June 8, 2012

SOWF #12: Road 13

Road 13 is one of the gems of the Okanagan, but it's no longer a "best-kept secret" as word is getting out. Some of the very best Canadian wines I have ever tried were from here. I wrote about Road 13 (and its previous incarnation as Golden Mile) in a couple of previous posts, so if you're interested in a little background you can click on the links. Road 13 is still in the medieval castle building but they have built a new "Tasting Lounge" that we have yet to experience. This is a winery that somehow manages to keep it real despite growing recognition and popularity. For example, the "Wienery Dog Day" where the owner will barbeque a hot dog for you for $3.50. (Which goes well with an Honest John's Red, by the way.) And having a couple of wiener dogs trotting around is fun for the kids, so we usually manage to squeeze in a "family" visit each summer. Whatever the excuse, don't miss Road 13 as there are always at least a couple (and often many more) of terrific wines to bring home.

  • Honest John's White 2010 ($17)

The 2010 Honest John’s White is light gold with undertones of pale green; this wine starts with aromas of banana, rock melon and ruby grapefruit. Fresh pears in the mouth combine with citrus, followed by melon, green apple and banana. There is a great balance between acidity and the concentrated fruit sweetness with a luxurious mouth feel and a long, lingering finish. This wine’s unorthodox blend will surprise you with its versatility and value. Honest John Oliver would be proud of us!

A blend of Riesling, Kerner, Bacchus and Sauvignon Blanc, this was a nice, light and tasty wine. 88 points.

  • Stemwinder 2010 ($20)

The 2010 Stemwinder has a luminous gold color with an intense and complex nose. A Larousse Gastronomique is almost required to be able to describe everything going on in the glass! This wine has green apple, pineapple, flinty and smoky mineral, with a hint of fresh coconut on the nose. I almost forgot to mention the herbes de Provences... The palate is smooth and rich with a long finish and fresh acidity from the cool 2010 growing season. The flavours are similar to the aromas and require referencing our culinary encyclopaedia. This unorthodox blend is sure to confuse and intrigue any wine aficionado in a blind tasting!

Blend of Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc and something described as Chardonnay Musqué. ("Musqué" is not a separate varietal but a description of a clone or strain of a grape that is "musky" - more aromatic and perfumy.) I thought this blend was great, a bit sweet with a bite of citrus. Looking at the winemaker's notes I may have missed a lot. 88 points.

  • Honest John's Rosé 2011 ($16)

The 2011 Honest John’s Rosé is a bright salmon colour; this “foodie” wine starts with aromas of white pepper, fresh strawberries and herbes de Provence. The palate is generous and savoury showing flavours of fresh ground pepper, red cherries, strawberries and dry herbs. The wine has a beautiful mouthfeel with a long, lingering, dry finish. This summer sipper is begging for food. Honest John Oliver would be proud of us!

Great, nice balance, could use a little tartness. 88 points. 

  • Honest John's Red 2010 ($20)

The 2010 Honest John’s Red has a deep red hue with hints of violet. The fruit explodes out of the glass with aromas of red currant, black raspberries and bing cherries. The nose also shows signature Okanagan character of black sage brush, followed by subtle layering of chocolate, cedar and tobacco. This wine boasts a soft and luscious mouth feel supported by fine grainy tannins from the Black Sage Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2010 Honest John’s Red never disappoints and is begging for friends around a BBQ.

Another classic tasting note from the field: "Yummy, complex." Nailed it. 90 points.

  • Rockpile 2010 ($25)

The 2010 Rockpile has a beautiful dark garnet colour. There is an explosion of aromas coming out of the glass as soon as the wine is poured. The nose is complex with aromas of plums, cloves, violet, dark liquorice, hazelnut and dry coconut. The voluptuous palate is full of generous flavours such as blackberries, plums, mocha and chocolate. This multilayered wine also has some meatiness character and great structure with fine, ripe tannins. The long and lingering finish simply doesn’t want to stop. Enjoy this ‘rock star’ with friends!

I gave the 2008 version a 92 some time ago, and I was specifically looking forward to tasting the Rockpile again. I have to say it was a bit disappointing, in that I was expecting genius and the wine was merely very good. This vintage has four Bordeaux grapes as opposed to the eight varietals that went into the 2008. Still a great wine. 89 points.

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