Words: Henry & Stephanie Yuen
The spring release of the Joie Farm wines - This award winning winery never fails to produce consistently delicious wines year in year out. From the 2012 Rose filled with aroma of strawberries, honeydew and a long dry finish; to the ever popular Alsatian style 2010 Reserve Gewürztraminer with overflowing tropical fruit aroma and excellent bouquet on the nose along with a balanced acidity, their wines are definitely the benchmark for other new comers to catch up to. These wines are your after-work relaxer, a chill-out patio sipper, with or without the barbeque going. Joie Farm’s other 2012 releases are also impressive: The delightful 2012 Riesling, the classy 2012 un-oaked Chardonnay, the lively 2012 Pinot Blanc and for Reds are 2010 PTG (Passè-tout-grains) and the gold medal winner 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir.
The McWatters Collection – A perfect example of what valuable experience brings to the wine-making profession, this collection no doubt defines Harry McWatters’s stella status in the field. As the wine industry stalwart and pioneer of VQA wines, he once again crafted top notch wines which he finally and so deservedly labelled it under his very own name. The 2011 Chardonnay is an elegant white with Asian fruit notes, a hint of vanilla and buttery on the texture. Well-balanced to cut through serious cuisine or enjoy on its own. On the other hand, the 2009 McWatters Meritage is a full-bodied wine that exemplifies the best grapes in the Black Sage Bench. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are blended to furbish the structure and depth of this velvety wine that exhibits the vivid aroma of black currents, red berries with a silky finish of toasted oak and a hint of spice. Fans of big red would not be disappointed.
Stag’s Hollow Winery - Smaller wineries with less labour diversion sometimes allows the benefit of the lead of a centralized figure to run both the vineyard and winery; thus ensuring the final product meets the operator’s criteria. With Larry Gerelus running the show, there is consistency in the style and constant and effective measure to improve is evident. Stag’s Hollow Winery is less than 20 years old but has garnered wine awards year after year. Recent tasting includes the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc. Clean and crisp, this wine is fused with grapefruit and watermelon aroma that finishes pleasingly, a summer wine not to be missed for sure! The 2010 Syrah is jammy with berries and prune on the nose. With earthy and opulent mouth feel, I enjoyed it thoroughly with a pot of braised ox-tails.
The Doctors from New Zealand – As the signature white of the kiwi country, it’s impossible to taste even 10% of Sauvignon Blanc our long distance friend releases into the global wine market. The recent New Zealand Wine Tasting which showcased a spectrum of their wine labels was a great way to remind west-coast wine lovers of what a fine job they’re doing. Quite a handful of wines made good impressions, but a few of them stood out, one of them, The Doctors’ 2012 Sauvignon Blanc. The name ‘The Doctors’” may be catchy but also holds true since the winemaker Dr. John Forrest is indeed a Phd in Neurophysiology! A well-regarded personality in New Zealand’s wine industry who snatched the ‘Winemaker of the Show at the 2007 annual Winegrowers Trade Show, he crafted this Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with 9.5% alcohol volume only. Low alcohol but capturing flavour displaying refreshing tropical fruit and fig hint.
Villa Maria Private Bin – Another award-winning wine from Villa Maria, this nicely-blended wine is worthy of the attention and the accolades. The full label of this beautiful wine is ‘Villa Maria New Zealand Pinto Gris East Coast – Private Bin’ made with grapes grown in the Marblrough, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay regions, some of the prime wine-making areas that made New Zealand wines proud. Known for terroir diversity of the different vineyards, this dried hay colour wine is lively, flavourful with a lengthy finish. The floral and spicy bouquet along with the sugar-apple and green plum hints; goes well with a Chinese appetizer platter (especially if you are a jelly fish salad fan!), a chef’s salad and even a plate of seafood fried rice.