There are a number of star winemakers in BC. Men and women who make fantastic wines, year-after-year, no matter which winery they move to. There are few, however, who are as synonymous with their winery as Sandra Oldfield of Tinhorn Creek.
Winemaker, and co-owner, Sandra has been making wine in the Southern Okanagan since 1995 focusing on single varietals like Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris that grow well on their Golden Mile and Black Sage Bench vineyards. Her eponymous "Oldfield Series" brand is her playground where she can show-off the best-of-the-best of Tinhorn Creek, a winery that may be better known for "good value" than "high quality". I'm happy to report that in tasting the new Oldfield Series releases (October 2010), the wines should be known for both value and quality.
The Oldfield Series offers two single varietals, three blends (one white, one rosé and one red) and one ice wine. The wines are all small lot releases from the best batches and receive the most attention in their oak program. The success that Tinhorn has achieved over the years allows them to release their top wines when they are ready, rather than when they need to sell them. Good for them and good for us.
Released in October 2010. A Bordeaux-style blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon with equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The intense nose offers classic Meritage aromas of cassis, dark berries, dark chocolate, toasted oak and licorice with aromatic perfumed notes. The dry palate offers an echo of sweetness from the concentrated dark fruit and toasted oak flavours. Plum, vanilla and a lingering spice compliment and add complexity. The tannins are round and well integrated, framing the fruit flavours nicely. 91+pts
Released in October 2010. An intense nose of dark cherry, vanilla, blackberry jam, pepper and cooking spice. The palate is dry with good tannins and natural acidity - just the right amount of bite. Juicy flavours of dark fruit, vanilla, leather and toasted oak with a chalky, smoky texture. The finish is moderate and balanced with lingering pepper spice. 90pts
Released in October 2010. A stunning nose of dark berries, cherry, slate, gravel, savoury herbs and coffee with big oak and vanilla latte notes. The palate offers well structured, smooth and slightly green tannins with classic dark fruit flavours. Patient decanting will help bring out more layers of complexity revealing more earthy notes along with French oak and bitter chocolate flavours. 88pts
Released in June 2010. Given time to open-up (and warm-up - don't serve this gem too cold) the nose blooms, offering aromatic and perfumed aromas of blossoms, ripe pears, apricots, minerals and roasted mellons. The Sauvignon Blanc is evident with typical notes of grass and gooseberry. The palate is round yet crisp and has great acidity with pear and minerality continuing from the nose. The complexity is evident with further expressions of green apple and light lemon. 89pts
Released in August 2010. Intense apricots on the nose with a touch of smoke and lemon rind. Lacks the concentration of flavour and acidity on the palate of the best ice wines, however, it checks all the boxes for an enjoyable experience. Serve on vanilla ice cream to spice-up a basic desert. 86-87pts
Full Review - Coming Soon
The Varietal Series contains six single varietals with both red and white selections. The whites are generally released the following year and the reads are held back for an extra year (at least) of bottle aging. No Pinot Noir this year due to a change in the oaking and aging application. The 2008 Varietal Series Pinot Noir will be released in 2011 and the 2008 Oldfield Series Pinot Noir will be released in 2012. Patients is a virtue.
Released in October 2010. A dark ruby coloured, crowd-pleasing, smooth-as-can-be Merlot. Less refined on the nose as its big-brother Oldfield Series Merlot and not as complex on the palate, but a fantastically easy-drinking wine. Will pair beautifully with many grilled meat dishes or a deck of cards and good company. 87pts
Release in August 2010. Altogether different than the 2007 version. Less funk and more refinement. Very Loire Valley, cool climate in character with excellent aromatic herbs on the nose. This varietal does very well in the Tinhorn Creek vineyards.Let us be the first to publicly request an Oldfield Series Cabernet Franc. Until then, we'll be happily placated with this tasty red. 87pts
Released in July 2010. Classic aromas of luscious melons, buttery ice cream and orchard fruit with quiet herbaceous notes. Flavours of pears, apples, sweet pineapple and light toasted oak spice and with piquant, lemony acidity; very refreshing. 87pts
Released in July 2010. Green apples, crisp peaches, canned mandarins and a heathy dose of steely mineral notes, an intriguing nose makes. Followed by a medium-plus bodied, creamy textured palate with intense flavours of orchard fruit, melon balls minerality and green-apple tartness. 88pts
Released in May 2010. Aromas of sweet citrus, lychee, honey, pears, rose blossoms and the spice of crushed cardamom shells on the nose. The oily textured, full-bodied palate offers youthful flavours of tropical acidity, lychee, stone fruit, spice and minerality with excellent balance and a long finish. 87pts