Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Laughing Stock Vineyards 2004 Portfolio  (Okanagan Valley)

Laughing Stock Vineyards

2004 Portfolio
(Okanagan Valley)

Who would have expected that a winery with a curious name like Laughing Stock would have created one of the Okanagan’s cult wines in just two vintages? The winery made 1,180 cases and 50 magnums of this wine and released in it September 2006. In less than a month, most was allocated – a lot to fine restaurants, a fair bit to collectors in the financial community who get the joke in the winery name. Owners David and Cynthia Enns have been successful as consultants to mutual funds and other financial institutions. When they opened their Okanagan winery a few years ago, they acknowledged that, if they failed, they’d be the “laughing stock” among their financial pals.

There’s not much chance of that now. The inaugural 2003 Portfolio (800 cases) was good and this is better, likely because the percentage of Cabernet Franc was bumped up from three per cent to 10%, lighting up the wine’s brambly flavours. This is a dark red wine, with aromas of spice, plums and chocolates that carry through to the palate. There is a touch of mint as well, probably from the Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is still youthfully firm, revealing ripe tannins and a chewy texture when taken with a bit of red meat. In truth, this wine should be cellared for several more years at least. It scores 89 now and, like a good investment, should appreciate with cellaring.

Part of the pleasure of this wine is the packaging. The label is meant to suggest a stock exchange ticker tape winding around the bottle. The stock symbols on the tape are those of familiar Canadian companies; the prices shown are the trading prices of those companies on the days when the grapes were picked. Whole dinner parties can be spent working out the puzzle on the label.

Reviewed October 24, 2006 by John Schreiner.

The Wine

Winery: Laughing Stock Vineyards
Vintage: 2004
Wine: Portfolio
Appellation: Okanagan Valley
Grapes: Merlot (55%), Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), Cabernet Franc (10%)
Price: 750ml $37.00

Review Date: 10/24/2006

The Reviewer

John Schreiner

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.