Two Big Red Wines from Hester Creek to Start 2024PR SAMPLE 

Happy New Year.  With that, I have my first two wines to review for 2024.  I decided to pick two big red wines from BC’s Hester Creek Estate Winery.  I have their Hester Creek Estate Winery The Judge 2020 and Garland 2020.  Both wines are Bordeaux blends with The Judge being a right-bank blend and Garland being a left-bank blend.  I was extremely impressed by these two wines and both achieved my 4.5-5 star ratings.  What a great way to start the new year.

My Wine Tasting Notes

Hester Creek Estate Winery The Judge 2020 (BC $49.99)

A blend of 35% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Franc, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec.  From the winery, “For the 2020 vintage of The Judge, we incorporated five varietals to the blend. Each varietal came from our historic Golden Mile Bench estate property, was hand harvested and cold soaked for 48 hours prior to inoculation. As an earlier ripening varietal, harvest began with our Block 2 Old Vine Merlot, which was fermented separately using an extended maceration in our Ganimede fermentation tanks, then gently pressed before undergoing malolactic fermentation. The Petit Verdot and Malbec were harvested on October 20th, cold soaked and co-fermented. Our Cabernet Franc was harvested on October 29th, followed by the Cabernet Sauvignon on November 1st. After a secondary fermentation, the lots were blended and put into both new and neutral French oak barrels for 24 months of aging. This vintage of The Judge was bottled on May 10, 2023.”

Appearance: A deep, dull garnet colour.  Tears on the glass after swirling.
Nose: Medium-intensity aromas of red and black fruits, toast, sweet spices, oak and a touch of black pepper. Add a touch of leather, capsicum and chocolate after decanting.
Palate: Dry, with a soft, lean mouthfeel to start, but gets rounder with air.  Medium tannins get firmer on the finish.  Light acidity.  Juicy black fruit, berry fruit, plums and a touch of oak.  With swirling, you get touches of capsicum, meat, char and floral, plus the tannins get stronger.  Understated fruit flavours and a strong tannic backbone for this wine. The wine has a rounder mouthfeel with decanting, plus you can add a touch of capsicum and black cherry flavours.
Finish: A medium-plus to long length finishing with a light mouthfeel.  Firmer grippy tannins, black fruit, berries, and pepperiness. Lighter tannins, pepperiness and a touch of cedar flavour after decanting.

Decanting lightens the tannic finish of this wine. Plus you may get a bit more aromatic variety.  Nice structure with decanting.  A wine that can be aged.  5 years ageing should not be a problem for this wine.

Rating: 4.5 stars5 stars A deep garnet colour.  This wine has medium-intensity aromas of red and black fruits, toast and sweet spices. It is dry with a soft mouthfeel and gets rounder with air.  Juicy black fruits, berries, plums and a touch of oak.  Understated fruit flavours. The tannins get stronger toward the finish.  A medium-plus to long length.

Hester Creek Estate Winery The Judge 2020 and Garland 2020 with wines in glasses
Hester Creek Estate Winery The Judge 2020 and Garland 2020 with wines in glasses

Hester Creek Estate Winery Garland 2020 (BC $64.99)

A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot, and 4% Malbec.  From the winery, “Comprised of three varietals and leading with Cabernet Sauvignon, our 2020 Garland was handcrafted as a traditional Bordeaux-style blend. Each varietal was hand harvested, sorted and destemmed, leaving the berries as whole as possible. Each lot was cold soaked for 48 hours prior to an extended fermentation, then gently pressed to showcase the phenolic ripeness and depth of colour. The Petit Verdot and Malbec were co-fermented, then blended with the Cabernet Sauvignon to age for 24 months in French oak. The vintage was bottled on May 12, 2023.”

Appearance: A dull, opaque garnet colour wine that leaves visible tears on the sides of the glass with swirling.
Nose: Light, seductive aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, plums, black fruit, vanilla, oak and cedar.  No change to the aromas after decanting.
Palate: Dry, medium-plus body with a soft, smooth, mouth-filling feel.  Juicy black fruits, plums, and cedar flavours with touches of oak and capsicum on the mid-palate to the finish.  I also note light minerality.  A good tannic structure, medium-plus intensity, to this wine along with medium acidity.  Bodes well for ageing. No change to the flavours, tannins or acidity after decanting.
Finish: A medium-plus to long length finishing with firm, drying tannins, dark fruit, cinnamon, and cedar flavours, plus touches of floral and red berries. No changes to the finish after decanting.

A brooding, firmly structured Bordeaux blend with understated fruit flavours.  Keep this wine for at least 4-5 years before opening to let the tannins soften a bit.

Rating: 4.5 stars5 stars A wine, almost opaque garnet in colour.  Light aromas of black fruit, plums, sweet spices, oak and cedar.  Dry, medium-plus body with a smooth, soft mouthfeel. Black fruits and plums on the palate along with cedar and touches of oak and capsicum.  Good tannic structure.  Medium-plus to long length.

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

Buy these now to hold and age for a few years. You can purchase these wines online through the Hester Creek website:

Both wines are also available at select Everything Wine stores.

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.