The Okanagan Weekend – Wine & Dine – Steve MacNaull

Off to Italy

Linda Pruegger and Larry Gerelus, owners of Stag’s Hollow Winery in Okanagan Falls, are feeling extra special.  Stag’s Hollow is one of only 15 wineries in the world to be invited to a wine festival in Barolo in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy.  Only wineries that make exceptional wines from varieties native to Northern Italy will be pouring at the festival next month.

For Stag’s Hollow that means showcasing its 2016 Dolcetto ($22) and 2017 Muscat Frizzante ($22).

Dolcetto is a red grape famous in Piedmont, but virtually unknown in the Okanagan because Stag’s Hollow is the only winery to grow it here.  Stag’s version is the darkest electric blue-purple with aromas and flavours of black cherry, raspberry and botanicals.

Stag’s Muscat Frizzante is light and spritzy, just like the Moscato d’Asti semi-sparklers made in Piedmont.  However, unlike Moscato d’Asti, which is usually sweet, Stag’s interpretation is finished dry (brut) with hints of lime, jasmine, peach, honeysuckle and lychee.

Piedmont producers also use Muscat to make dessert wines and fortify it for vermouth.  Stag’s also grows another grape that’s rare to the Okanagan – Albarino.  Albarino’s home is northwestern Spain, which gets a lot of rain.  However, Stag’s has figured out a way to grow it in the dry Okanagan to spectacular effect.  Stag’s 2017 Albarino ($19) is light and fresh featuring melon and apple and a slight saltiness that makes it a perfect pairing with fish tacos.