ACCOLADES & REVIEWS
Young, talented winemaker
The Okanagan Weekend, Steve MacNaull, November 9, 2019
Check out Steve MacNaull’s interview with our winemaker, Keira LeFranc, and reviews of our current Renaissance wines HERE.
2016 Syrah – 94 points
Decanter Asia Wine Awards, Sept 12th, 2019
2016 Renaissance Merlot – 92 points from Jacky Blisson, MW Candidate
Wine Align, July 24th, 2019
“Highly perfumed, with notes of crushed cassis, dark cherry, baking spice, and cedar. The palate offers crisp acidity and very bright red and black fruit flavours that amply off-set the dense, weighty core and firm tannins.” For the complete article, click here.
2017 Tragically Vidal – 89 points from Sara d’Amato
Wine Align, July 24th, 2019
“A cleverly named, good value vidal without too much sweetness. Perfumed with rose petal and peach blossom, white pepper and bergamot. Sensual and elegant.”
2016 Pinot Noir, Stag’s Hollow Vineyard – 92 points from Rhys Pender, MW
Wine Align, July 23rd, 2019
“A nose of mixed cherry, red berry, subtle oak, some tobacco and orange zest make for a complex nose. Dry, ripe and quite firmly structured this is a powerful Pinot with flavours of cola, black cherry and graphite that should benefit from a few years ageing.”
2018 Muscat Frizzante – 91 points from Beppi Crosariol
Globe and Mail, June 28th, 2019
“Amazing. This light, bright, gently fizzy white goes where few wines dare. It would seem to be modelled after moscado d’Asti, the fragrant, grapey-floral, delicate dessert wine of Italy’s Piedmont region. Yet it’s drier, at a respectably moderate 13.6 grams/litre of residual sugar, yet no less satisfying. Clearly the sunny Okanagan could teach Piedmont a lesson. Essentially off-dry, it comes across with a burst of fruity flavour that suggests white table grape, mandarin orange and green apple, with a perfect level of fizz.”
Summer in a Glass
The Okanagan Weekend, Steve MacNaull, June 1, 2019
Check out Steve MacNaull’s review of our Muscat Frizzante, Tragically Vidal & Dolcetto HERE.
John Schreiner on Wine – Dec 26, 2018
Here is an excerpt from John Schreiner’s blog regarding a new wine from Stag’s Hollow!
Stag’s Hollow Winery has always had a fairly large portfolio of wines- and that is the way the owners like it.
“You know us,” laughs Linda Pruegger, who owns Stag’s Hollow Winery with husband Larry Gerelus. “We can never go a vintage without making a new wine.”
New next spring, there will be a 2018 Blanc de Noirs from Stag’s Hollow. It is made primarily with the winery’s Ritter Clone of Pinot Noir, with a little Gamay Noir. The wine, which shows a slight blush, is being aged in oak and is getting regular lees stirring to build texture. About 200 cases will be bottled.
For the full article, click on this link for John Schreiner .
Wine Press Northwest Platinum Competition
The 19th Annual Wine Press Northwest Platinum Competition was conducted at the end of October. A total of 655 wines from British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, qualified for participation by winning gold or better at a recognized competition and were evaluated by blind tasting panels. Stag’s Hollow won a Platinum for our 2017 Albarino and a Double Gold for our 2015 Renaissance Merlot.
BC Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards 2018
Our wines showed well at the recent BC Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards in Penticton. We were delighted to pick up eight medals, with our first Vidal Ice Wine receiving a Silver!
- 2015 Renaissance Pinot Noir
- 2016 Stag’s Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir
- 2017 Vidal Ice Wine
- 2017 Albarino
- 2015 Renaissance Merlot
- 2017 Tragically Vidal
- 2015 Heritage Block
- 2016 Shuttleworth Creek Pinot Noir
2018 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada
Stag’s Hollow picked up eight medals at the recent Wine Align National Wine Awards of Canada held in Penticton this year. We are absolutely thrilled that our 2017 Albarino came away with a Platinum Medal!
Five Renaissance wines also won medals!
Renaissance wines are the best wines in our vintage and only produced if the quality is there. 2015 was an especially good year!
Gold – 2015 Renaissance Pinot Noir. Gold – 2015 Renaissance Merlot. Silver – 2015 Renaissance Meritage. Silver – 2015 Renaissance Grenache. Bronze – 2015 Renaissance Syrah.
For a rundown on all of our recent medals, scroll down and click on our Awards page.
These results placed us 5th in the Top 10 Small Wineries in Canada and 13th in the Top 25 Wineries in Canada (out of 257 wineries entered!) at the National Wine Awards !
Come visit us in Okanagan Falls and let us show you our award winning wines
Peter Vetsch – pop & pour – April 5, 2018
2015 Stag’s Hollow Renaissance Meritage – SCORE: 92 pts
On the surface, this should be much the same as the last wine, a 95%/5% Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend from the Stag’s Hollow Estate Vineyard: this one is a 76%/13%/11% Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc blend from the very same vineyard. Yet it is so remarkably different, which is why it has earned the designation of being the first Renaissance Meritage produced by Stag’s Hollow in a decade. Why? How? One key difference is that this bottling is a co-fermented field blend, where the different grapes are all harvested at once from the same site and then all fermented together as opposed to being harvested and fermented discretely by varietal and then only blended together after each have been made into separate wines. With co-fermentation, you give up control — if the combined blend doesn’t quite come out as you like, too bad for you — but you gain a heightened sense of integration in the finished wine plus some heightened aromatics. The Meritage got 3 more months in barrel than the Merlot before bottling as well (18 months vs. 15 months), though it also seems more cohesive and better able to stand up to a touch of extra oak.
The visual impression of this wine is basically an exact mix of the first two, with the additional traces of vivid purple showing through likely another product of the co-fermentation process, as are the abjectly gorgeous aromas of sweet white flowers, currant, fresh grapes, cola, rainwater and anise, the nose powerful and coiled, but still fresh and clean and delicious. Flavour impressions are similarly both more open and more tightly woven than in the Merlot, a baby giant that remains accessible in its youth. Black and purple fruit, elderberry syrup, pomegranate, hot rocks and pen ink are surrounded by wonderfully integrated yet massive tannin and welcoming fresh acidity, everything so effortlessly cemented into its rightful place. This may be the best wine I’ve had from this winery, and it’s one of the top Canadian Bordeaux blends I’ve had ever. Bravo.
2015 Stag’s Hollow Renaissance Syrah – SCORE: 91+ pts
This is surprisingly only the second ever Renaissance Syrah made by Stag’s Hollow, and is the big brother of the white-label SH Syrah I reviewed back in the fall. Like its younger sibling, the Syrah grapes for the Renaissance bottling hail from the Amalia Vineyard on Osoyoos’ East Bench, which the winery explains is perfect for quality Syrah production because it is hot enough to ensure full ripening but protected by mountain shadows, which prolongs the ripening period and helps preserve precious acidity. The wine is rounded off with the addition of 5% Petit Verdot, which renders a deep and colourful wine all the more so. The winemaking technical notes contain a phrase often uttered by my favourite winery (and Syrah superstar) Gramercy Cellars: Stems Rule. Half of these Syrah grapes were fermented whole-cluster, without destemming; the inclusion of the stems in the fermenting must can increase complexity, boost tannin and act as a sort of automatic regulator that helps control ripe fruit and round out aromas.
The 2015 Renaissance Syrah is an immediate visual standout, hitting the glass a dark, pulsating, glass-tracing purple, just a hair shy of opaque. It smells like it could only be Syrah: malted chocolate, beef jerky, blackberry, blue and purple flowers, citric tanginess and warm topsoil, all somehow woven together in rich and chewy fashion, seeping into the senses like molasses and lingering in the air. Round and full in body, it is pierced down the centre with a cautious core of orange-and-tomato acidity that is a welcome and impressive relief for a wine whose pH clocks in remarkably close to 4.0 (3.88, to be exact). Umami swirls of Kikkoman and pizza sauce dance around smoky blueberry, asphalt and mushrooms, the fruit not showy or confected but singing in a complex chorus line with funk and rocks and things on fire. This is a big beast that will integrate further in the bottle over the next year, but is an expertly layered and beautiful Syrah.
2015 Stag’s Hollow Renaissance Merlot – SCORE: 90 pts
Stag’s Hollow has grown Merlot grapes on their initial estate Stag’s Hollow Vineyard for over 25 years, committing to the onerous viticultural practices and severe yield restrictions required in order to allow this big Bordeaux grape to fully physiologically ripen in Canada. Like the last wine, this Estate Merlot borrows 5% of another varietal, in this case Cabernet Sauvignon, to round it out, but unlike the last wine all stems were removed prior to fermentation (stems can rule with Syrah, but tend to be less of a synergistic pairing with Cab and Merlot). However, the Merlot fermentation also has some tricks up its sleeve: winemaker Dwight Sick left around half of the berries whole and uncrushed when fermentation kicked off as opposed to crushing all of the grapes at once and allowing them all to rest on the skins during the fermentation process. These skins are (presumably) ultimately pierced as the wine continues to ferment and the cap of skins is manually punched down, and they are definitely punctured when the must is finally drained of all free run juice and any remaining skins are lightly pressed. Fascinating approach.
This is a far more gentle and translucent ruby-purple colour than its tasting predecessor, but its aromas are initially hard to pin down, coming across more ephemeral and constantly blending together. Black cherry? Dusty raspberry? Sandpaper? Celery root, cinnamon, black licorice Jujubes, grape suckers — not fully honed in yet, but far from flat. Flavours spread in a creeping fog across the tongue when you taste, darker and thicker than the nose and taking its time to cover each taste bud. Charcoal, blackberry, pavement and baker’s chocolate are lifted by a floral impression, like carnations, before being pulled back down to the depths thanks to a tremendous tannic presence. This emerges at the end of the sensory whirlwind as a darker, fiercer Merlot than I expected, but one with some hidden verve. Even more so than the last bottle, time will be your friend with this one.
John Schreiner on wine – February 27, 2018
Stag’s Hollow Renaissance Merlot 2015 – SCORE: 92 pts
The grapes – 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon – are from the winery’s estate vineyard, where Merlot has been grown for more than 25 years. Half the berries were left whole and went uncrushed into the fermenters. The wine was fermented in French oak barrels where it was aged 15 months. The wine announces itself dramatically with aromas of cassis, cherry, blueberry and cedar. On the palate, there are flavours of black cherry, black currant, tobacco and dark chocolate. The firm texture demands the wine be decanted if you do not take the winery’s advice and cellar it for the next two to seven years.
Stag’s Hollow Renaissance Meritage 2015 – SCORE: 93 pts
It has been 10 years since the winery has released a Meritage. The wine is made only when the vintage is exceptional. This is 76% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc, all from the estate vineyard. The grapes were co-fermented and aged 18 months on French oak. The resulting wine is generous on the palate, with aromas of cassis, black cherry and vanilla followed by a rich medley of dark fruit flavours. The wine has a big, boney structure that will allow long aging. I double-decanted the wine to unlock aromas and flavours. Sit on your bottles at least until 2025.
Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Stag’s Hollow Renaissance Meritage 2015 – SCORE: 90 pts – March 2018
The last time we tasted a Renaissance Meritage was the 2005 vintage, also the last time the wine was produced. Winemaker Dwight Sick felt the fruit in 2015 was up to the Renaissance standard, and produced this full, complexed co-fermented blend of estate merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc. The latter was left whole berry and the first two were whole cluster, all pressed directly into French oak (1/3 new) where it rested 18 months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Dusky blackberry, savoury black cherry, thorns, pitch, anise and worn leather absorb the space on the palate and stream it along to a lingering, satisfying finish. Love the ample earthiness of the whole cluster franc here (11 percent), making this feel distinctly Okanagan. Hopefully it’s not a decade until we see this again.
Stag’s Hollow Renaissance Pinot Noir 2015 – SCORE: 90 pts – February 2018
The very best lots at Stag’s Hollow fall under the Renaissance moniker and in terms of pinot noir this is only the sixth produced in 21 years (now that’s a ratio we can get behind.) Winemaker Dwight Sick has selected barrel lots from the winery’s two vineyard sites: Stag’s Hollow and Shuttleworth. The Renaissance style is always a jump up in texture and weight from their regular label, and after two decades of experience, the pinot character is pure. A sign of better fruit is 47 percent new French oak, the remainder is aged in second use oak. Savoury and complex on the nose it is a 47/26.5/26.5 mix of clones: Pommard, 115 and 667 that are whole berry fermented, and bottle unfined and unfiltered. This is a bigger, peppery version of Okanagan pinot (in a very warm year) with a hint of tannin in the back end but it’s not without its charm. Best with duck or grilled salmon.
Beppi Crosariol: Globe & Mail – February 21, 2018
Stag’s Hollow Renaissance Syrah 2015 – SCORE: 91 pts
A single-vineyard offering from Osoyoos in the South Okanagan, where intense sunlight has made a star out of syrah. Stag’s Hollow has turned out a richly fruity and meaty effort from free-run juice. The palate offers up intense blackberry syrup, smoky bacon and spicy cracked pepper along with dark chocolate and underbrush. Generously but smartly oaked, matured partly in new and partly in more neutral third-fill barrels. Approachable now but worth cellaring for five to seven years for more of that leathery, earthy complexity.
Liam Carrier: IconWines.ca
Stag’s Hollow Winery 2015 Renaissance Meritage – SCORE: 91-92 pts
A youthful, feminine Meritage blend of 76% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc all sourced from the Okanagan Falls winery’s home vineyard. The nose is delightfully fruity and sultry with ripe, red and black berry aromas supported by sweet and savoury licorice, vanilla, oak and a plethora of spice notes.
The dry, medium-plus bodied palate is bursting with sweet, blackberry and red cherry fruit, dusty, fine tannins and a medley of oaky-spicy flavours and subtle notes of smoky chocolate and herbs through to the long finish. Ready to go now with a long decant, but at this price it would be best to wait until the wine begins to peak in another two years. Drink 2020-2026.
Stag’s Hollow Winery 2015 Renaissance Merlot – SCORE: 90 pts
Great concentration of ripe berry fruit opens the appealing nose of this home vineyard-sourced, reserve Merlot from the Okanagan Falls winery. The sweet fruit is followed by waves of sweet herbs, oak and mocha aromas. The dark fruit and dark chocolate mint flavoured palate is refreshingly well-balanced with lively, wild berry acidity offsetting the full-ish weight.
Drinking well now, but to maximize your investment I recommend waiting another 2 years, if you have the patience. Drink 2020-2025.
Beppi Crosariol: Globe & Mail
Best of the west: Top red wines from British Columbia – November 2, 2017
Stag’s Hollow Syrah 2015, British Columbia SCORE: 92
Succulent and chewy, with a thick, almost sticky texture carrying ripe berry fruit, dark chocolate, licorice, pepper, suede and underbrush. So much going on for the money, and very harmonious. Invigorating, spicy life on the finish. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Kurtis Kolt: Wines for the Season – October 28, 2017
Stag’s Hollow 2015 Amalia Vineyard Syrah – Stick your nose in the glass and bask in those fresh, ALIVE notes of potting soil, ripe blueberries and dark chocolate bark. Giddy-up! Loving those first few sips of brambly berry fruit, cloves, and kick-ass beef jerky.
John Schreiner on wine – July 12, 2017
Stag’s Hollow Muscat Frizzante 2016 ($22). This is a blend of 57% Muscat Ottonel, 5% Orange Muscat and 38% Riesling 2015. The lively bubbles propel floral and spice aromas and flavours; and give the wine a creamy texture. The modest touch of residual sugar is nicely balanced with bright acidity. This is a wine crying out for a Sunday brunch. 91.
Stag’s Hollow Tragically Vidal 2016 ($17). This is a blend of 86% Vidal and 14% Orange Muscat. The wine begins with aromas of grapefruit. On the generous the palate, there are flavours of honey and grapefruit with a hint of residual sugar. A portion of the fruit was affected by botrytis, accounting for the complex honey and tobacco notes on the finish. 90.
Stag’s Hollow Merlot 2014 ($18.99). This wine began its fermentation on one-ton fermenters but was transferred to American and French oak barrels (50/50) to finish fermenting. It was aged in barrel for 18 months. Dark in colour, the wine begins with toasty aromas, along with black cherry and fig. One the palate, there are concentrated flavours of dark fruit – figs, plums, black cherries. Long ripe tannins give this wine a generous texture and finish. 90.
Beppi Crosariol: The Globe and Mail – Jun. 06, 2017
Sip summer in a bottle with these moderately priced wines
Stag’s Hollow Albariño 2016 ($21.99). The wine begins with aromas of green melon and honeysuckle. On the palate, there are flavours of melon, green apple, grapefruit with an underlying hint of peaches. The finish is a crisp and refreshing as a spring morning. 91.
Stag’s Hollow Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($16.99). This wine announced itself with an assertive aroma of herbs, lime and gooseberry. On the palate, there are flavours of lime mingled with herbs. The finish is tangy and dry. 90.
Stag’s Hollow Syrah Grenache Rosé 2016 ($21.99). The wine catches the eye with its dramatic, jewel-like ruby hue. The blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache gives aromas and flavours of cherry and strawberry compote. The wine has good weight on the palate, with a suggestion of white pepper on the dry finish. 91.
Judgment of Geyserville: Mike Dunne on Wine, March 14, 2017 – Stag’s Hollow Grenache
At the Judgment of Geyserville, the panel’s overall favorite was the Stag’s Hollow Winery 2014 Okanagan Valley Renaissance Grenache, a wiry yet confident take on the varietal, fresh with raspberry fruit, spiced with a dash of cinnamon and unusually long in the finish. It was the only one of the 16 candidates to be anointed with a gold medal by all six judges. On paper, it stood out in two other respects. For one, it was one of the warmer wines in the tasting, coming in at 14.8 percent alcohol. Also, 3 percent syrah was added.
Two other entries from Stag’s Hollow also finished high in the tasting, the more youthful, more peppery and longer lasting 2013 Okanagan Valley Grenache, which finished fourth out of the 16 tasted, and the earthier, chewier and more muscular and complex 2015 Okanagan Valley Grenache, for which winemaker Dwight Sick bumped up his inclusion of syrah to 12 percent, and which came in at fifth place.
Sick, who has been releasing his grenaches only since 2012, attributes their command in large part to the atypical and challenging setting for growing the variety. While Okanagan Valley is balmy in the summer, its compressed growing season tests the ability of grapes to mature fully. “When the grapes do ripen here, the flavors are more extreme than elsewhere in the world,” Sick says.”
Anthony Gismondi: Wine of the week, Feb 4, 2017 – Stag’s Hollow Dolcetto 2015
Dolcetto translates to “little sweet one” in Italy and this juicy, dark berry, earthy and perfumed black plum wine is all that, plus it’s a singular Okanagan wine. Medicinal dark raspberry and dark cherry is carried along finely textured tannins to a kirsch finish. Winemaker Dwight Sick soars when he’s given the reins to experiment. A lovely soft, red-fruited style, drinking well now, especially with roasted squash.
Beppi Crosariol , Globe and Mail, Oct 4, 2016 – Stag’s Hollow Grenache 2015, British Columbia SCORE: 92
Grown mainly in Spain, France and Australia, heat-loving grenache is a rarity in Canada. Kudos to Stag’s Hollow for this compelling effort. It comes across like a rich, ripe version from France’s southern Rhône Valley, which is high praise. Full-bodied, at 15-per-cent alcohol (the grape leans toward high strength), it’s got supple, come-hither fruit suggesting cherry jam, which is enlivened by a truckload of black licorice as well as Provençal herbs. And there’s an aromatic black-pepper note here, possibly owing to syrah, which makes up 12 per cent of the blend. Available at private retail stores in British Columbia and direct, www.stagshollowwinery.com.
REVIEWS FROM WINE ALIGN – June 2016
2015 Albariño – Rhys Pender, MW
A lovely nose of peaches, jasmine, lemon, blood orange zest and some complex savoury and mineral elements. Dry with a rich texture yet still with zingy, fresh acidity and a great pehnolic grip. An excellent effort with a new variety to the Okanagan. (Tasted June 2015) – 91 Points
2014 Viognier Hearle Vineyard – Rhys Pender, MW
A lovely restrained yet intense Viognier. There is lemon, apricot and peach and pretty jasmine aromas on the nose. The palate is full-bodied yet remains fresh and crisp and with stone fruit and citrus fruit all unfolding slowly then lingering on a long finish. 91 points
2013 Hawk’s Hollow – Steve Thurlow
This powerful big red is an equal blend of syrah and cab sauvignon with an addition of 10% petit verdot. It has an appealing lifted nose of blackberry and blueberry fruit with lemon and well integrated oak spice. It is finely balanced and will surely develop well over the next few years if cellared. Excelllent length. Best 2017 to 2021. Tasted June 2016. 90 points
2013 Cabernet Franc – Janet Dorozynski Dip WSET, Ph.D.
Deep ruby red with a tawny rim. Aromas of dark berries and black cherries with a hint of grilled red peppers and spice. Full-bodied with chalky tannins and dried herb and fruit on the long finish. Needs time in bottle. Tasted blind at NWAC June 2016. 88 points
2014 Malbec – Bill Zacharkiw
Yet another impressive effort from Stag’s Hollow. Floral, dark fruited and meaty, this is classic malbec. Tannins are a bit aggressive so perhaps a lighter hand is needed on the press, but that’s being nit picky. Good job. Bigger wine that doesn’t go over the top. Tasted blind NWAC16. 89 points
2015 Grenache – Michael Godel
An effete, in effect style of grenache, pretty, pure and elegant. She resists the trappings of overripeness, over-extraction and over-pressing. She is conceived with great purpose and with pelucid substance. Her palate is silken, with fresh berries and then the sort of grand structure that rolls into ambient endings. One of Canada’s great grenache triumphs. Drink 2016-2020. Tasted June 2016. 91 points
2013 Renaissance Merlot – DJ Kearney
There is a plush, seductive nose on this powerful wine. Spicy, vanilla-scented forward oak, shoe polish and dense fruitcake aromas pave the way for rich palate flavours of ripe plum, cassis and dark chocolate. Layered and complex, the tannins are structured and still quite tight, but pedigreed fruit and skilled winemaking are on full display. Tasted June 2016 90 points
2015 Dolcetto – John Szabo, MS
An unusual but strangely compelling example of dolcetto, full of reductive grapefruit-citrus/orange peel aromatics, very botanical and light leafy, but all in a pleasant way. I like the savoury edge and the edgy acids – this works well in the final analysis. Tasted blind at NWAC June 2016. 89 points
2013 Syrah Hearle Vineyard – Michael Godel
Great fruit, mostly red berries, crunchy, chewy, a citadel of fortissimo, tart but so far from sour within its powerful ripeness. Phonetically rampant and ripping. This offers nothing if not the crucial tenets of syrah pleasure. Though it creeps with sweetness and is not exacted with the longest finish it is certainly so amenable. Drink 2016-2019. Tasted blind at NWAC16, June 2016. 88 points
Tim Pawsey – Hiredbelly.com
Here’s the link to a great article – Stag’s Hollow: The Power of Perseverance– from Hiredbelly.com posted March 18, 2016 following a tasting of our first release of Albariño with Tim in the Albarino block of our Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard, Of course Albariño was not the only wine sampled.
Here are a few quotes:
“I was lucky enough to taste their 2015 Albariño last week (to be released later this spring) and was impressed by its intensity….(91 pts). It should also be a killer pairing with west coast seafood.”
“”Stag’s Hollow Tempranillo 2013 – A truly impressive example of what this variety might be able to do…..92 pts.”
Gismondi on Wine
Stag’s Hollow Cachet 04 Limited Edition 2013 – 91 pts. – TASTED: 06 JANUARY 2016 – TASTED BY: ANTHONY GISMONDI AND STUART TOBE. Cachet is made with the best fruit each year regardless of variety, in this case it is a 57/37/6 petit verdot, merlot and cabernet sauvignon blend. Look for black cherry, earthy, mushroom, tobacco, cranberry, smoky, peppery aromas with a light floral, plum note. Full, round, juicy, somewhat chunky palate with some young tannins but with fine concentration. Peppery, smoky, wet tobacco, savoury, cranberry, black cherry, vanilla, coffee flavours with a hint of tar, licorice and sage with some tea and herb on the finish. Should improve over the next 2-5 years. Excellent effort here.
2014 Riesling – BC Wine of the Week – Vancouver Sun – November 2015
REVIEWS FROM WINE ALIGN – November 2015
2013 Cachet No. 4 – David Lawrason, Wine Align – 90 points – This is a cutting edge blend from Stag’s Hollow, a red based on 57% petit verdot – a grape known for intense floral aromas, real tension and sometimes searing acidity. This shows violets, pine resin, meatiness and deep blackcurrant fruit. It’s mid-weight, taut and elegant with some sense of minerality. A bit hard but not austere, and it has very good to excellent length.
John Schreiner rates our 2014 Grenache 94 pts.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2015
Stags Hollow releases 2014 Grenache
By coincidence, Stag’s Hollow Winery released its third Grenache on the same weekend that Pope Francis arrived in Cuba.
What’s the connection?
Tasting this fantastic wine immediately reminded me of some of the great Cuban cigars I enjoyed when I was still smoking (and when I could afford Cuban cigars). Pope Francis is incidental to this story. I doubt that someone with just one lung even smokes.
The 2014 Renaissance Grenache from Stag’s Hollow has rich, spicy and smoky aromas that climb from the glass and waft about the room like the aromas of a good cigar. On the palate, flavours of sweet tobacco mingle with fruit cake and red liquorice. The wine totally seduced me – just as Cuban cigars once seduced the English writer, Rudyard Kipling.
Kipling authored one of the most famous lines about cigars: “A woman is only a woman but a good cigar is a smoke.” You have to look up his poem, The Betrothed, to see the context. The poem, hardly his best piece of writing, has numerous references to Havana.
I might change the line now and write: A cigar is only a cigar but the Renaissance Grenache is a drink.
The release date of the wine, of course, had nothing to do with the Pope’s visit to Cuba. It was released for International Grenache Day, the third Friday in September. Stag’s Hollow released the Okanagan’s first Grenache in the 2012 vintage. I seem to have missed the 2013, which is still available on the winery’s website.
A reader of my blog recently found a bottle of the 2012 in her cellar and asked how long to cellar it.
Stag’s Hollow recommends drinking the 2014 over the next five years. Judging from that, the 2012 should peak in 2017.
There are not many plantings of Grenache in British Columbia. The variety has the reputation of being excessively winter tender, probably because some of the Okanagan plantings were done shortly before 2009. The early October freeze in 2009 and several subsequent hard winters savaged a lot of young plantings, including several of Grenache.
Perhaps it is too early to close the book on this variety. According to the Grenache Association: “It’s the most widely planted red grape in the world and responsible for the velvety, voluptuous mouthfeel that people love in wine; but it rarely gets the credit it deserves because it’s often used in blends.”
The variety, a staple in Spanish reds, is also known as Garnacha Tinta. The detailed discussion of the variety in the massive Jancis Robinson book, Wine Grapes, is under that name. Robinson (and her co-authors) writes that the variety is “relatively early budding but late ripening, so has to be grown in fairly warm climates.”
The Okanagan certainly has a warm climate but, with a risk of spring frost and a season-ending frost in October, Grenache is perhaps a tight squeeze for the growing window.
Dwight Sick, the winemaker at Stag’s Hollow, has a particular enthusiasm for Grenache that began in 2006 when he helped plant a small block in the Kiln House Vineyard near Penticton. The 2014 Grenache is made with grapes from that vineyard and from the Hearle Vineyard on the Osoyoos East Bench. (In 2012, Dwight had some Similkameen Grenache to pair with the Kiln House fruit.)
The quality of the wine reflects the pains Dwight took in making it. Whole berries went into one-ton fermenters; 40% of the ripest stems were added. Fermentation began with cultured yeast after a three-day cold soak. After 10 days, the wine was pressed into second-fill French barrels (300 litre hogsheads) and aged six months on the lees. After racking, three per cent of Syrah was added. The cuvée was bottled unfined and unfiltered in the late summer of 2015.
The packaging is sophisticated. The closure is a crystal plug made by a Czech glass producer, Vinolok. Judging from the website, the closure was only developed several years ago.
This is an elegant solution to avoiding cork taint. Stag’s Hollow believes that the wine under this closure will maintain “varietal freshness for many years.” Indeed, it would be a delight to come back to this wine in a few years and find it still bursting with its current youthful charm.
Here is a note on the wine.
Stag’s Hollow Renaissance Grenache 2014 ($40 for 65 cases). This is a wine with aromas of black cherry, vanilla and cloves. Those are echoed in the flavours, along with fruit cake, red liquorice, rich sweet tobacco and a pinch of black pepper. The texture is ripe and generous. The wine is seductively delicious. 94
IconScores.ca – Liam Carrier rates the 2014 Renaissance Grenache 92 pts.
B.C. Wine of the week: Stag’s Hollow Hawk’s Hollow 2012
Okanagan product is hefty but young and exuberant and needs time to settle down
Stag’s Hollow Hawk’s Hollow 2012, Okanagan Valley
Price $40 | Score 89/100
This is one hefty blend of 50/41/9 syrah, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot employing South Okanagan Oliver and Osoyoos fruit. The nose is a mix of smoke and earth, with a hint of reduction or meaty syrah notes. The attack is similar, with more red fruit flavours than you might expect, blueberries, spice, freshness and pruny coffee notes in the back end. Young and exuberant, this needs time to settle down and pull it all together. Serve now with osso buco or other slow cooked meat dishes.