A classic blend of almost equal parts Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the Judge is a powerful, yet elegant Bordeaux style red that is built to age gracefully. Aromas of anise, cedar, dark cherry and blackberry greet the nose. Youthful tannins show initially on the palate, followed by dark chocolate, Italian plum, and Negronne fig, with a lengthy finish. If enjoying young, decanting is recommended. Pair with a slow roasted leg of lamb and morel mushrooms jus.
The 2017 growing season was one of marked contrasts, overall however it was an outstanding year. The season commenced with above normal precipitation, resulting in rapid early vine growth, which necessitated increased grapevine canopy management in late spring. The wet spring was followed by a classic Okanagan summer of hot, dry weather. This provided ideal growing conditions for superior vine growth and berry development and ensured the grapes reached full phenolic ripeness. Growing Degree Days continued their above average trend totaling 1422 (GDDs) for 2017, well above the 13 year average of 1054 for the Oliver area. Harvest commenced in late September for our whites. The red varieties were harvested in October where the warm days and crisp, cool nights assisted in fully developing grape flavours, while also retaining their acidity. All grapes were harvested by hand to maximize fruit intensity.
Handpicked from our Golden Mile Bench estate vineyard, the fruit for this vintage comes from some of our original 1968 plantings. The grapes were destemmed leaving berries intact and the small lots were then fermented in our Ganimede Italian fermenters in separate batches. These unique tanks gently extract colour, tannin and aromatics. Following an extended fermentation, the resulting wine is pressed, the juice fractions are separated, and the best lots are judged. The wine was aged in medium to medium plus toast oak barrels for 12 months and then cross blended and allowed to harmoniously age another year prior to bottling. The Judge is a bold red, which beautifully displays the historic terroir on which it is grown.
(91 Points ~ Daenna Van Mulligen) (94 Points ~ John Schreiner) (93 Points ~ Natalie MacLean)