Sandhill2004 Cabernet Franc, Sandhill Estate Vineyard
The key to Cabernet Franc is getting the grapes ripe, avoiding the green undertone the variety can deliver. The Sandhill Estate Vineyard is on the Okanagan’s Black Sage Road bench, one of the south Okanagan’s most sun-drenched sites. The 2004 vintage challenged growers with three weeks of cool, rainy weather from mid-August, only to return to favourable growing conditions, with an extended autumn. The grapes for this wine were picked on October 22, 2004. As the wine’s 13% alcohol indicates, the grapes were ripe.
Winemaker Howard Soon set out to deliver flavour by giving the grapes five days of cold soaking before fermentation began. After fermentation, the wine spent 16 months in a combination of American and French oak. The result is a firm, full red with aromas of blackberries and vibrant brambly, earthy flavours, with hints of plums and chocolate enhanced by the spice from the oak. The good shot of Merlot in the blend fills out the wine very nicely. 1,700 cases were made. 87 points.
Reviewed August 21, 2006 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.