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In the early 1990s, when it was just a small farmgate winery with a postage stamp vineyard, Hillside began producing what is believed to have been ... Read more
Sometimes, it seems as if there is rivalry between Hillside’s Mosaic and Hillside’s Reserve Merlot about which will rule as the winery’s flagship r... Read more
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In the early 1990s, when it was just a small farmgate winery with a postage stamp vineyard, Hillside began producing what is believed to have been the Okanagan’s first varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. Beginning in 2002, the full array of Bordeaux varieties has become available and a blend called Mosaic has become the winery’s flagship red. The wine is superbly crafted by Kelly Symonds, a Canadian-born winemaker with an enology degree from the University of Adelaide. To make this wine, she chose lots of fruit from 10 vineyards from the Naramata Bench to Osoyoos. The wine was aged in French oak. This wine, from one of the Okanagan’s finest vintages, begins with a fine red berry and spice aroma. With a good core of sweet fruit, the wine has a satisfying entry, with great length and a lingering finish. The tannins are ripe and long, giving the wine an elegant texture. The winemaker’s style is to strike a balance, making the wine soft enough to be enjoyed on release but with backbone for aging. She suggests this vintage of Mosaic will cellar well for the next five years. 89 points.
Sometimes, it seems as if there is rivalry between Hillside’s Mosaic and Hillside’s Reserve Merlot about which will rule as the winery’s flagship red. The latter wine invariably is plump and friendly but Mosaic has the edge, thanks to the complexity achieved by blending all five of the major Bordeaux reds.While Hillside’s reputation rests on its white wines, it has a considerable history with reds. Vera Klokocka, the self-taught vintner who opened the winery in 1990 in a tiny farm house and sold it five years later, was the first on the Naramata Bench, and perhaps one of the earliest in the Okanagan, to release a Cabernet Sauvignon. The volume from the postage stamp vineyard was so modest that she seldom had a chance to impress with it. With one notable exception. Windsor area winemaker Sal D’Angelo, who began vacationing in the Okanagan in 1987, brought a bottle of his Ontario Cabernet to dinner with Hillside’s owners, complaining that he could not find a good red in B.C. He changed his mind when he tasted Vera’s Cabernet – to such an extent that D’Angelo has just opened his own B.C. winery, not far from Hillside, where he makes only reds.Everything has changed at Hillside since D’Angelo’s dinner there. It is now a 15,000-square-foot winery looming over Naramata Road, with larger vineyards and an Australian-trained winemaker in Kelly Symonds. She assembled this Mosaic blend, aging the wine nine months in French and American oak before releasing it. Dark in colour, it has aromas of chocolate, liquorice, mint and figs. On the palate, it has Christmas pudding flavours, with plenty of spicy plum notes. The texture is robust and muscular – a wine built for aging. But take care: the quality of the cork used here is not up to the quality of the wine. 88 points.
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