Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Old Faves and Some New Ones Found

Once we'd had our fill of Red Rooster's endless offerings, we wanted to take in at least a couple of other wineries on the Naramata Bench since it had been a couple of years since any of us had visited. Our first stop was to be LaFrenz but there was a big "Sold Out" sign greeting us at the driveway. This was the weekend after the Okanagan Wine Festival; so, I suppose it's not surprising that their remaining wines would have been snapped up during that week.

We did manage to find some wine still at perennial fave, Poplar Grove. I was darned pleased to find that they still had a bit of the Syrah, that was a particular pleasure at the BC Wine Appreciation Society summer picnic, still for sale. I'll be looking forward to adding that to The List in due course. And speaking of courses - cheese, in fact - I can never leave Poplar Grove without buying all sorts of their excellent cheeses.

We only had time for two more quick stops at two wineries that I'd never been to previously - Howling Bluff and Laughing Stock. Both are putting out highly acclaimed wines, so it was good to finally get a chance to visit them personally.

Back at the house, there was just enough time for a short hike or a peaceful, relaxing nap. Taylor took the hike - and it was no doubt "peaceful and relaxing" as well - but I chose nap. Tyrant went to work on getting dinner prepped. What a guy.

By the time Taylor returned, it had been well over an hour or so since our last sip, so we cracked the day's first addition to The List.

236. 2003 Tinhorn Creek Oldfield's Reserve Merlot (Golden Mile - Okanagan)

I mentioned "cracked open" because Tinhorn Creek was one of the first BC wineries to bottle almost all of their wines - white and red - under screw cap. 2003 was the first vintage that the winery put all their signature Merlot under Stelvin.

It would have been easy to just open one of the day's purchases. Bringing wine with us on this trip might be seen as a bit like "carrying coal to Newcastle," but I'd figured that most of the reds we'd be buying would be nice with a bit of aging, so I brought this bottle along as an offering to the pot.

There are a number of things that I like about Tinhorn Creek - approachability, pricing and the wine (funny that) - but this was a vintage that I remembered as being one that I specifically sought out after tasting it at another BCWAS tasting. We all thought it was holding up with plenty of body and fruit for a 6-year old BC Merlot.

Good thing because, Tyrant was doing magic in the kitchen with rack of lamb and dinner could stand a bit of heft in the wine.

237. 2006 La Frenz Reserve (Naramata Bench - Okanagan)

There's no mistaking the heft of this wine. This is La Frenz's contribution to the Meritage/Bordeaux blend category and the winery says that it "represents the very best of our red wines." "Immense," "concentrated" and "dense" are descriptors that they've chosen to define the wine on their website. I don't think we'd quibble with them on this.

La Frenz has gone with a higher percentage of Cab Sauv (60%) in this vintage, filling out the wine with 30% Merlot and a final 10% of Cab Franc.

This wine was one that we just lingered on for some time. It was sufficient enough that we didn't even need a further bottle to get us through a flighty, little romp watching Bruno. I couldn't believe some of the OMG moments in the movie, but I definitely believe I'll readily look to trying another bottle of the Reserve down the road. Good thing both Tyrant and I have another couple of bottles in the cellar.

And on that happy note, there wasn't anything left for us on this trip but a bit of sorting out the morning and making a final stop at another (new-ish) winery that I'd been hoping to finally stop in at. Marichel wasn't open for daily tastings anymore, but luckily, we were granted a gracious visit - despite the fact that they'd been up crushing grapes until early in the morning and were sold out of virtually all their wine. Good thing that the remaining wine is a winner and will be added to The List shortly.

Now, back to the day-to-day.

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