Saturday, November 27, 2010

Like Herd(er)ing Cabs

One of these days, when I have a spare moment (as if that ever seems to happen), I'm going to have to go back and see just how many BC wineries have made The List. At 650+ wines on The List now, I should think that there's a good collection of them. I find though that I'm still being surprised by the number of well-known BC operations that have yet to be added.

Case in point, Herder was one of the first wineries to put the Similkameen Valley on the radar of BC wines. If the Okanagan is seen as "Napa North," the Similkameen is looking to establish itself as BC's Sonoma. Herder is certainly playing its part. From its first vintage in 2003, Herder has developed a bit of a cult following. Although I've certainly recognized the name and we even stopped in briefly one time when passing through the Similkameen, Herder hasn't really been that high on the wine list in our home. After tonight's wine, that may change a bit.

652. 2005 Herder Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc (Okanagan Valley)

After saying that Herder helped put the Similkameen on BC's wine map, it might seem a bit of a puzzler that the grapes for this wine were sourced from the neighbouring Okanagan Valley (from Oliver and Osoyoos vineyards). Owner and winemaker, Lawrence Herder, is a transplanted Californian and, perhaps as a result, has a passion for big reds, but this wine was still one of his earlier vintages and his big red varietals hadn't quite established themselves in the Similkameen vineyards. That's been changing with the newer vintages as the winery is now enjoying the fruits of their own labour and doesn't need to source as many grapes from other growers.

Indeed, even the winery has been experiencing change as it is already in its second location. The initial vineyards were found to be a little to vulnerable to early frost; so, despite having only set up shop in 2002, the Herders took advantage of a property a few miles down the road that became available in 2008 and they started anew.

I no longer see a Cab Sauv/Cab Franc listed on the winery website; so, I'm thinking it has likely been "replaced" by their icon wine, "Josephine," and by the Meritage. All I can say, is that Boo and I are going to have to try both of those wines because we really enjoyed this bottle. Good firm structure, with nicely integrated tannins and acidity, and beautiful, dark fruit on both the nose and palate.

Those other wines will have to suffice because we're unlikely to find another bottle of this 2005. The label says that only 220 cases were produced. Looks like we were lucky to have picked this one up. Indeed, as one writer has been quoted, "the biggest lingering problem with Herder wines is the lack of supply."

This may have been the first Herder wine to be added to The List, but I'm pretty sure that it won't be the last.

No comments:

Post a Comment