Black Hills Estate Winery 2008 Nota Bene - 91pts
Availability: Limited. Select private wine shops and VQA stores.
Cost: $54-60 prices vary
Production: 4350 cases
Date Tasted: July 3rd, 2010. Re-tasted September 23rd, 2010
Tasting Notes: The production of this fan-favourite wine has been capped at 4000-ish cases (depending on the yield of the vintage) in an act of self-control by the estate which adds to its cult-like status and collectability. The winery could so easily purchase more grapes and bloat the production, capitalizing on its fame. We applaud them for not giving in to the temptation and keeping the wonderfully named "Note Bene" a brand the BC wine industry can be proud of. However, the winery's practice to advertise the wine as "sold-out" is ever-so-slightly miss-leading. It's not actually that hard to get your hands on a bottle, especially this year, as many VQA and private stores have it in stock. They may not have walk-up sales for this wine at the cellar door, but look around and you'll find it.
This wine may be based on a classic Bordeaux-style blend but it reminded us more of a quality Super-Tuscan with great vegetal notes on the nose and earthiness on the palate. The Note Bene is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (48%), Merlot (41%) and Cabernet Franc (11%) which produce intense aromas of cassis, dark fruit, licorice, oak spice, French vanilla, forest floor and cigar box. Equally big flavours of cherry cola, blackberry liqueur, blueberries, espresso beans, wet cigar and toasted oak follow suit on the richly-textured and full-bodied palate. Good length and balance to the finish.
The 2008 vintage tasted a bit tight and could use a little more time to develop. But don't wait too long as this vintage has less of the ripe tannins needed for really long cellaring. Drink 2011-2016.
- Liam Carrier ©copyright 2010 (with Hugh Carter)