Stag’s Hollow From Beautiful British Columbia; A Yappy Wine Writer Yaps Away!

I miss those fabulous Stag’s Hollow Reds! Not communists but red wine! British Columbia the land of Social Democrats, NDP’ers and Greens all escaping a Vancouver radio host Pat Burns past who greeted female callers with was it “Hello Doll!” And Ben Gitner’s Tartan Brewing in Prince George sticking his finger up at the big three breweries! British Columbia a land of contradictions and pioneers but there are no such contradictions with Stag’s Hollow wines. Consistently excellent in the last few years I have been trying them. So with such a good record they are due for a dud? Will a weak link be found with these wines? Hard to bear the unfathomable but as a wine writer I realize these things can happen but why am I focusing on the negative? Snap out of it!

Rosés in both Ontario and British Columbia can be excellent and can be considered a bright light in Canadian wine able to compete with the best in the world. So gushing with enthusiasm and optimism let us give Stag’s Hollow 2020 Syrah Rosé swill and a slurp.

A luminous mid pink colour indicative of a right-wing socialist. Aromas of cheerful raspberries, strawberry bug juice and White Spot gooseberry pie.

On the palate you gotta love that bite to it. Raspy and uncouth on the palate or more diplomatically said full of minerality reminding me of many wines from the Dão region in Portugal. I love that roughness as it gives character to the wine, a character many insipid Rosés lack of course making it ideal for food. OK back to taste rather than sensations a see saw between raspberries and red cherries on the palate. No cherry Kool-aid making this a juvenile flimsy wine. I’d say this is up there with a high quality Tavel Rosé from France. Vive la Colombie Brittanique!

Ooops……in mid palate a bit of charcoal infused sweetness. If there was a Mount Vesuvius in the Okanagan I’d be tempted to say the Syrah was grown in volcanic soils. Mid length finish. Being a gourmand of epic proportions I will notch down my modesty and say enjoy with a COSTCO garlic sausage topped with homemade tomato relish and fresh Italian buns served on Limoges China.

At 243 cases this is boutique winery wine that even non-cardiologists and neurosurgeons can afford. I would suggest serving cool as opposed to cold unless of course the humidex is at 45 and you are sitting outside I give you permission to put in an ice bucket. This wine writer should stop his yapping and repeat watch how the wine hits its stride mid palate i.e., halfway before it hits your throat to slide down the hatch.

There is 8% Viognier in this and now that is a big cause of the delightful raspiness to the wine. Being a Viognier lover how could I have missed this! Probably by not reading the technical notes until after I tasted the wine. Sheesh caught with my pants down so as to say! Brilliant blend!

(Stag’s Hollow 2020 Syrah Rosé , Okanagan Valley BC VQA, Stag’s Hollow Winery, Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, $ 24, 750 mL, 13%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 94/100).

Albariño in Canada? Rare but gotta give Stag’s Hollow a pat on the back for not riding with the pack on this one. You’ll see it in Spain and Portugal in abundance but in Canada no mucho Albariño! How is the 2020 vintage doing? With each vintage it seems to be improving.

On the nose this pale gold wine has loads of character with melon, guava, tangerine, vanilla wafer cookies with a bit of peach. A knockout! On the palate grippy minerality and this wine is virtually growling in its masculinity and revelling in its sophistication. On the palate you get what you get on the nose. A stunning wine leaving many of its Spanish and Portuguese counterparts on the sidelines with their mouths open and their faces blushing with envy.

This will hold well until 2026.

Sure you can match this wine with food but it is so good on its own one must be careful with their food selection. My choice would be zucchini flower pasta where the anchovies will enhance the sanctity of this wine. The winery suggests seafood, seafood pastas and risottos, light and creamy dishes, Vietnamese/Thai dishes which I will not disagree with. It also suggests sushi and sashimi and Caribbean/Cajun dishes which I respectfully disagree with.

The grapes were from the Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard which one day may be legendary for its quality grapes. Sadly only 403 cases were produced.

This is worth a case purchase.

Winemaker Kiera LeFranc has a great talent not for this wine only but the entire Stag’s Hollow portfolio.

(Stag’s Hollow 2020 Albariño, Okanagan Valley VQA, Stag’s Hollow Winery, Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, $24, 750 mL, 13%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 96/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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