Howard Soon, master winemaker at Sandhill Wines, has worked with Sandhill grower Robert Goltz to bring forth one of the finest chardonnays ever made in the Okanagan. And that’s saying something. It is called the Soon Series Chardonnay ($40). Only two barrels of this beauty were made, so you have to talk to the winery directly to get a bottle. The fruit came from one single block of vines, and was separated at the winery, with some going into stainless steel, while the rest went into oak barrels for fermenting. The wine is a light, bright yellow, with notable apple and a hint of lemon on the nose. It is still lean, but complex, and will amplify its many qualities with a bit of age. The finish is generous, long, and offers up a nice vanilla note. Lovely with almost any seafood.
The companion piece is the Soon Series Red ($60), a blend of cabernet sauvignon (46 per cent), petit verdot (20 per cent), merlot (13 per cent), and cabernet franc (10 per cent). The fruit comes from grower Richard Cleave and Phantom Creek Vineyard, and was co-fermented by Soon. Cleave and Soon have conspired together to make great wines for over 35 years now, and this wine, all two barrels of it, stands as a testament to a world of accumulated know-how and wisdom. It is broodingly dark, almost black, with an abundant bouquet of cigar box, ripe cherry, and some spiciness. It is full-bodied, yes, but remarkably soft tannins make it a candidate for this weekend, while there is plenty to suggest it will benefit from up to a decade of age. Black currant and bright cherry notes yield to some tobacco and even a bit of licorice. This is a fantastic example of what potential still lurks in the region.
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