2 Delicious Red Wines from Bonamici Cellars

2019 had a moderate temperature during the growing season so that our BC grapes did not overripen. There was a wetter September but the harvest continued with a smaller crop but still very good quality berries.  Let’s see how some of the red wines did. I have two wines from the 2019 harvest from Bonamici Cellars in Okanagan Falls. Okanagan Falls in my opinion hits a sweet spot for grape growing, especially for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but other grapes grow there as well, such as Merlot and Cabernet Franc. I received Bonamici’s Merlot – Cabernet Franc 2019 and their Small Lot Reserve Merlot 2019 to sample and write about. They are both delicious red wines!  I classify one in the Old World and one in a New World style.  Can you guess which is which from my tasting notes below?

Bonamici Cellars bottle capsule
Bonamici Cellars bottle capsule

One thing that I like to see from wineries is some design on their capsule which makes it easy to identify the bottle once you have it stored either upright, or on its side in your wine storage area. Bonamici Cellars was founded in 2012 by consulting winemaker, Philip Soo, with his good friend and business partner Mario Rodi.  On their wine labels it shows two fellows in a large wine barrel being airborne by two large balloons.  I assume the two navigators are Philip and Mario.  The artwork on the label is echoed on the bottle capsule.  It makes the wine bottle have a unique look, and easier to find once you have it safely tucked away in your wine cellar.

My Wine Tasting Notes

Bonamici Cellars Merlot – Cabernet Franc 2019 (BC $28)

Appearance: A deeper, translucent to core garnet colour. About 85% opaque.
Nose: Medium intensity aromas of juicy berries, plums, and touches of oak, sweet spices / nutmeg, and baby powder. Cocoa and toffee with a longer time in the glass.  In addition to these fruit and spice aromas, with decanting you also can add cocoa, clove and toffee aromas. The plum aroma is lessened.
Palate: Dry, medium-plus body, round, almost silky soft but has a nice acidic edge. Ripe plums, juicy berries, blackberries, baby powder, vanilla, and nutmeg flavours. A touch of floral with air. The wine still stays round and silky soft with decanting, as well as the flavours, but you can now add clove, cocoa and toffee flavours.  The tannins are a bit stronger toward the finish.
Finish: A medium-plus length, finishing with ripe plums, baby powder, cocoa, and vanilla. The tannins get a bit firmer on the finish. Cinnamon and toffee flavours with time in the glass. A mix of tart and sweet ripe fruit flavours with decanting, plus cinnamon and some pepperiness.  Firmer tannins as well.

The aromas and flavours really evolved in the glass quite quickly upon first opening, but then settled down with decanting.  Both just opened and decanted versions are very enjoyable.  The wine is very fruit-forward, but has the acidity and tannins to balance out the wine.

Rating: 4.5 stars A delicious red blend wine.  Juicy berries, plums and touches of oak, sweet spices and baby power aromas.  Soft and inviting on the palate.  Dry, round and silky.  Balanced acidity to the fruit.  Ripe plums, juicy berries, and sweet spice flavours. A longer length finishing with firmer tannins, ripe plums, sweet spices, cocoa and a touch of floral

Bonamici Cellars Merlot - Cabernet Franc and Small Lot Reserve Merlot 2019 with wines in glasses
Bonamici Cellars Merlot – Cabernet Franc and Small Lot Reserve Merlot 2019 with wines in glasses

Bonamici Cellars Small Lot Reserve Merlot 2019 (BC $45)

Appearance: Deep, translucent garnet in colour. About 90% opaque.
Nose: Very light aromas showing red fruits, cassis, plums, and some sweet spices / nutmeg. You get cassis and plum fruit flavours with decanting, plus a mix of nutmeg and cinnamon spice, plus cedar.
Palate: Dry, very silky smooth with lower acidity. Thinner mouthfeel, not mouth-filling. Plums, blackberries, and ripe raspberry fruit flavours, along with touches of vanilla, oak, and cloves. A thicker, more plush mouthfeel with decanting.  The tannins are a bit stronger.  The same fruit and sweet spice flavours, but you can now add a touch of cedar.
Finish: A medium-plus length finishing with red fruits and blackberries, and a touch of sweet spices. The tannins firm up and leave a grippy mouthfeel. The tannins are bit stronger and drying on the finish with decanting.  You also get some pepperiness, blackberries, cedar and oak flavours.

Decant or not is ok, but decanting will give you a thicker mouthfeel and firmer tannins.  The fruit flavours are not as effusive as the Merlot – Cabernet Franc.  A bit more structure.  You can hold this wine for 3-4 years without any issue.

Rating: 4 stars4.5 stars Translucent but deep garnet colour.  Light intensity aromas of red fruits, cassis, plus and sweet spices. Medium body, dry with a smooth silky mouthfeel.  Lower acidity and medium tannins.  Blackberries, ripe raspberries, and plum fruit flavours, plus light oak, vanilla and clove spices.  Medium-plus length with red fruits and blackberries, and firmer tannins.

I can imagine enjoying these two wines with a roast beef or duck dinner. If you are a vegetarian I’d look for a dish with roasted mushrooms in a tomato sauce, maybe adding some soy sauce or tamari for an umami boost.

Did you guess which is more Old World in my opinion?  It is the Small Lot Reserve Merlot 2019!

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

You can purchase these wines through the Bonamici Cellar’s website. They also have a restaurant and retail store locator which lists cities and towns across BC where you can purchase their wines.

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.