Tasting Carter Wine Company Lemberger Merlot 2017 and The Hawk 2016PR SAMPLE 

Carter Wine Company The Hawk 2016 and Lemberger Merlot 2017 labels
Carter Wine Company The Hawk 2016 and Lemberger Merlot 2017 labels

It’s September, so let’s start looking for red wines to enjoy as the nights get longer and the weather gets cooler.  I have two red blends from the Carter Wine Company in Okanagan Falls.  Carter Wine Company The Hawk 2016, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, and Carter Wine Company Lemberger Merlot 2017.  The grapes for both wines come from their Hawks Vineyard.  Both wines have some age on them.  This is your opportunity to try aged BC wines.  No need to wait 5-10 years to enjoy them.

I rarely hear the Lemberger grape in BC.  It is usually called Blaufränkisch.  Either way, it is a red grape that I do enjoy drinking and hope that more people will try it. It is a late-ripening grape, so I am going to have to go back to check my 2017 vintage notes to see what the growing season was like for that year.  From my past notes, 2017 was a year that had forest fires and a hot summer, but the smoke shaded and helped delay the harvest.  The winemakers I interviewed said that smoke taint would not be an issue and that the harvest produced quality grapes for winemaking.

Winery Background

Carter Wine Company is one of the brands under the BC Wine Studio umbrella.  From the winery, “Stephen Carter, a Vancouver native bought the winery in 2012, and the winery produced its first vintage in 2013, under the guidance of a consultant. That consultant was replaced by Daniel Bontorin who acted as winemaker/consultant until 2019. Daniel is in fact responsible for our name, BC Wine Studio. Winemaker duties were taken over entirely by Val in the same year. Val’s philosophy is simple, farm exceptional fruit, and let it speak as wine, honest and pure.

2023 marks a new chapter in the winery’s young life. we are now concentrating much more on tours and tastings, as well as broadening our markets. we have initiated a wine club, and we will be focussed on developing a wide appeal, especially locally. Given our small size, our local presence is paramount to our success, and while our wines are available in Vancouver, online sales will be the easiest way to get our wines into the hands of the public!

Our vineyards are composed of a variety of soils and aspects, oh yes, they’re definitely steep in places. In some areas, remnants of small “pocket” lakes formed after the last Ice Age have left the soil quite sandy, with a fair amount of silty clay. We have some of those soils here, as well as 1-3 inch round rocky loamy soils. All of our vineyard blocks are extremely well drained, ideal for wine grapes!

Varietals grown include Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Ehrenfelser, Pinot Auxerrois, and our reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Lemberger, and a small amount of Pinot Meunier.”

My Wine Tasting Notes

Carter Wine Company The Hawk 2016 (BC $30.45)

A blend of 65% Merlot, 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc.  Only 115 cases were produced.

Appearance: A clear medium-plus intensity clear-to-the-core garnet colour with some bricking.  About 75% opaque.  Tear drops evident on the glass with swirling, but the wine does not taste hot.
Nose: Lighter aromas of capsicum, aged meat, black fruit, black pepper and dark chocolate. With decanting the capsicum aroma disappears and you now get some tomato aroma.
Palate: Dry, medium-plus body and flavour intensity.  Medium-minus acidity and tannins.  Smooth with a thicker mouthfeel.  I first notice capsicum, followed by black fruit, blackberries, plums, and touches of oak and chocolate.  Light pepperiness. Similar to the aromas, you can drop the capsicum and add some tomato flavour after decanting.  I also get more black fruits but no plum on the palate.
Finish: Medium to medium-plus length finishing with dark fruit flavours, capsicum and some pepperiness.  Medium acidity and tannins.  Not an overly drying finish. The only change with decanting is no capsicum flavour.

An aged wine to drink now.  

Rating: 4 stars A wine with a deep garnet and is showing some bricking indicating its age.  Darker fruit aromas and flavours, plus capsicum once opened but fades with decanting.  Medium-plus body with straightforward dark fruit flavours with touches of oak and chocolate.  Medium-minus acidity and tannins.  Medium to medium-plus length.

Carter Wine Company The Hawk 2016 and Lemberger Merlot 2017 with wines in glasses
Carter Wine Company The Hawk 2016 and Lemberger Merlot 2017 with wines in glasses

Carter Wine Company Lemberger Merlot 2017 (BC $26.10)

A blend of 40% Lemberger and 60% Merlot.  40 cases were produced of this wine.  

Appearance: A medium-minus intensity translucent to the core garnet colour.
Nose: Medium-intensity aromas of red fruit, light toast, bacon, sweet spices and vanilla.  Nice aromas. No changes to the aromas after decanting.
Palate: Dry, medium-plus body and flavour intensity.  Round with a silky smooth mouthfeel.  Red fruit, red cherries, red plums and touches of floral, chocolate, oak, and nutmeg flavours.  Vibrant acidity but not overpowering.  Soft tannins. The wine may have a slightly lighter body after decanting.  Flavours persist.
Finish: Medium-plus length finishing with red fruit, red cherries, some pepperiness, oak, and cocoa flavours.  Light tannins. No change to the flavours on the finish.

No need to decant this wine or rush to finish.  OK to enjoy any remaining wine in the bottle on the next day.  You could keep this wine in your cellar for a year, but why not enjoy it now?  It is in its prime.

Rating: 4 stars4.5 stars A wine with inviting aromas of red fruit, toast, bacon, sweet spices and vanilla.  Dry, with a round silky smooth mouthfeel.  Red fruits and cherry flavours along with floral and a touch of chocolate.  Acidity keeps this wine fresh. Medium-plus length.

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

Both wines are available to purchase online from the Carter Wine Company website.  The winery is also offering a limited Wine Club 6 Pack of wines that contains these two 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.