Stag’s Hollow Winery: The Usual Excellent Wines

Stag’s Hollow Winery was founded in 1995 by Larry Gerelus and Linda Pruegger. Production in 2019 was 6,700 cases.

The winery focuses on low intervention winemaking and only organic products are used in the vineyard. All its buildings are geothermal and all packaging is with recycled or recyclable materials. They have begun the certification process for Salmon Safe and Sustainable Winegrowers BC this year.

They have two vineyards the first being Stag’s Hollow Vineyard planted in 1987 which is 10 acres 7.7 of which are planted. The soil profile is composed of a sandy textured surface layer overlying a gravelly subsoil. You will find Pinot Noir, Vidal, Merlot, Tempranillo and Sauvignon Blanc here.

The other vineyard is the Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard which is 18 acres in size 15 of which are planted. You will find Pinot Noir, Vidal, Gamay, Albariño, Dolcetto, Teroldego, Muscat and Syrah.

I like the gutsy approach here planting Muscat, Dolcetto, Teroldego, Tempranillo and Albariño. You won’t find much of these grapes in Ontario!

The Stag’s Hollow 2018 Pinot Noir from the Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard in the Okanagan is ruby coloured. On the nose raspberry galore, sweet red cherry, milk chocolate and strawberry. This is what some may call classic Pinot Noir. On the palate it is smooth and low in tannins. Slim notes of raspberry and sweet red strawberry. While the nose is terribly seductive on the palate it is hiding it charms. Perhaps a couple years of ageing might bring out the charms of this youngster. It seems very mid-level French Burgundian Pinot Noir and I can’t detect the sensuality and elegance Okanagan Pinot Noirs can deliver. However as this was bottled in May its full power could be confused by bottle shock and needs at least 6 months to snap out of the doldrums. Give this wine some time and best wait those 6 months or if not decant. Best consumed by the end of 2024.

The wine sat for 13 months in 228 and 300 litre French oak (7% new and the remainder second and third fill barrels) Skillful use of oak in this wine.

Made from a variety of Pinot Noir clones from France in the alluvial soils of the Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard. It is unfined, unfiltered and vegan friendly.

470 cases were produced.

Suitable with wild salmon from British Columbia with wild rice and stir-fried oyster mushrooms in oyster sauce.

(Stag’s Hollow 2018 Pinot Noir Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley BC VQA, Stag’s Hollow Winery, Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, $27, 13.6%, 750 mL, Robert K. Stephen Set The Bar Rating 90/100).

We try another Pinot Noir from Stag’s Hollow but it is from the Stag’s Hollow Vineyard. Light ruby coloured with a delightful nose of black cherry, black cherry cola, raspberry, strawberry and Cherry Kool Aid. On the palate although the tannins are velvety there is a certain gruffness on the palate highly suggestive this is a very food worthy wine. Notes of blackberry, cassis and cherry jam with a warm midweight finish. Unlike the shyer Shuttleworth Creek Pinot Noir this is a more aggressive Pinot Noir ready for drinking although it may soften out a bit in the next few years I prefer to accept and embrace it for what it is which is a Pinot Noir that borders on the rough and tumble. Yes I am aware that Pinot Noir is typecast ideally as a soft and sensual wine and that’s great if your palate wants to dance with a ballerina. However this Pinot Noir is more a Fado dancer with a gypsy soul to it. It would be more masculine than the Shuttleworth Creek Pinot Noir.

These Pinot Noir grapes from the Stag’s Hollow Vineyard benefit from a warmer, west facing aspect, which allows for a riper and richer fruit profile. It grows in gravelly and sandy loam soils. It matured in 228 and 300 litre French oak barrels (second and third fill).

Although it was bottled in May of this year it does not seem dulled by any bottle shock and is drinkable immediately but I think best from 2021- 2023.

It would match beef and lamb dishes and this may sound odd but a great match with Chicken Cacciatore or even wild boar pasta. The winery suggests a match with roast chicken, rack of lamb, beef Wellington, venison, cassoulet, salmon, blue cheese enchiladas, turkey dinner, beef tenderloin and rich milk chocolate. I have no issues with these suggested matches except for the chocolate.

The vines are from Dijon Clones 667 and 115 and at over 25 years of age and are the oldest plantings of Dijon clones in the vineyard. When you drink this wine you can’t help thinking of Nelly Furtado’s song “Turn off the Light” and when it gets dark this Pinot Noir gets “Rough Rough Rough “ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOL7aeIDruA As I think that is one of Nelly’s best songs I think this Pinot Noir matches her tune beautifully .

(Stag’s Hollow 2018 Pinot Noir Stag’s Hollow Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley BC VQA, Stag’s Hollow Winery, Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, $27, 14.3%, 750 mL, Robert K. Stephen Set The Bar Rating 92/100).

Albariño in Canada! While plentiful in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal and Galicia and Rias Baixas in Spain Stag’s Hollow introduces me to my first Albariño in Canada.

Mid gold in colour. On the nose cantaloupe, apricot, white peach and 1960’s upside down pineapple cake. And on the palate the notes match those from the nose. It is smooth and full bodied and at the end of the day is on par with the best Spanish Albariño. The acidity is very much muted in comparison to Vinho Verde Alabariños I will take with sardines when in Porto. This wine has touches of Viognier and Gewürztraminer but is its own boss and Stag’s Hollow Okanagan gives it a lovely touch. The label says a good food match would be with seafood and I’ll agree if prepared in a cream sauce. Equally well suited would be just about all manner of chicken dishes not prepared in a tomato sauce. Equally enjoyable as a sipping wine but as it has a tiny trace of bitterness better with food.

Given that a portion of the unsettled juice was transferred into stainless steel  barrels concrete tanks and then second and third fill French oak barrels a unique Albariño from the terroir of the Okanagan is transformed even more by a unique Stag’s Hollow production method.

I think I’d know who would win in a blind tasting competition for Albariños. My goodness you have come a long way Okanagan! Move over Spain and Portugal as you now have a Canadian buddy.

340 cases produced. It was bottled in June and has certainly settled in nicely!

Consume prior to 2024.

(Stag’s Hollow 2019 Albariño, Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley BC VQA, Stag’s Hollow Winery, Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, $24, 13%, 750 mL, Robert K. Stephen Set The Bar Rating 92/100).

Check out the winery’s website at http://www.stagshollowwinery.com and as for shipping costs call 1 877.746.5569.

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