Sandhill2004 one - Small Lots, Phantom Creek Vineyard
Sandhill makes only single vineyard wines and the most interesting are released under what the winery calls its small lots program. At 511 cases, Sandhill One represents the largest volume for any release in the program.
Winemaker Howard Soon builds complexities into his single vineyard reds by blending varieties within a vineyard. The seven-acre Phantom Creek Vineyard on Black Sage Road, owned by Sandhill’s senior vineyard manager Richard Cleave, is planted chiefly to Bordeaux reds. Both winemaker and grower sign the bottles. The Sandhill One blend is the flagship wine in the entire small lots series, priced at a slight premium to Sandhill Two (also Cabernet-dominated) and Sandhill Three (a blend of Sangiovese, Barbera, Cabernet and Merlot).
The wine presents an attractive purple-tinted ruby colour in the glass, with aromas of spice and red berries. On the palate, there is a generous dollop of sweet fruit, with tons of spice, black cherries, red plums and a hint of chocolate. The balance gives this wine a vibrant brightness of flavour, with barely perceptible oak. The absence of bell pepper notes indicates that the fruit was ripened to perfection. This wine, with its elegance and lively character, stands in contrast to some dense cut-with-a-knife California Cabernets. 92 points.
Reviewed February 12, 2007 by John Schreiner.
Other reviewed wines from Sandhill
John Schreiner has been covering the wines of British Columbia for the past 30 years and has written 10 books on the wines of Canada and BC. He has judged at major competitions and is currently a panel member for the Lieutenant Governor’s Awards of Excellence in Wine. Both as a judge and as a wine critic, he approaches each wine not to find fault, but to find excellence. That he now finds the latter more often than the former testifies to the dramatic improvement shown by BC winemaking in the past decade.