Golden Mile Bench
October 15-November 1, 2020
May 10, 2023
2020 The Judge
This vintage of The Judge leads with aromas of anise, sagebrush, toasty caramel and dark chocolate. Ripe cherry and caramel lead to a full, round palate of Stella cherries, eucalyptus and cocoa with a lengthy finish. Pair The Judge with a BBQ rib eye or a roasted beet torte.
From a winemaking perspective 2020 was an exceptional vintage in the South Okanagan. Early spring started out colder than average but by mid-to-late June, temperatures were at or above average. Following a summer that began a little later than usual, September was very warm resulting in our vineyards seeing a smaller than average crop with smaller grape bunches. The vines benefited from a dry September, with a smaller berry size contributing to concentrated flavours. The warm weather in late September and early October enabled the grapes to reach ideal phenolic ripeness, with our white varietals all handpicked and fermenting in tank by the first week of October. Following a warm start to fall, the weather turned and we saw a rare snowfall and a freezing event in the valley on October 23rd. Fortunately, the majority of our red grapes were harvested by this time. From a temperature perspective, the 2020 vintage was the 5th warmest in growing degree days in the last 2 decades. Overall, the 2020 season delivered exceptional quality grapes of a smaller berry size with abundant ripe fruit and beautifully enhanced flavour profiles. It is a year where the quality will be talked about for years to come, producing wines that are cellar worthy.
For the 2020 vintage of The Judge, we incorporated five varietals to the blend. Each varietal came from our historic Golden Mile Bench estate property, was hand harvested and cold soaked for 48 hours prior to inoculation. As an earlier ripening varietal, harvest began with our Block 2 Old Vine Merlot, which was fermented separately using an extended maceration in our Ganimede fermentation tanks, then gently pressed before undergoing malolactic fermentation. The Petit Verdot and Malbec were harvested on October 20th, cold soaked and co-fermented. Our Cabernet Franc was harvested on October 29th, followed by the Cabernet Sauvignon on November 1st. After a secondary fermentation, the lots were blended and put into both new and neutral French oak barrels for 24 months of aging. This vintage of The Judge was bottled on May 10, 2023.
93 Points ~ Julian Park
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