(For original Chinese posting, pls log onto http://taiyangbao.ca/author/stephanieyuen/?variant=zh-hans )
BC does not yet have huge vineyards or ancient and mega wineries, but that doesn’t stop our wines appearing on the global A-list constantly. To me, being small nourishes authenticity, characters and staying in-touch; it further showcases the behind-the-scene hard-working souls’ diligence, intelligence, perseverance and passions.
Take Stag’s Hollow for instance. A name known to BC wine lovers but not to some casual drinkers, probably due to the fact that once released; their wines are scooped up by loyal followers, members of their fan club, restaurants and sommeliers. When I asked a few of my wine-drinking friends who fancy French brand-named products and California wines about Stag’s Hollow, most of them had vague or no idea. But after a blind tasting lining Stag’s Heritage Block with a California red and a Bordeau red, were they taken by surprise! While there are many reasons behind these wine drinkers’ preferential wine behavior (which is not going to be discussed here), I’m glad they took on a new perspective, a rather positive one, on the fine products of our very own BC wineries.
We went on to taste more of Stag’s wines and I had the pleasure of sharing news and information about the winery and the folks with my fellow tasters, including my recent encounter with founder Larry Gerelus and Celler Dwight Sick who pour their hearts and souls, their blood and sweat into crafting the their wines. Amazingly, despite their background and age difference, these two share the very same philosophy when comes to growing grapes and making wines. They believe good grapes don’t rely justly on Mother Nature, but manual attention and tedious hard work a definite must. Such as constant observation, physically checking and feeling the grapes; winter pruning and cropping; making sound decisions and willing to compromise to ensure to maintain “small intense berries that ripen year after year”!
The Heritage Block 2009: My friends surely love this full-bodied, aromatic Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cab Franc and Cab Sauvignon, loaded with structure and velvety roundness, thanks to the 18 months French and American oak aging. Ripened plum and black cherry filled the bouquet, and lengthy yet soft tannins with a subtle tobacco-smoky flavour. Guarantee to go nicely with Braised ox-tails, beef briskets, Dong-bor Pork and even BBQ duck.
2010 Syrah: A popular grab amongst Shrah fans, the dark berry bouquet, laced with smoky meat and lively spicy hints captured the tasters on site as well. The lengthy and earthy tannin may remind us of the Rhone region of Saint-Joseph style, but none-the-less, but a Stag’s Hollow product that spells of BC’s soil and climate. Slice some BBQ sausages and ribs from the Chinese BBQ store, or go to your favourite deli for some prosciutto and salami.
Renaissance 2010 Pinot Noir: One Pinot Noir to easily fall in love with, this wine calls for continuous sniffing and swirling so the glamourous oak spice, fruity tannins and balance of acidity keep on making love to your nose and palate. I recommend enjoying this on its own if possible, next to a glowing fire place, with soft music on. If you must drink it with food, a not-too-heavily seasoned roast beef or pork chop; a salmon filet steamed with a light bean sauce; or a cacciatora will work just fine.
Cabernet Franc 2010: A classic and elegant full-bodied wine with a lingering, smooth mouth feel and fruit-forward, well-balanced acidity, the ripened berry flavour, lightly mingled with a hint of tobacco, keeps you wanting more. Pair this wine with smoked salmon candies, charcuteries and BBQ Pork chow-mein; and wok-fried root vegetables seasoned with light soy.