Our winemaker judged from the best lots in our cellar to make this iconic wine. This vintage displays generous aromas of toasted caramel, dark chocolate, fresh blackberry, leather and sagebrush. The lush and attractive palate expresses ripe cherry, rich cocoa, and savoury characteristics with a round, full finish. A richly textured wine that pairs well with braised short ribs or full-bodied cheeses.
The 2019 grape growing season in the Oliver and Osoyoos region was one of remarkable variability, with fluctuating conditions in the winter and fall, and a beautifully balanced summer. Overall Growing Degree Days (GDD) were 1598, above the 20 year average of 1474. Seasonally average temperatures with few heat spikes in the summer resulted in an even growing season. The temperatures in September were somewhat warmer than usual, however we experienced more precipitation than normal. Harvest started September 3 with the last of our white grapes picked on October 2. Our Merlot harvest was completed shortly thereafter, with the last of our reds grapes picked November 4. A severe widespread frost event throughout the entire Okanagan Valley occurred the night of October 9th. Despite this early cold snap, our remaining grapes on the vine were at the ideal maturity levels, with desired ripeness achieved. Crop levels were only slightly below normal and as a whole, the 2019 wines are showing outstanding aromatics and flavours, with bright natural acidity, and good colour and structure.
Crafted with handpicked fruit from our Golden Mile Bench estate, the Judge is made from of the oldest vines on our historic 1968 property. The grapes were meticulously sorted, cold soaked and fermented in separate varietal lots in our Ganimede tanks. These specialized Italian tanks achieve ideal extraction in an extremely gentle and natural process using CO2, allowing the fruit and vineyard blocks to fully show their flavours. This year’s vintage is a blend of 41% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Cabernet Franc. The wines were gently pressed and encouraged through malolactic fermentation, blended with the other components and barrel aged for 24 months. The barrels were primarily French oak, 30% of which were new, along with older neutral oak barrels to contribute classic leather notes to the wine. A harmonious and complex Bordeaux-style blend that is cellar worthy.