Sandhill2004 Sangiovese - Small Lots, Sandhill Estate Vineyard
This is the fifth vintage from what is believed to be the Okanagan’s only block of Sangiovese. A modest planting went in about 1995, along with several other Italian red varieties. The apparent thinking was that sandy Black Sage Road is as hot and dry as spots in Tuscany and, therefore, the varieties would thrive.
There may still be something to learn either about Sangiovese or about the blend. The previous vintage also had Barbera (5%) and Syrah (4%) and was fleshier in texture. This is a pretty wine but does not express the varietal character quite as strongly as it did in 2003. Perhaps that is because 2003 was a hotter year than 2004. The 2005 vintage, still in barrel, is reported also to express its varietal character better, thanks again to a somewhat stronger vintage. As if Sandhill did not have enough challenges in the 2004, bears entered the vineyard during harvest (October 20) and ate nearly as many grapes as the pickers picked.
The wine, light in body, has an attractive light ruby color, with aromas of cherries. It tastes of cherries with a touch of spice and minerals. Winemaker Howard Soon aged the wine 22 months in French oak, being careful to employ used barrels so that the delicate fruit would not be submerged. 406 cases made. 85 points.
Reviewed April 5, 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.