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Monday, April 5, 2010

Blackwood Lane 2007 "En Primeur"

Visiting Blackwood Lane is always a joy. Principles Carlos Lee (operations) and Charles Herrold (wine maker) are both passionate characters and very welcoming to their Fraser Valley winery. The tasting room is nicely situated on a cherry-blossom treed hill which looks out over a beautiful piece of land in southern Langley. The partners have a number of plans for the site which will help make it more of a must-see destination for the Vancouver crowd which the winery needs to attract in order to thrive. Plans for a cave cellar and restaurant as well as new plantings on their property and the adjacent property will create the effect of a grand estate. One worthy of matching their incredible wines.

Recently, we visited the winery to get a taste of the upcoming 2007 vintage releases which included a barrel tasting of the 2007 The Referènce, the 2007 Alliànce, and the 2007 Merlot which is the first of this vintage to be bottled. Below are some of our notes for this upcoming vintage which we had the pleasure to taste "En Primeur":

2007 Merlot
Big, fruity nose of dark cherries, oak, milk chocolate, maple syrup and a hint of slate with a splash of Cabernet Franc funk. Palate is full of intense flavours of fruits and oak with good tannins and acidity which will integrate more fully with another year of aging. 90-92pts
Full Review

2007 Alliànce
Concentrated berries including blueberry and blackberry on the nose with pencil shavings, cement, and slate tones.  As you search the nose you may also find a little bit of perfumed floral or violet trying to escape.  The palate is toasted with beautifully integrated berry fruit and oak with a touch of milk chocolate. The tannins are high, with medium+ acid making this a very age worthy wine. The pencil shavings and minerality continue through the palate and into a lengthy finish. This has Charles written all over it.  Superb. 94+pts  

2007 The Referènce
Old world meets new world and make love (producing "Nold" babies, perhaps?). An elegant wine with perfectly integrated tannins. The nose and palate change in the glass revealing layer upon layer of flavours and aromas. This vintage is extremely concentrated and showcases beautiful BC fruit.  The nose expresses cedar, cassis, caramel, and rose with less of the oakiness found in the Alliance, and a touch of Charles' signature pencil shavings.  These flavours proceed onto the palate with some light toast.  The finish is extremely long.  Charles has painted a masterpiece with the 2007 Reference.  95-97pts

The new vintage is an impressive next step in the ever evolving career of wine maker Charles Herrold. The 2007 vintage seems to have had longevity and elegance in mind which, for collectors, should be very exciting. For the rest of us, we'll have to be a little patient and lay wines like the 2007 Merlot and 2007 Alliànce down for a year or two before enjoying them. The 2007 The Referènce would also benefit from more time in the bottle but will drink beautifully upon release.

The winery has not yet announced a release date for all three wines. In the meantime, they have limited quantities of their excellent 2006 Merlot still available as well as the two flagship Bordeaux blends.
 - Liam Carrier and Hugh Carter

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