Hester Creek

Penticton Herald - - WINE & DINE -

Oliver’s Hester Creek Win­ery has also just re­leased a crop of stel­lar reds to in­vig­o­rate your fall and win­ter win­ing and din­ing.

A splash of Viog­nier was added to the Hester Creek 2016 Syrah-Viog­nier ($29) to en­hance aro­mat­ics and flavours.

The re­sult is a tra­di­tional Rhone-style red with aro­mas and flavours of rasp­berry, blue­berry, black­berry, vi­o­let, pep­per and even some smoked meat.

The Hester Creek 2016 Block 3 Re­serve Caber­net Franc ($29) is from vines that are a half-cen­tury old.

As such, the wine re­flects the com­plex­ity, el­e­gance and fi­nesse that comes with age.

Ex­pect an open­ing of cherry, rasp­berry and black­berry fol­lowed by vanilla, co­coa and toast.

The 2016 Terra Unica ($33) is a two-thirds Caber­net Sauvi­gnon, one-third Syrah blend that works on ev­ery level.

Con­cen­trated plum, black­berry and black­cur­rant meld with co­coa, cof­fee and cedar.

As the heft of the bot­tle and the name in­di­cates, The Judge is Hester Creek’s flag­ship red.

The limited edi­tion 2015 ($50) blends Caber­net Franc, Mer­lot and Caber­net Sauvi­gnon to per­fec­tion to cre­ate a sump­tu­ous Bordeaux-style red with fine­grained tan­nins sur­rounded by cherry, plum, malt, caramel, vanilla, cedar and mint.

Serve it with beef ten­der­loin or the thick­est of New York steaks.

De­cant

Now that our mouths are wa­ter­ing for ex­cep­tional red wine, lets talk de­cant­ing.

Rather than sim­ply un­cork (or un­screw) that beau­ti­ful red, splash it in a glass and drink it back, de­lay and in­ten­sify your grat­i­fi­ca­tion with a breath of fresh air.

All de­canters, re­gard­less of shape, size and price, are de­signed to in­tro­duce oxy­gen to the wine as its poured in and out of the ves­sel.

Air helps dis­si­pate odours and flavours you don’t want and lift and en­chance the ones you do. The re­sult is a smoother and brighter wine. Ba­si­cally, the wine, which has been cooped up in a bot­tle for years, is ex­press­ing it­self at its best.

If you’re in a rush, even 15 min­utes of de­cant­ing will make a dif­fer­ence.

But a cou­ple of hours is ideal.

Bumper crop

With the Okana­gan wine har­vest well un­der­way, it looks like its go­ing to an over­achiever on all fronts.

Grape flavours and acid­ity are re­ported to be above av­er­age thanks to a long grow­ing sea­son with mod­er­ate sum­mer heat.

And the vol­ume tends to be 10 to 20 per cent greater across the board.

It all means we can ex­pect more ex­tra­or­di­nary wine from the 2018 vin­tage.

The har­vest started in late Au­gust when grapes des­tined for sparkling wine and aro­matic wines be­gan com­ing in. White va­ri­etals con­tinue to be picked along with reds. The ma­jor­ity of the har­vest is wrapped up by early Novem­ber.

And then it’s a wait­ing game for the first hard frost to freeze the last of the grapes left on the vines to make ice wine.

B.C. is home to 929 vine­yards over 10,500 acres, which pro­duce about 32 tons of grapes an­nu­ally.

Most of the ton­nage, 41 per cent, comes from the Oliver area, fol­lowed by Osoy­oos at 21 per cent, Pen­tic­ton (Nara­mata) at 10 per cent and Kelowna with eight per cent.

To­tal B.C. VQA wine sales last year were 14.1 mil­lion litres.

Steve Mac­Naull is The Okana­gan Week­end’s busi­ness and wine re­porter and colum­nist. Reach him at steve.mac­naull@ok.bc.ca.

Spe­cial to The Okana­gan Week­end

De­cant­ing red helps the wine best ex­press it­self.

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