Quirky, delightful labels, fearless plantings of grape varieties such as tannat, touriga nacional, and carmenere, and a name: Moon Curser. That plus some heartfelt winemaking and you have a winning recipe, and an exemplar of what the region is capable of. Contraband Syrah ($33), made from fruit grown on the Osoyoos East Bench, has fabulous extraction, in part due to the fact the winery’s rosé is made from the same fruit, so after some juice is run off, the remaining wine has that little extra notch of intensity. Dark cherry and black pepper are readily apparent, and a nice chocolate note precedes the extra-long finish.
Dead of Night ($45) is a blend of syrah and tannat, a grape native to the Madiran region of France, and popular primarily as a blending grape in Argentina and a few other places. It may be a touch softer when grown in Osoyoos, but certainly this brooding, dark wine is a tremendous effort. Cherries and plums give way to smoke, tobacco, and a certain meatiness that plays off the soft tannins to great effect. The first glass is for your cheese plate. The second is for bracing yourself for the upcoming Vancouver Canucks season.