This is an excellent wine from Covert Farms in the Okanagan Valley in Canada. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot and from the 2016 vintage, its style is reminiscent of a left bank cru bourgeois Bordeaux from a ripe vintage. In the glass, there are earthy, blackcurrant aromatics. The palate has very fine tannin that builds with time. Approachable now, it will suit cellaring for 5 years or more. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.3%. Price: $45. Website: covertfarms.ca. Reviewed: January 2020.
There are few Australian merlots I have tasted of this calibre at this price. From Tinhorn Creek in the Okanagan Valley in Canada, this wine opens to aromas of red fruits and evident oak. The palate is savoury, with notes of spice, dried herbs and red fruits. Ready to drink now or over the next 5-8 years, this is a high quality expression of merlot. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: mid $30s. Website: tinhorn.com. Reviewed: January 2020.
There is a statement in Jancis Robinson’s encyclopaedic “Wine Grapes” to the effect that there are even plantings of zweigelt in British Columbia in Canada. If this zweigelt is representative, it has been a very successful move indeed. From organic producer Kalala and the 2015 vintage, this wine opens to aromas of dark fruits and boysenberry. The palate is full bodied and the tannins firm with an almost Italianate pleasing rusticity. Ready to drink now, this is a lovely wine. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.6%. Price: mid $20s. Website: kalalawines.ca. Reviewed: January 2020.
This is a very good cabernet sauvignon from Mission Hill in the Okanagan Valley in Canada and the 2017 vintage. It has aromatics of spice and brooding blackcurrants. The palate has ripe and fleshy tannins and good length on the finish. This wine is enjoyable right now, but will also suit cellaring for 5 years. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.9%. Price: ~$40. Website: http://www.missionhillwinery.com. Reviewed: January 2020.
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.