Recently I tasted a bottle of Pinot Noir and one of Pinot’s siblings, Pinot Gris, coming from the Hillside Winery which is located on the Naramata Bench north of Penticton. Both bottles were provided with screwcap closures.
Their Heritage Series Pinot Gris is of particular interest to me as it is partially fermented in oak barrels (25%) and left to age 6 months sur lie, to give it more structure than you get from an unoaked Pinot Gris. I do enjoy unoaked BC Pinot Gris to get all that fresh BC fruit flavour, but adding oak is nice as well; a complement to the fruit. Let me tell you about these wines.
I adore Pinot Noir and was really looking forward to tasting this one, but there was a hitch. Read on to find out what.
My Tasting Notes
Hillside Winery Heritage Series Pinot Gris 2019 (BC $28) – has a bright, medium minus intensity Bosc pear skin with a tinge of pink colour to it. Medium intensity very juicy fruits on the nose; ripe stone fruit, pineapple, honey, pears, white flowers, and a touch nutmeg. With decanting there is more pears, along with the pineapple and vanilla, and also butterscotch. It has a medium-plus body, thick and round with light acidity. As it does warm up in the glass it gets lighter bodied. Quite flavourful with ripe pineapple primarily, along with lesser amounts of pears, vanilla, nutmeg and oak on the palate. The wine felt lighter bodied and the nutmeg spice was mostly gone. The pear and pineapple flavours persisted and balanced nicely with the lower acidity, round mouthfeel and the touch of oak. This wine has a medium-plus length finishing peppery along with vanilla and nutmeg spice, and ripe tropical fruit. A bigger wine to the end. I really enjoyed this wine, and give the edge to the decanted version. Just a short decant is ok.
Rating: A very big juicy wine with tropical fruit aromas and flavours. You also get pears, a touch of oak, nutmeg, and vanilla, and some pepperiness on the finish.
Hillside Winery Heritage Series Pinot Noir 2018 (BC $30) – this wine is under screwcap, which is still fairly uncommon for red wines, but great as it reduces the risk of cork taint, aka TCA. This wine has a medium intensity, very translucent to the core, garnet colour. It has a light, dull nose with a mix of tar, leather, red fruits and red cherry aromas upon opening. After decanting the aromas were still dulled and smelled a bit musty. This wine is ever so slightly off-dry, has a medium level of acidity, tannins, and body, but medium plus intensity flavours. This wine is more angular than round in your mouth. The tannins are more chalky and not overly drying or harsh. There are ripe raspberry and black plum fruit flavours, but they are dulled, along with a hint of violet and a touch of oak. With decanting there was less fruit flavour and I also picked up some metallic taste. The wine has a medium-minus length finishing dry, with the raspberries, lightly bitter tarriness and some violets.
Rating: [NO RATING] When you read my review of this Pinot Noir did you pick up that the wine did not have the types of descriptors you would normally get from a fresh, young wine? This wine was tainted with cork taint / TCA even though it is under screwcap. You don’t need a cork to taint a bottle of wine. Now I don’t know where the taint came from. The closure may be 100% safe, but it could come from a barrel used for ageing or some other equipment. So if you are tasting a young wine, either red or white, and the fruit aromas and flavours are dull, plus the wine has a musty or wet cardboard aroma or flavour, then you know that the wine is tainted. Wine shops will exchange the bottle for you if you bring the bottle back to them, with the tainted wine still in the bottle, minus what you had initially poured into your glass. So don’t pour the bottle down the drain. Take it back to where it was purchased for a replacement.
That being said I still did pick up red fruit, red cherries and some floral to this wine, which I enjoyed, so I would purchase this wine as these are the aromas and flavours that I like with Pinot Noir.
Thank you to Hillside Winery for providing me with these samples to review.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
You can order their wines online through the Hillside Winery website. These two wines may be available at other private wine shops, but you need to ask.