A premium, perennial British Columbian classic: the 'Nota Bene' Bordeaux-inspired red blend from Black Hills Estate Winery has always delivered quality and elegance. The soon-to-be released 2016 vintage (a mix of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc) continues the trend, offering sage-dusted black and red currants, plums, espresso and finesse at a $59 price. There is solid value here; the wine is both drinkable and age-able, and carries a good deal of complexity. In a local climate where premium wines can come out of the gates at ridiculous prices like, oh, $165 a pop, this gem at 60 bucks can almost be seen as a steal. Look for it to be released from the winery on September 1st.
Tucked in with this sample-drop was a new-to-me label from the winery, the 2016 Ipso Facto. This turns out to be the second edition of this wine, a broad-shouldered, Syrah-forward red, balanced with 25% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Now, I'm a big Syrah fan, and inclined to go in that direction rather than a Bordeaux-ish route on most occasions.
In my (yes, biased) opinion, the Ipso Facto is the superior wine of the two. Hey - the Nota Bene's no slouch, at all, but holy shit!
The fresh violets and forest floor aromatics! The mulberries, cocoa, mint, and fresh-cracked pepper! The well-integrated tannins! That drop of balsamic reduction on the finish! Spirited and tasty, I'm now pining for cold and rainy winter days so I can swaddle myself in the stuff.
ALSO: at $49, it's $10 less than the Nota Bene, and that's juuust enough coin to get some awesome charcuterie to go with it.
We definitely have another local legend on our hands.