Saturday, June 7, 2014

Howling Bluff - 3 Mile

We've been on a bit of run of BC wines lately: eight of the last ten bottles to be added to The List have all been local wines. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that. I'm a big fan of eating and drinking local. And, as Boo urges me to use more of the wines we already have in the "cellar," there's bound to be a lot of BC wine since that's what we have the most of.

We followed suit with another wine from the Naramata Bench tonight.

1623.  2009 Howling Bluff - Three Mile Wines - Stone Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir (Naramata Bench)

There's little doubt that Luke Smith's adventure with Howling Bluff has taken a decidedly Pinor Noir-esque focus. Luke may have started the winery with Bordeaux in mind, but after his first vintage of Pinot Noir (in 2006) won a Lieutenant Governor's Wine Award and his 2008 vintage won an award as Canada's Best Red Wine of the Year in 2010, he determined that Mother Nature was telling him that his Naramata Bench vineyards were best suited for Pinot.

Not to say that Luke still doesn't make some Sin Cera - his homage to Bordeaux - there just isn't nearly as much as there used to be and more recent vintages are likely going to be a Merlot-dominant wine since he's been regrafting his original Cab Sauv and Cab Franc vines with more Pinot Noir clones.

That being said and award-winning wines aside, Howling Bluff has had its issues with consistent marketing. They've gone through a couple of label changes and re-brandings in their short life already - in part, because the stylized howling wolf reminded higher end restaurants too much of critter wines. This Three Mile Wines Pinot Noir simply added to the confusion (at least for me). I think this was a single vineyard wine that Luke made from grapes that were sourced from some neighbours on the Bench. I also believe that this is the only vintage that Howling Bluff produced (although there is a 3 Mile Estate winery found on the Bench nowadays).

Too confusing for me, I'm afraid.

Luckily, despite the confusion, the Pinot went nicely with grilled salmon - first of the season for us.
However, once the fish was done, the acidity on its own was a bit much and the wine wasn't as enjoyable as a sip on its own.

Guess that just meant we needed more salmon - or needed to keep half the bottle for dinner the next night. Needless to say, that last possibility didn't happen. "Leftover wine" isn't a phrase that is either well understood or appreciated in our household. Just meant the last half of the bottle wasn't as pleasing as the first half was.

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