BC: Gorgeous honeysuckle and guava, buttery while bright, knocking a fat slab of creamy cheese against fallen leaves and petrichor. Really nice nose, going on and on full-strength, never breathing out to *something else* as is often the case. I’ve had this thing in the glass for 30 minutes easy and it’s just ON THROUGH THE NIGHT with the nose.
NV: Heap big smoke. Fruit far more down-to-earth, running stony and cold. The smoke becomes background before the chalky late-breath, briar and kiwi brighten a bit of volatility.
I know–based on their other two wines I’ve had–the Gratus is going to be a big boy. Likewise the Okanagan–based on the other wines I have had from Desert Hills–will not be a slouch in the ripeness department. I haven’t looked at the alcohol on either on, and am not going to. Ten years ago I think I would be called a fool for opening a Canadian wine with a Napa Valley, but I think these two can probably sing pretty well together. And this isn’t a competition. So many people immediately assume some sort of cage-fight death-match whenever two bottle are side-by-side, but nothing could be further from the truth with me. First of all, one is a Viognier and one is a Rhone white blend with Viognier at the tail end.
BC: In the mouth, clean as fresh-washed linen, a tiny petrol spark ignites more creaminess–this time the PYROMANIA is of the acid variety, lush and hi-strung, a little neutral oak funking things up. Coming alive mid-palate from its understated entry, it churns out tannin and sour apple, leaving you HIGH AND DRY with a great raspy finish strung out on rich fruit.
NV: Way riper and bogged down in buttery sweetness upon entry. The richness and fullness of this bottle are apparent from the first sip. This is luxo stuff, churning out carmelization and dense maceration-machinations along every inch of your tongue. And all is coated in a toasted smokiness–from the almost tasteable oak to the burnished edges of all the fruit and even the acid.
Let’s go for another quick sniff & hit non a fresh pour, both 51°: Yup, Canada is soapy-clean, fresh-scrubbed and ripe-strawberry-intense with a massive finish. Napa is smoky, hi-caramel briar intensity trailing off into sweet preserves. See now, if you told me one is a Viognier and one is predominately Grenache Blanc, I’d probably assume the opposite. I’m going to guess BOTH right at about 14-3, with the nod to Napa if one is higher. The .ca shows it in the finish heat, while the .com shows it across the rich palate. I wouldn’t throw either one of these out of bed.
2017 DESERT HILLS Viognier Sira’s Vineyard Okanagan Valley BC Canada 14.1
2017 GRATUS White Blend GB/RS/MS/Viognier Napa Valley California 14.2