've yet to wax on about. Wish me luck.

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