Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards - BC, Canada

"Naturally South Okanagan"

When I was asked if we wanted to review wines from Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, they didn't have to ask twice. While at the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton, I fell in love with the brightly acidic wines from British Columbia, including a few from Tinhorn Creek I got to taste. Unfortunately, they are not easy to come by, as Canada's convoluted shipping laws make it difficult for the wineries to ship almost anywhere. Luckily for them, they have many appreciative fans locally, who buy and drink much of the wine (unlucky for us). Happily for existing U.S. fans (and those sure to become fans), Tinhorn has announced a new service that allows their award-winning wines to be ordered directly from the winery in Oliver, British Columbia and shipped to addresses in the U.S.

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Buy these wines, all of them. And then buy some extra,
because you'll want to drink more once you taste them.

Tinhorn Creek, established in 1993, uses only its own estate-grown grapes, sourced from their two vineyards. 50 acres are farmed at the winery (the Tinhorn Creek vineyard, a mix of red and white grapes, but primarily Gewürztraminer) and 100 acres on the Black Sage Bench (the Diamondback vineyard, a mix of red and white varieties, primarily Pinot Gris, Merlot and Cabernet Franc). They don’t use toxic baits or sprays to control pests. Instead, they change the habitat to discourage them – like removing big rocks and other hiding spots, fencing, netting, and the strategic use of sound help keep snakes, deer, and birds at bay – naturally. Certified as a Salmon-Safe farm, this includes managing run-off, reducing pesticides, and advancing environmental practices in the community.

During the summer, the winery offers concerts and theatre productions in an outdoor amphitheatre set amid the vines. They are now celebrating 20 years (1994-2014) with 20 events, another reason besides the natural beauty to visit the winery. Onsite, Miradoro Restaurant, opened April 1, 2011, is a partnership with Manuel Ferreira of Le Gavroche in Vancouver and is situated adjacent to the amphitheatre and barrel cellar. Eat in the restaurant or grab one of their prepared picnic lunches for an alfresco treat.

Tasting Notes:

Oldfield Series 2Bench Red 2010
41% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Franc, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot; grapes sourced from the Diamondback Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench and Tinhorn Creek Vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench (hence the 2Bench moniker); aged 18 months in new medium and neutral French barrels, then 18 months in bottle; dark ruby red with lighter edges and red throughout; earthy dark plum, bay leaf, and green pepper aromas; dark cherry, vanilla, cream soda, black pepper, into a dusty currant finish; medium mouthfeel, nicely balanced with some tannins for structure; 1,172 cases; 14.3% ABV; twist-off closure; 1,172 cases produced; SRP $27.25.
Oldfield Series Merlot 2010
87% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 1% Syrah from the Diamondback vineyard; aged 18 months in French oak and 18 months in bottle; deep purple color with ruby edges; blackberry, earth, and cassis aromas; dark fruit, red currant, mocha, and vanilla flavors; nicely balanced with some tannins for structure; 14.8% ABV; twist-off closure; 1,521 cases; SRP $27.25.
Cabernet Franc 2011
Diamondback Vineyard (Black Sage) grapes from 18 year old vines; aged in 2-3 year old American and French Oak barrels for 12 months; smoke, dark fruit, and floral aromas; bright red fruit, vanilla, and spice flavors; 13.6% ABV; twist-off closure; 1,798 Cases Produced; SRP $19.95.
Oldfield Series 2Bench White 2013
31% Sauvignon Blanc, 29% Chardonnay, 28% Semillon, 9% Viognier, and 3% Muscat; grapes sourced from the Diamondback Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench and Tinhorn Creek Vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench (hence the 2Bench moniker); beautiful light golden straw color; muskmelon, starfruit; floral aromas; subtle cantaloupe, bright berry, starfruit, and lemon flavors; medium mouthfeel into a tart citrus finish; 14.3% ABV; twist-off closure; 1,441 cases produced; SRP $20.95. Beautiful wine for a sultry Spring evening.
Gewürztraminer 2013
Grapes sourced from 17 year old vines in the Tinhorn Creek Vineyard; cold fermented in stainless steel; clear golden light straw in color; floral, citrus, and spice aromas; starfruit, citrus, lychee, honeyed apricot flavors; just the right amount of sweetness balanced by the bright acidity; 13.3% ABV; twist-off closure; 8,288 cases produced; SRP $15.50.
Pinot Gris 2013
Grapes sourced from 19 year old vines in the Diamondback Vineyard (Black Sage Bench) and Tinhorn Creek Vineyard (Golden MileBench); 100% stainless steel fermentation with 30% going through malolactic fermentation in stainless steel barrels, lees stirred for 2 months; golden wheat color; pear, starfruit, and a bit of yeast on the nose;  melon, stone fruit, subtle tropical and white currant flavors; rounder mouthfeel than you'd expect with great acidity leading into a lime finish; 12.9% ABV; twist-off closure; 7,943 cases produced; SRP $17.25.
All in all just a fantastic group of wines, and amazing ambassadors for the great wines of the Okanagan. Order freely if you love well-made wines that taste of their place, with taste, balance, and  acidity galore. These wines go down easily on their own and are incredibly food-friendly.

Consumers in the US can visit http://usshop.tinhorn.com shop directly from Tinhorn Creek’s website in US dollars, a minimum of 12 bottles per order is required and consumers may order ‘A Taste of Tinhorn’ mixed case with two of each of six select wines currently available, or make up their own preferred mix. A delivery fee of $29.95USD is applicable, however there are no additional tariffs, fees or customs duties to pay, it’s all included. Shipping is permitted to 34 states in the US including: AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, ME, MI, MO, MD, MN, NC, NE, NM, NV, NJ, OH, OR, SC, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WVA, WY.

These wines were provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

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