Sandhill2004 three - Small Lots, Sandhill Estate Vineyard
This is the third vintage of Sandhill’s Italian-inspired red from grapes grown in the south Okanagan. With a production of 411 cases, this is one of the larger offerings in the winery’s premium small lots program.
When the 2001 vintage was released, the winery suggested that “the goal was to create a blend which defies rules and traditions.” It certainly defies tradition for the Okanagan since the Sandhill Vineyard is believed to have the only plantings of Sangiovese and Barbera. There also was Nebbiolo but that variety seems not to have taken in this terroir.
Winemaker Howard Soon’s blend is, however, in the tradition of the many Super Tuscan reds of the past decade or two. Like those, three is acquiring its own cult following. The blend in the 2004 version is much the same as in the debut vintage, a successful combination of two Italian varietials that are plumped up with a dash of Merlot and given more backbone with Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wine has, as Soon says, an “Italian personality” – generous and informal. It is a brambly, earthy red, tastings of red currants, cherries, chocolates and tobacco. Medium-bodied, it pairs easily with food and invites being gulped with gusto. 88 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.