Recently I received two new red wines from Spierhead Winery; Vanguard 2010, and Pursuit 2010. If you have not heard of Spierhead before, they are a relatively new winery, located in Kelowna, BC. They were named BEST NEW WINERY at the 2012 B.C. Wine Awards. The first wines I tried from Spierhead was a Pinot Noir and a Riesling (Read my tasting notes here). The two red wines I received are both Bordeaux blends. The Vanguard is their flagship blend and Pursuit is their second level blend.
Spierhead Vanguard 2010
As I mentioned, this is their flagship red wine. It is a blend of 48% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Cabernet Franc. The grapes come from the Black Sage Road in Oliver. The wines are barrel aged for 18 months in 100% French oak, and 55% of those barrels are new. $29.90 for a bottle, available in private wine stores, BC VQA stores, the winery, and online.
This wine have a medium translucent garnet colour. Swirling it in the glass produces nice legs, giving some indication of alcohol content in the wine. It is 13.9%. I enjoyed the nose of this wine; very pretty. It is still youthful with red fruit, red currants, dried cherries on the fruit side, and then some cloves, vanilla and spice, licorice and dark chocolate. I also picked up a whiff of cedar from the 4% Cabernet Franc. Lots of aromas swirling around in the glass. The wine is dry with medium acidity, tannins, and alcohol.
On the palate there was mainly red fruit, raspberries, red cherries, and red and black currants. Also black fruit flavours, to a lesser degree. Violets showed up on the mid palate. The tannins were very integrated with the wine; not grippy, and supported the fruit without overpowering it. Related to the tannins was the oak flavour, which was in the background, but became more obvious on the finish. I also picked up cedar, licorice and smoke flavours too, but not to the same degree as the fruit flavours. The flavours of sweet oak and cherries lasted for quite a long time on the finish.
This is a very good quality wine that you could enjoy now for it’s juicy flavours, or let it age and develop tertiary characteristics. I think it would be interesting to try this wine in 2 years. I really like the good balance of fruit, tannins, acidity and alcohol content. I might consider enjoying this wine with roast duck.
Spierhead Pursuit 2010
This is their second level wine. It is made of 57% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 16% Cabernet Franc. Same grapes as the Vanguard, but different proportions. Likewise these wines are also barrel aged for 18 months in 100% French oak, with only 44% being new barrels. This wine is priced at $21.90 and can be purchased in the same locations as the Vanguard.
This wine has medium garnet in colour with a slight ruby tint; translucent to the core. The nose was a bit subdued, but I did pick up red and black fruit, plums, vanilla, milk chocolate, and a hint of cedar. On the palate it was dry with medium levels of acidity, tannins and alcohol. You get juicy red cherry along with red currant fruit flavours. The cedar flavour is more pronounced than in the Vanguard. The milk chocolate and vanilla from the aromas continue to the palate. The tannins were firmer on this wine, which I would not have guessed as the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon is lower than the Vanguard. The wine has a medium length with a fruit pit followed by cherries and vanilla on the finish. The fruit flavours fell off a little too quickly for me.
This is a good wine, but one that I may not age as long. Enjoy sooner rather than later. For our upcoming winter season, you may want to try this wine with a nice beef stew.
I noted from their fact sheets that they have produced 48 magnums of the Vanguard 2010. It would be interesting to purchase a regular 750 ml bottle and the magnum (which is 1.5 liters) , age them both for the same length of time, and then open and compare the wines. In theory the magnum should age more slowly and elegantly. I have not had a chance to try this before, but am interested in the experiment.
The Back Label
I thought you may enjoy reading the back label for both wines. You may notice that there is a QR code on each label. See if you QR code reader on your smart phone or iPhone can read it. Let me know if it works.