ACCOLADES & REVIEWS
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.