Winemaker Dwight Sick clearly enjoys his job. With exciting new grape varieties like Dolcetto from their Shuttleworth Creek vineyard now coming into full production, he has a lot to be excited about.
The Dolcetto grape heralds from Piedmont in northwestern Italy. On paper, it would seem to be eminently suitable for growing in BC: it ripens early, is low in acid, is very aromatic, and has a deep purple colour. It is quick and easy to produce, requires no lengthy maturing in oak barrels, and is perfectly ready for drinking within the first year. Traditional “New World” wine wisdom has it that Italian grape varieties don’t travel, meaning that they really only do well in Italy. Perhaps they have not yet found the right places. The steep, varied terrain of Okanagan Falls resembles Piedmont more closely than the wide-open gravel banks of Bordeaux so clearly Stag’s Hollow is on to something special here.
The Dolcetto vines were planted in Stag’s Hollow’s new Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard. A former hayfield, the site is on an alluvial fan and now produces Pinot Noir, Teroldego (another Italian grape variety), and two Spanish grape varieties Tempranillo and Albariño. Along with Grenache from a vineyard in Penticton, Dwight has an amazing palette of grapes to craft a creatively diverse portfolio of wines. Stag’s Hollow’s Grenache will be released on the 3rd Friday in September (the 16th) which is appropriately International Grenache Day. They are the only winery in Canada to produce wines from both Grenache and Dolcetto.
2015 Dolcetto – $21.99
The colour is a bright, electric purple that tints the side of the glass. Big aromas of brambly berries and flowers and a silky smooth palate of purple berries and sweet plums. It’s a bright, fruity wine that has punchy tannins without being inaccessibly tart or austere. Truly unique. www.stagshollowwinery.com
~ Luke Whittall