Friday, November 5, 2010

A Return to Burrowing Owl

Now that the vacation is over and we're getting back into a semblance of normality (such as "that" is), a little comfort food and recognizable wine seems nice.

632. 2004 Burrowing Owl Merlot (Okanagan Valley)

Chicken livers and I are actually very good friends. So, when I took a quick look and saw that we haven't opened a bottle of Burrowing Owl since last February - just before the Olympics - I figure one good friend deserves another. Considering how much Burrowing Owl we have in our "cellar" and how much of it is coming of age, we may need to open a few more bottles on a more regular basis.

I've never thought of Merlot as being a varietal that garners Burrowing Owl a lot of attention - that seems to sit more with Cab Franc, Syrah, their Meritage and a couple of whites. That may simply be due to the fact that Merlot is the most widely planted red varietal in the province. If everyone does it, the press may look more to the more unique wines that are produced - especially when they're made as well as Burrowing Owl's wines are.

That being said, this vintage still won a couple bronze medals at the Okanagan and All-Canadian wine competitions. That wouldn't have played any part in our picking up the bottles, but it's interesting to note as a benchmark for where BC and Canadian wines were and are as far as production levels go.

For those in the know with BC wines, Burrowing Owl was one of the early star wineries. California transplant and consultant winemaker, Bill Dyer, joined up with the Dyer family and introduced a bold style of wine that quickly gained cult-like status in the newly emerging industry. By the '04, vintage Dyer had moved on from B.O.W. but, Steve Wyse, the replacement winemaker (and son of owner Jim Wyse), was staying true to the style of wine that had earned all the praise in the beginning.

We haven't been filling the "cellar" lately with as much Burrowing Owl as we had been. So, it was nice to see that the wines we'd previously worked to get were holding up. After all, back at the turn of the century, folks still weren't sure that BC wines had the capability of aging gracefully. I think it's clearly apparent that the well-made ones can age just fine - thank you very much.

This bodes well for the Burrowing Owl still gracing the "cellar."

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