So now I'll talk a little about the Hainle Vineyards red wines; not all of them of course, as Walter has an impressive array of wines (in all colors), but the ones I got a chance to try. Mrs AStudentofWine and I ended up spending most of an afternoon back at Hainle (www.Hainle.com) and had a great conversation with Walter.
$24.90 *** Very Good Value ***
- visual: clear; deep purple/ruby core with the slightest cherry rim
- nose: clean; moderate+ intense and youthful aromas; dark perfumed floral notes (irises and roses), cherry blossoms, red currants, stewed plums, red and black raspberries
- palate: fully intense (red currant) acids, moderate+ (silky) tannins, moderate+ youthful flavors mimicking the nose with pronounced cocoa finish. Very good balance and structure, medium+ length
- conclusion: quite young: cellar this for best results - drink 2015-2020++
- PAIRINGS: while I wanted to play this wine off of it's merits from the Pinot Noir, Walter was quick to mention that this had received a silver medal at an Oyster Festival... Zweigelt and oysters? Apparently it's a natural~!
What is Zweigelt you ask? A natural question as it has only very, very recently come into existance and more recently into the public's eye. This is a cross between Blaufrankish and St Laurent developed in 1922 to bud later then the latter and ripen earlier then the former... with generous yields and a natural resistance to cold - this varietal is quickly catching on in cooler climates like Canada. In Austria it started gaining popularity with Professor Lenz Moser who made large plantings of it, and now Zweigelt is the most planted red-varietal in that country.
Zweigelt produces wines ranging from easy-drinking blends to single-vineyard that are capable of aging and great development. Austria, of course, has some very old vines already (over 60 years) and some of these wines are being hailed for their depth, nuanced finesse and longevity. In general, Zweigelt has deep pigment, bright acidity and full tannins.
$40 *** Very Good Value ***
- visual: clear; moderate garnet core with cherry rim
- nose: clean; fully intense and developing; port-like characteristics of dried berries, figs, aged honey and a distinct savory herb finish
- palate: clean; fully intense (cranberry) acids, moderate (slightly grippy) tannins, moderately intense and developing flavors that mimick the nose. Very good balance, EXCELLENT structure, long length
- conclusion: just starting to drink well now; drinks 2013-2020+
- PAIRINGS: the savory qualities lend themselves naturally to venison, consider a flank steak which sears quickly and thus retains it's moisture and finish with a beurre blanc
2003 Zweigelt reserve
$140 **** EXCELLENT VALUE ****
varietals: 60% Zweigelt, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon
- visual: clear; light garnet core with medium orange/brick rim
- nose: moderate+ intense and developing aromas with port-like and madiera-like qualities (the same dried berries, figs, honey and slight savory herbs) but this also a rich baked-earth and dark cocoa finish
- palate: clean; fully intense (well-integrated cranberry) acids, moderate (soft, chewy) tannins, moderate+ intense and youthful flavors mimicking the nose with incredibly rich dark cocoa notes. Excellent balance and structure, long+ length
- conclusion: this wine is still just a babe; drinks best 2018-2030 and beyond
- PAIRINGS: with the finesse on this rich wine I would want to serve it with a beef carpaccio; the richness of beef is a natural for port/madiera flavors and I would want it raw for emphasis. Perhaps I would serve it with grilled bread as well, as the grill flavors will play off the berry notes through contrast
2003 Merlot - Cabernet Sauvignon
$60 **** Very Good to EXCELLENT Value ****
varietals: 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc
winner~!!! 3 years in a row: People's Choice Award, Kelowna
- visual: clear; moderate+ garnet core with rich orange/brick rim
- nose: clean; fully intense and developing bouquetof buttery red raspberries, black raspberries, light cassis, rich savory spices such as clove and allspice
- palate: clean; moderate+ (well integrated cranberry and red raspberry) acids, moderate (soft chewy) tannins, moderate+ intense and developing flavors that mimick the nose. Very good balance, excellent structure, long length
- conclusion: drinking well soon~! drinks 2015-2025+
- PAIRINGS: stunning steak wine ~ with the acids as high as they are I would want a steak with some fat like a ribeye, perhaps with a roast garlic jam to accompany
On a personal note, I bought a bottle of this wine myself - to keep downstairs for a few years because I honestly don't think that I would be able to buy a wine of this quality - for this price - when it has matured properly.
2003 Syrah (unfiltered)
$60 **** Very Good to EXCELLENT Value ****
- visual: clear with slight sediment; deep garnet core with moderate cherry-brick rim
- nose: clean; moderate+ to fully intense and developing aromas with rich port qualities and a truffled mushroom earthiness, baked Saskatoon pie
- palate: clean; fully intense (red currant) acids, moderate (soft chewy) tannins, moderate+ intense and developing flavors that mimick the nose with long worn leather nuances and berry compote. Very good to excellent balance, excellent structure and long length
- conclusion: drinking well now; will develop to 2017/18, drink 2011-2023+
- PAIRINGS: even though the acids were high, this is a refined enough wine that I thought of pairing it with a beef tenderloin with wild thyme and pink peppercorn compound butter... try searing the tenderloin in duck fat if you can find it at your local butcher's
2007 reserve Pinot Noir
$80 ***** BUY THIS WHEN AND IF YOU CAN *****
maturation: 40 months in 4th generation French oak (from Opus1)
- visual: clear; moderate ruby core with cherry (and the slightest brick) rim
- nose: clean; fully intense and developing aromas of rich earthy terroir, nuanced fungal notes (wild mushrooms and white truffle), pink peppercorns, light red berries, distinct herbaceous undertones
- palate: clean; moderate+ (superbly integrated cranberry) acids, moderate+ (soft, silty) tannins, moderate+ intense and developing flavors that mimick the nose with nuances of smoked meat, real beef jerky, stewed black raspberries and black cherries. Excellent balance and structure with long, long length on the palate
- conclusion: can be enjoyed now to 2030, will continue to develop in the bottle until 2020
- PAIRINGS: what goes better with a Burgundian style Pinot Noir then Boeuf Bourguignon???
It should be noted that even though this Pinot Noir was in oak for 40 months (an unheard-of long length of time), Walter took it to a competition within a month of bottling it... his wine was up against 450 other Pinots from around the world; some of the finest winemakers in the world competing. Guess who got first place? That's right... the German winemaker from Peachland appellation~!
Walter has told me that he will only sell a few cases a year for the next few years, as he doesn't think it's really ready to enjoy.... rated 99 points, but not quite good enough for Walter because it needs "just a bit more time". So if you want to try it, you'll have to go up to the winery and ask him nicely. Very very nicely.
Later that afternoon, as a special treat, Walter opened a back-vintage of Icewine. Walter of course knew that my wife was pregnant and not drinking (we had spent two afternoons together by this point), but he insisted on pouring a small glass and handing it to her, saying "for a thousand years women in Germany have been drinking Riesling when they are with child... "
She couldn't refuse, and about five minutes later I heard a little giggle from my wife "Clare likes it~!"
Apparently the littlest sommelier (Clare) has something of a fondness for Hainle Icewine (along with the population of China, where celebrities will appear in his tv ads for free).
1984 Riesling Icewine
$900 this wine is an experience
- visual: clear; deep umber-amber caramel core moving to watery rim
- nose: clean; fully intense (and still developing) bouquet of Solera system, dried raisins, butterscotch, salt water toffee, toasted almonds and a light brine-mineral undertone
- palate: clean; fully intense (apricot) acids, fully intense and still developing flavors that mimic well the nose with the additions of apricot compote, tangerine zest, grapefruit marmalade and quince. Stunning balance and structure, ridiculously long length
- conclusion: should you be lucky enough to have a bottle of this, it can be enjoyed now but will continue to develop in bottle for decades. Drink 2010-2050 (and possibly longer)
- PAIRINGS: Icewine is difficult for some people to pair food with... keep it simple to let the wine showcase: consider a Perigordine (http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-make-french-perigordine-walnut-cake) which is like a walnut-angel food cake... garnish with a slightly tart raspberry coulis
Quite the list of wines to go through, and I really do feel fortunate to have had so much of Walter's time and patience. I had no idea, before a few months ago, that anyone in British Columbia (or even Canada) was making wines on this level. Now that I know - I'm filled with a confidence that just about anything is possible in our industry.
No one would have believed, even 10 years ago, that a winemaker from BC would make Pinot Noir that could beat the Burgundians at their own game. Well, the times have changed~!
As always, I welcome your comments and questions.
CINCIN~!!! SLAINTE~!!! CHEERS~!!!