Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Burrowing Owl Classic

On the whole, it's been a fairly mild winter for we folks in VanCity; however, today was a snow day. So, I figured that called for a little comfort food and nice, big and hearty red to warm our cold and wet soles - you'll note that's "soles" and not "souls." We were merely hiking around in the white stuff; it's not like our spirits had been frozen or drained or anything as serious as that.

Any excuse to raid the cellar though.

One of the side "benefits" to having been placed on a "No Buy Leash" by Boo is that, sometimes, I have no choice but to grab what can only be thought of as a special occasion bottle. Reaching into the Burrowing Owl "library" isn't a normal affair around here, but a nice fireside sip has to be one of life's little pleasures. We've already added the 2002 vintage of this wine to The List (at #358) and the 2005 vintage was one of the earliest wines to be added at #39. But, if I have to try and "clear out" some of our older wines, so be it.

706. 2003 Burrowing Owl Syrah (VQA Okanagan Valley)

It didn't take many sips to understand why this wine won some serious Canadian wine awards. As is usual around here, I didn't actually realize the pedigree of the wine until I took a look on the internet after we'd finished the bottle. It turns out that this vintage was not only presented with one of twelve exclusive Lieutenant Governor's Wine Awards in 2005 - perhaps the most prestigious award given in British Columbia - but it also won a Gold medal and was named Red Wine of the Year at the 2006 Canadian Wine Awards.

The 2003 was still only the fourth vintage of Syrah produced by Burrowing Owl, but it was abundantly clear that their vineyards were capable of producing some stellar fruit. At this time, the winemaking was still under the direction and tutelage of Bill Dyer, an all-star in the BC winemaking pantheon. There have been a number of changes at the helm since Dyer left Burrowing Owl not too long after this vintage, but the winery has wisely stayed with his basic approach to making wine.

I've always said that I'm not the guy you turn to if you want exuberant and overflowing descriptions of a wine, but even I'm comfortable in saying that this was a beautifully balanced wine, with plenty of dark - but NOT over-the-top - fruit. Comfort food doesn't necessarily need to be treated with care when it comes to wine, but this Syrah elevated every bite of our meatloaf with a special treat.

This is clearly one of the reasons why Burrowing Owl leapt to such prominence in the BC wine world right from the get-go.

I'm going to have to check and see if I've managed to store any additional bottles of this beauty because, snow day or not, I'd look forward to some more. Please.

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