Fairview Cellars may be the Okanagan's best kept secret. With little fanfare or self-promotion (or staff from what I can tell), Bill Eggert manages to produce some of the best wines in BC; I believe he sells most of his wine directly from the winery to a very loyal group of followers. You have to want to find this winery up in the hills above Oliver, but it's well worth the effort.
- Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($20)
With grapes now sourced from three different vineyards (Fairview estate, Bruce Iverson (including Semillon) and the Firman’s, this vintage is the most complex and aromatic to date.
Peach, floral nose but dry, good balance. 89 points.
- Pinot Noir 2010 ($30)
No saigner is taken from the must during fermentation of this Pinot (bleeding off of juice to enhance colour and body). As a result a true Pinot with a light colour, but loaded with flavour and medium body has resulted.
Nice! Well-executed pinot noir, very tasty. 90 points.
- Cabernet Franc 2010 ($27)
With the La Nina cycle providing a cooler wetter than usual summer, the Franc from this vintage is similar to the 1999 and 2001. Lighter and lower alcohol than the majority of the last decade.
Cherry. 89 points.
- Two Hoots 2010 ($25)
This Cabernet Merlot (Cab 50%, Merlot 30%, Franc 20%) is the work horse for Fairview. Most of the Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Quail’s Wayside vineyard that Fairview leases.
Spicy, smooth, a nice blend of the three grapes. 90 points.
- Madcap 2009 ($27)
This Merlot based winery is crafted to allowing earlier than usual imbibing. The softness of the Merlot tannins coupled with the fruitiness of the Cabernet Franc and a small portion of Cabernet Sauvignon to complete the Palate.
Beautiful. 91 points.
- Madcap 2007
We did a bit of a vertical tasting here. Probably because we were having orgasms after the first Madcap, Bill pulled out a couple of older Madcaps so we could compare. No winemaker notes or price information as these are no longer available, even to us at the winery except to taste. The 2007 was much softer, as one would expect. 90 points.
- Madcap 2006
I got a hint of menthol in this one and said so, but no one else thought so. It wasn't unpleasant though, and the dominant taste was pepper. 90+ points. These Madcap red blends are great wines.
- The Bear 2009 ($35)
The 2009 version of “The Bear” is a classic example of what the South Okanagan can produce. All five Bordeaux cultivars are used in this blend with Petit Verdot and Malbec making up about 5% of the blend adding even more complexity.
Cough syrupy! Still nice but not as good as previous vintages we have tasted. 88 points.
- The Wrath 2009 ($65)
Every now and then something special happens in winegrowing that provides us with the opportunity to provide something unique to our customers. The Wrath is an example of this. A hailstorm hit the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard this wine was produced from. Instead of the expected rotting of the grapes, they dried out in the hot South Okanagan sun. The resulting wine is very concentrated with everything from sweat cherries to dried plums found on the palate.
A little story behind this one. We were out in the Okanagan two years ago with our good friends Terri and Terry. We had previously been treated to a couple of hours with Dwight, the winemaker at Stag's Hollow, where I got an education in the art of blending. Generally winemakers seem to think everything depends on the growing (terrain, dirt, fruit, etc.) or else they believe blending is the single most important part of making wine. Dwight was definitely a blender, where Bill is more of a grower. After a bit of tasting at Fairview and discussion about blending, Bill locked the door to the wineshop and took us down into his cellar. It was more of a bunker really, we got to barrel-taste quite a few different wines. He even found one barrel he had forgotten about. As he tasted, I could see Bill putting blends together in his mind. After a few minutes, we got to one barrel that, even though it was near the back and dusty, was heavily stained from repeated tastings. I thought it tasted perfect right there, but Bill said it would need another year or so. This one was The Wrath, a one-time vintage yet to be bottled. That was best day of my wine drinking life....
Two years later, here we are back at Fairview and The Wrath is practically sold out and not available for tasting. We desperately chatted Bill up with some of this story so we could get a taste, and it worked. Although I liked the Mapcap slightly better, this was a special wine. My notes simply say "Huge. 90 points." Not only is this easily the most expensive wine I have ever purchased, we bought two. The other bottle was for Terri and Terry as a going away present - they now live in Kelowna - and to remember our once-in-a-lifetime day at Fairview.
Thank you, Bill.