July 13, 2012

SOWF #14: Castoro de Oro

I am determined to post all my notes on the Spring OK Wine Festival, even if it is now summer.

We first encountered Golden Beaver as the last stop before Osoyoos a few years ago. We met the owner, who was out in the fields working but was kind enough to stop and give us a tasting and chat for a while. We learned that he and his partner lived in Calgary and decided to buy the winery (I've tried to find it's old name but can't - it was something German though), and had since discovered that a lot of the vineyard was a mess. He had been working 14-hour days to try to get things into better shape. When we first visited, there was no actual Golden Beaver wine, but instead they were selling the old stock, some of which got a new label and some didn't.

That wine was terrible. We struggled to pick one to buy at the wineshop. It sat on our rack for a couple of years, and not because we were cellaring it for optimal flavour. I finally opened it one day, and it was as bad as I remembered from our trip. The rest got poured down the drain.

That was then, probably about 2006 or 2007. I have kept my eye on this little winery ever since, hoping that things would turn around once they started selling wine from grapes they grew themselves. Golden Beaver has been rechristened Castoro de Oro: the old name and cartoon beaver label, while considered "fun" by the owners, apparently was a  little embarrassing for restaurants to put on their wine lists. Thus the new branding - actually just a translation into Latin and a slightly more sophisticated drawing of a beaver. In some ways I'm glad they're still not taking themselves too seriously. And I think things have improved, although the overall quality is still below par and there was no single wine that blew me away. But I'll keep rooting for these guys, and will return from time to time.

  • Pinot Blanc 2006 ($16)

Macintosh apple and pear aromas introduce more complex flavours of crisp apple, melon, pineapple, papaya and a hint of honey. Fresh and vibrant wine with a clean finish. Perfect dinner accompaniment.

I got mostly the pineapple, which probably explains why Kris did not like this one at all. 87 points.

  • Heartbreaker 2009 ($18)

Chardonnay, Vidal and Pinot Blanc were combined to craft this unique and interesting white blend, the first vintage of its kind.  Apple, apricot and tropical notes on the nose, followed by flavours of pineapple, pear and some mineral notes.  Another good sipper for light summer meals.

A nice blend, my favorite of the bunch. 89 points. 

  • Pinot Duetto 2009 ($19)

This dry rosé is a darker salmon colour. 60% Pinot Noir was combined with 40% Pinot Blanc which makes it a summer day sipper that ‘real men’ and red wine enthusiasts will like as much as those who are already rosé converts. The Pinot Noir was made as a full red wine with regular skin contact which gives it those lovely berry flavours and tannins with the Pinot Blanc adding acidity and citrus flavours. The aroma of fresh strawberries, cherries and citrus fruits will delight. It’s fruity and flavourful with a clean smooth finish. A wonderful pink to drink alone for an ice cold refreshing experience or versatile for food pairing with smoked or fresh salmon, crab, scallops, prosciutto, pasta with cream and cheese sauce and even roast chicken since the acidity and tannins will stand up to the salt and fat.

Very complex, nice. 88 points. 

  • Pinot Noir 2007 ($20)

Inviting aromas of warm berry and a hint of vanilla. This silky smooth light bodied Pinot Noir has cherry and strawberry flavours complemented with subtle earth and pepper notes, finishes with a hint of butterscotch. The 1st edition (147 cases released one year earlier and sold out now) was oaked exclusively in Hungarian Oak; we decided our Pinot Noir 2007 would be a showcase of the effects of our different oak programs. Perfect pairing with turkey dinner, salmon appetizers and more. The ultimate food wine—the only one you'd want to be stuck with on a desert island—is made from the French grape called Pinot Noir. Why? It's a red wine, with moderate degrees of tannin (the stuff derived from the skins and seeds of fermenting grapes), and so it goes perfectly well with red meats with some degree of fattiness, especially with a twist of pepper or slightly bitter vegetables on the side. But the tannin of our Pinot Noir is very soft, making this a very sleek, smooth, easy drinking red wine that goes well with white meats also. In fact, a slightly chilled bottle of our Pinot Noir is as soft and flavourful to drink as most white wines. 

88 points.

  • Vidal Vin de Cure (200 ml) 2006 ($20)

This is an intense peachy, candied Vidal with a lingering port-like sweetness. An ideal after-dinner wine with, perhaps, a nibble of fine chocolate. Grapes dried for seven weeks, constantly turned to remain free of spoilage. After the drying period, and Brix raised to 40°. Only then were the grapes crushed and fermented.

Not too sweet, quite enjoyable. 88 points.


1 comment:

  1. You state "although the overall quality is still below par" but then your point scores and comments of the specific wines don't seem 'below par'? The lowest score you gave them was 87 and the high was 89. The Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards (CWA) awards medals to all wine earning the requisite points. Gold medals = 90 - 100 points. Silver medals = 88 - 89 points. Bronze medals = 86 - 87 points. Which means you scored them one bronze and 4 silver awards out of the 5 wines you reviewed. The wine prices you state for those wines are low for this kind of quality from a BC winery, don't you think? What's the deal with giving them such a bad rap?
    It seems to me this is a great place to go to seek quaffable wines at realisitc prices.