Note: I wrote this 2 weeks ago and was about to press the “Publish” button when I noticed that Courtney had just written about the Desert Hills Cab Franc. It might look like all we’ve been drinking is Desert Hills wines this month but I assure you, we have been tasting other wines as well. More wines still to come…
Consistency is the mark of any established winery. A winery that has been through good vintages and bad. Ones that have the ability to sway when the wind blows rather than break. Perhaps that describes the brothers Toor who have taken Desert Hills from a humble vineyard supplying grapes to other wineries (notably the yummy Gamay from Domain de Chaberton) to a winery with a reputation for robustly flavoured reds.
Enter the Mirage 2007 – one of the richest, New-World style, Meritages that BC has produced. I’ve tried vintages on this in the past and am most familiar with the 2005 – rich, velvety, decadently-layered Meritage worthy of Washington state or even California. The 2007 vintage, a hot year and one of the last ‘normal’ growing seasons we’ve had in BC, is dangerously close to the 2005.
I decanted this wine an hour before dinner with friends and visiting family. It was one of 3 wines that evening and was one that I was eager to try. It totally delivered in many ways with a smoothness and complexity that can hold my attention throughout the meal. It was not the only wine at the table that evening, but it was a standout in terms of taste.
My only reservation is it’s acidity, which isn’t so much a comment on the wine making at Desert Hills, as it is on the lineage of the wine’s New-World, fruit-forward style. The ageability of this style is always a big question mark. At almost 5 years old now, it showed well after decanting and in the glass but there was no real noticeable improvement or drastic change to the aromas or flavours. Whereas another wine at the table, only one vintage younger, continued to change, evolve, and get ‘open up’ over the same time period.
Stability of that sorts can be beneficial and in this case, the Mirage ’07 acted as my barometer for the other wines and the food at the meal. To me, consistency of that sort is important enough to call the Desert Hills Mirage out as a true classic BC wine.
Cheers from wine country!