It has been many years since I visited Burrowing Owl Estate Winery in person. I’ve been tasting their wines from home and from Trade Tastings in Vancouver (pre-COVID), and always appreciate the quality of their wines. When I decided to take a short trip to the south Okanagan, I made a point to visit Burrowing Owl Estate Winery and was not disappointed. Let me tell you about the wines I tasted.
My Wine Tasting Notes
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2020 ($28) – The grapes for this wine come from Keremeos in the Similkameen Valley. 75% of the grapes of Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Semillon; a white Bordeaux-style blend. Light lemon colour. Medium-plus intensity aromas; grassy, lemon, honey, lime and green beans. Very expressive aromas. Dry, medium body with a lean mouthfeel. Higher acidity. Green bean, citrus and jalapeno pepper toward the finish. Quality.
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Chardonnay 2019 ($32) – 85% of these grapes were barrel fermented, and then all the wine was barrel-aged for 9 months. 15% of the wine went through a secondary malolactic fermentation. Medium lemon colour. Light, yet rich aromas of ripe tropical fruit, vanilla and butterscotch. A medium-minus body, roundish with a light mouthfeel. Tasty ripe tropical fruit flavours, along with touches of oak, sweet spices, mineral, lime, and apricot.
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2019 ($35) – A medium translucent garnet colour. Light sour cherry plus touches of sweet spice and liquorice aromas. Medium-plus body, round and dry with a thicker mouthfeel. Plums and cassis to start with cherries and vanilla on the finish. Light tannins. Medium length. –
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Merlot 2019 ($32) – Their Merlot wine in 1998 was the first award that their winery won. This vintage has a deeper garnet colour. It has light aromas of black plums and other black fruits, plus a touch of vanilla. Bright blackberries and other berry flavours, a touch of capsicum and sweet spices, plus some salty minerality. Medium-plus body, round with medium acidity and lighter, fine-grained tannins.
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Syrah 2019 ($35) – 3% Viognier is co-fermented with the Syrah grapes. This is a common approach in the northern Rhone Valley. The Viognier helps to extract more colour from the Syrah grapes plus can add a floral component. This wine is a deeper garnet colour. A light intensity nose with cinnamon and blackberries aromas. Dry with a medium-plus body, medium-plus acidity, and fine light tannins. Off-dry or quite fruity with some roundness. Plums plus sweet ripe berry fruits on the mid-palate. Soft, supple tannins. A lighter-bodied Syrah.
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Coruja NV ($45) – This dessert port-style wine was first made in 2008 (first bottling 2011) with each subsequent year added to the initial wine, so you are getting a fraction of each vintage. Reminds me of the solera method for Sherry. I don’t know any other winery in BC using this method for their port-style wine. I was told that their Coruja is similar to a Ruby-style port. In case you wanted to know what Coruja means, it is a Portuguese word for “owl”. A fitting name for the Burrowing Owl Estate winery.
This wine is opaque garnet in colour. Ripe dried fruits aromas along with dark berries, and touches of chocolate and vanilla. Thicker, soft and rich with medium sweetness. Red and black cherry flavours with a touch of chocolate and pepperiness toward the finish. Very fine tannins. Superb.
I did have a chance to walk around the vineyard to take a few pictures of their Syrah and Merlot grapes. The Merlot grapes were up for picking while the Syrah grapes still needed more time on the vine to build up their sugars.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
Thanks to Steve Neumann, Brand Ambassador, for pouring the wines and giving me a bit of background on each wine.