I have tasted this wine a few times now, and it is a very good cabernet franc. From the Okanagan Valley, its aromatics are restrained, reminding of blackberries and cedar. The palate is balanced, with hints of tannin. Ready to drink now, this is an enjoyable wine. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.7%. Price: $30. Website: www.bartierbros.com
Cabernet franc from the Okanagan Valley presents as a more robust interpretation of this grape, more right bank Bordeaux than the Loire Valley. Hester Creek produce a good one. Its aromas remind of red fruits, while the palate has evident tannins and good balance. Rating: Good. Abv: 14.1%. Price: $27. Website: hestercreek.com.
Mission Hill have fashioned an outstanding cabernet blend here from the Okanagan Valley in Canada. It’s a classic Bordeaux style blend of 45% cabernet sauvignon, 37% merlot, 16% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot. Perhaps more than any other wine I have tried to date, this wine showcases the region’s considerable potential and puts Canadian red wine on the map. The colour is deep and the aromas remind of blackcurrants and tobacco leaf. The contribution from 15 months in French oak is well judged. The palate is medium bodied, with savoury and firm tannins, bright fruit and the length on the finish long. 36 barrels produced. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $80+. Website: www.missionhillwinery.com.
This is a sound wine at less than $10 from the Okanagan Valley. A blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, it has a simple fruity aroma of red berries. The palate is dry, with some soft tannins, gentle fruit and the finish in balance. A safe choice at this price. Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $9. Website: n/a.
I expect this label will not be imported into Australia, but it shows what is being done with merlot elsewhere – in this case, the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It’s a delicious rendition of the variety. In the glass, there are aromatics of chocolate and red berries. The palate is pure fruited, balanced and textured. Bottled unfined and a native yeast fermentation. Few cases made. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14.4%. Price: $20.
This is the best Osoyoos Larose that I have tasted to date. From Canada’s Okanagan Valley, it is a Bordeaux style blend that is serious in both intent and impression. The 2014 vintage is a blend of 68% merlot, 11% cabernet franc, 8% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot and 5% malbec. There are typical “cabernet” blackcurrant and leaf characters that are very restrained, youthful and elegant. The length is long. A first class release that can be consumed now, but will benefit from a decade in the cellar. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: ~C$45.
This is a sound cool climate merlot from Poplar Grove in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia in Canada. Perhaps most interesting is the cross country comparison to Australian merlot, which has suffered with perceptions. I’ve written on this at some length previously (see my post here). This BC merlot’s expression is immediately more like the Bordeaux version of the grape: medium bodied, fresh in style and balanced. Climate, intent or food for thought? (Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada, Rating: Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Yes, for current drinking, Drink: now, Tasted: Jan, 2017)
Other vintages reviewed:
I’ve written previously about this producer from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia in Canada, and 2013 vintage is another good release. Although a merlot dominant blend, it’s very much a cru bourgeois in style, or closer to home, it reminds of a Yarra Valley cabernet blend from a very good producer. The 2013 blend is 82% merlot, 14% cabernet sauvignon, 2.5% malbec, 1% petit verdot and 0.5% cabernet franc. In the glass, the wine has aromas and flavours of blackcurrants and presents with fresh acidity and a lovely medium bodied balance. Lovely drinking. (Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada, Rating: Good to Very Good, Drink: now to 2025, Tasted: Jan, 2017)
Other vintages reviewed:
Good to Very Good
I quite liked the 2013 Mission Hill reserve cabernet sauvignon. A touch more than the 2011 (see my review here) but both are still very pleasant. The 2013 has a classic medium bodied cabernet expression perhaps without showing any “above and beyond” characters through the palate. Tobacco, cedar, leather and dried herbs round things up. Correct and well made.
Vendors and website: http://www.missionhillwinery.com
Here’s one the last Okanagan Valley reviews. It’s from Stag’s Hollow and is a Bordeaux blend, this time 49% merlot, 37.5% cabernet franc and the remainder made up of cabernet sauvignon, malbec and petit verdot. A right bank style really. It’s a lovely wine too. Cloves, herbs and bouquet garnis frame the aromatics. The palate is medium bodied and balanced. At around the C$20 mark, it’s frankly quite interesting.
Vendors and website: http://stagshollowwinery.com