Founded in 1981 by proprietor Anthony von Mandl, Mission Hill Family Estate has a solid reputation as a leader within the wine community that helped define the Okanagan Valley. His winery won the Avery Trophy in 1994 for ‘Best Chardonnay in the World’ at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in the United Kingdom and made the world take note of BC and the Okanagan. Mission Hill has different levels/price points for their wines to make them accessible to a wide range of individuals, as well as different labels.
In this article I will review two of their sub $20 wines. One is from their Five Vineyards tier, which I view as a good value intro level to Mission Hill’s wines, and the other is their Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery label, which also shows great value, and is a tribute to the Ganton and Larsen families who were the original and longstanding land-owning partners of the winery. The labels of the Ganton & Larsen wines show a historical place, figure, animal or item from the Okanagan Valley, as depicted by original artwork from a local Okanagan artist. Both wines are Cabernet Merlot blends from BC grapes.
Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery Haynes Barn Merlot Cabernet 2012 ($13.29+taxes) – Haynes Barn is a historical building on the former homestead of landowner and cattle rancher Judge John Carmichael. It is part of the local heritage site near the town of Oliver. This wine is a blend of 64% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Garnet in colour; almost translucent to the core. Light intensity nose, almost closed, with aromas of apples and cinnamon together with red cherries upon first opening the bottle. With decanting you get more red cherries and sweet spices. It is dry, fuller bodied, but also has a light mouthfeel. Round with flavours of ripe cassis and vanilla, with hints of vanilla and cedar. There are some sweet spices up front followed by the fruit. There is also some plum flavour together the finish, and pepperiness. Almost a puckering finish. The tannins also get firmer toward the end. Medium length. With decanting, I get some dried herbs on the palate and a whiff of capsicum.
Rating: This wine is meant to be enjoyed with food. Give it some time to decant and it will become a bit softer on the palate.
Mission Hill Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2013 ($15.99+taxes) – A blend of Merlot 41%, Cabernet Sauvignon 32%, Cabernet Franc 24%, and Petit Verdot 3%. This wine is garnet in colour, almost opaque in the glass. Swirling reveals legs on the side of the glass. This wine smells rich, with lees, ripe red cherries and plums, vanilla and sweet spices. With decanting you also get a hint of eucalyptus. It is dry medium bodied, round and soft on the palate. Flavours of vanilla, ripe plums and cherries, with lesser amounts of raspberries and oak, and a hint of eucalyptus. It has medium length with medium tannins and bright acidity on the finish.
Rating: A bigger, rich wine, that offers you ripe cherries and plums. This wine should pair nicely with many red meat dishes or a cheese plate.
Where Can You Buy These Wines?
You can buy these wines in BC liquor stores, as well as at Artisan Wine Shops (there is one in Metrotown), and at the Mission Hill Winery in Kelowna.
In an upcoming article, I will cover 2 of Mission Hill’s Reserve level wines. Watch for it.