John Schreiner

By John Schreiner
reprinted with permission

John Schreiner is Canada's most prolific writer of books on wine. Since his first book in 1984, The World of Canadian Wine, he has written 15, including multiple editions of The Wineries of British Columba, British Columbia Wine Country and John Schreiner's Okanagan Wine Tour Guide. John has always been supporter of our website.


BC Sun Peak Feastival

Here are notes on some of the wines I thought noteworthy. I should add that get to every winery's table, so there certainly are noteworthy wines I missed.

Black Hills Syrah 2009 ($35 for a production of 1,200 cases). This is the first Syrah from Black Hills and seems an obvious companion to Nota Bene. Dark in colour, the wine begins with aromas of pepper, black cherries and game meat. On the palate, the flavours are generous, with flavours of plums and figs and the spiciness of good deli meats. The wine is full, with the textural elegance of ripe tannins. 90.

Cassini Syrah Collector's Series 2009 ($34). A robust Syrah in the Cassini style, the wine has meaty and dark fruit aromas with flavours of black cherry, plum, fig, liquorice and pepper and an almost earthy finish. 90.

Cassini Viognier 2010 ($19 for a production of 425 cases). With an alcohol of 12.6%, this is probably the lightest wine from Cassini in the vintage. It has pleasant fruit aromas and flavours of apricot, pineapple, pear and lemon. The wine is crisp and tangy with skein of minerality. 88.

Church & State Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 ($26). Just being released, this wine created something of a buzz among the tasting crowds. Made from grapes grown in Vanessa Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley, this is a ripe and elegant wine, tasting of currants, plums and chocolate; a very satisfying drink. 91.

Church & State Quintessential 2008 ($50). This is a blend of five Bordeaux varietals (the percentage of each is not available). Each varietal was aged separately in French oak for 12 months and then, after the wine was blended, it spent another 12 months in French oak. The wine soaked up the wood very well; it does not intrude on the vibrant aromas and flavours of red fruit (raspberry, cherry), with hints of mocha and red liquorice. The fine-grained tannins give the wine a supple, accessible texture. 90.

Church & State Hollenbach Pinot Noir 2009 ($26). Just being released this is a delicious, concentrated wine with lots of black cherry flavours. 88-90.

Ex Nihilo Pinot Noir 2010 ($N.A.). The winery's first Pinot Noir is a promising start a wine with concentrated fruit and aromas and flavours of cherries. Still firm, the wine needs another year in the bottle. 88-90.

Fort Berens Pinot Gris 2010 ($18). This wine is made in the broad, rich style of Alsace with flavours of apricot, pear and white peach. There is a honeyed hint of botrytis on the nose and on the finish. The alcohol, at 13.8%, is a little on the bold side for a white wine. I scored this 86 in the spring; time in bottle has raised it to 89.

Fort Berens Meritage 2009 ($28). This is a blend of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. It has the soft, ripe texture of Merlot, with attractive aromas of blueberry and blackberry. The berry flavours echo these aromas. The rich, ripe tannins give the wine an early accessibility and appeal. 90.

Hester Creek Cabernet Franc Reserve 2009 ($26.99). This swaggering red with a perfume that vaulted from the glass caused a significant stir when it was served at a dinner. The fruit flavours just burst with blackberry, raspberry and cherry notes. 92.

Perseus Tempus 2009 ($28.90). This is a chewy Syrah with flavours of plum and black cherry and earthy minerals. 90.

Sonoran Jazz Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 ($27.90). The smooth texture of this wine reflects the fact that it spent 28 months on oak, 90% of it new. The wine has appealing currant and vanilla flavours. 89.

St. Hubertus Dry Riesling 2009 ($15.75). After squandering its mature Riesling vines for years in an off-dry style, St. Hubertus has started making what Riesling lovers would call a serious Riesling. This has the classic touch of petrol on the nose with citrus flavours. The mineral elements give the wine an excellent structure. The finish is crisp and dry. 90-91.

Stag's Hollow GVM 2010 ($27.99). This is a novel white blend of Grenache (66%), Viognier (23%) and Marsanne (11%). Grenache is a red variety but in 2010 (and again in 2011), winemaker Dwight Sick judged the grapes not ripe enough for one of his big red blends. So he pressed it as a white grape, producing a complex, barrel-fermented wine with flavours of apples and melons. The rich texture will blossom with a few years of bottle age. 90.

Stag's Hollow Cabernet Franc 2009 ($27.99). This is the winery's first varietal Cabernet Franc. Youthfully firm, the wine begins with brambleberry aromas and tastes of blackberries, tobacco and chocolate. 91.

Stag's Hollow Hart 2010 ($25 for 500 ml bottle; 78 cases released). This is a port-style wine made with very ripe Merlot and fortified to 20%. It has a delicious core of sweet fruit. The wine should be cellared for a few years. 88.

Summerhill Organic Riesling 2009 ($19.95). Winemaker Eric von Krosigk, who is also chair of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, has made a 10.2% Riesling that takes him back to the Mosel, where he learned winemaking. The wine is tangy, with flavours of lime; it also has aromas and flavours of petrol. 90

Summerhill Organic Syrah 2008 ($39.95 for 130 cases). With an alcohol of only 12.5%, this is an elegant red with notes of pepper, chocolate, black cherry and figs on the palate and with an earthy finish. 88.

Tinhorn Creek Kerner Icewine 2010 ($29.99 for 200 ml). By packaging this wine in a small bottle, Tinhorn makes it affordable for those who would like to taste Icewine but balk at the price. This is a wine with exquisite balance of acidity and sweetness, with clean and fresh flavours of pineapple and ripe apricot. 90.

Please see Robert's Selections

Previous articles:

British Columbia's Best Reds

Reviews Dec 2011
Banee Celebrations
Lieutenant Governor's Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines
40 Knots Winery
Quails Gate
Fairview Cellars
Prospect Winery
Ruby Blues
South Okanagan Wineries
Vancouver Island Wineries

For more Great Articles visit the Writers page

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