Burrowing Owl Merlot 2020
A deep, rich Merlot showing intense aromas of black plum, blackberry, stewed blueberries, and cocoa with a complex pastry crust, graphite, and dried black olive notes. The palate is full-bodied with ripe soft tannins, crisp acidity, and lots of ripe black cherry fruit with pretty floral violet, sage, mint, and marzipan with a long finish. Plenty of structure to the cellar for a decade. Pair with ground lamb stuffed in eggplant and roasted or cumin-rubbed and grilled duck breast.
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Balance is a time-honored goal in the making of premium wines and working toward balance is a way of life at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery. Founder Jim Wyse is committed to balance, well beyond that of the fine, world-class wines being produced. A kind of Hippocratic oath (“to do no harm”) underlies the creative viticultural and enological practices at Burrowing Owl.
The winery and vineyards lie within the northernmost tip of the antelope brush ecosystem, which is part of a semi-arid shrub-steppe1 . The location (on a southwest-tilting, sandy plateau) near the north end of Osoyoos Lake, is one of the most highly rated grape-growing locations in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, and for that matter Canada.
In 1993, when Jim Wyse began to replant the vineyards which had been carefully selected for their ability to produce world class, premium quality grapes, the winery was not part of his long term vision. Having recognized the potential of this location, Jim was gratified to see wines made with his grapes gaining immediate recognition.
Finally, the decision to build Burrowing Owl Estate Winery was confirmed and a winery license was obtained in 1997. Construction began in early 1998 and completed just in time for that year’s harvest. The site has since been enhanced with a beautiful fine-dining Restaurant and luxurious Guest House.
Today, with its dramatic vantage point in the middle of the vineyard, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is a winemaking facility that combines state-of-the-art technologies with proven, classic winemaking traditions. A gravity-flow system handles ripe grapes delicately, preserving their rich fruit character. Extensive underground cellaring capacity ensures that long term barrel aging is never limited by space.
You can find Burrowing Owl wines at many fine restaurants and wine shops and of course, at the winery itself. And when you visit, be sure to bring your binoculars.
MORE ABOUT THE WINE
2018 was a moderate growing season that started with an earlier budbreak and a warmer than average May. The season cooled during the summer months and rebounded with favourable September and October temperatures. The cooperative weather allowed us to retain acidity and provide quality fruit with increased crop levels. While the sun and heat create intense fruit flavours, the cool evenings preserve the natural acidity in the grapes keeping the wine fresh and lively.
The grapes were harvested by hand from Burrowing Owl Estate Winery’s vineyards in Oliver and Osoyoos between October 9th and 18th. They were destemmed and gently crushed before being fed by gravity flow into stainless tanks for a cold soak of four days prior to approximately two weeks of alcoholic fermentation.
Both free run wine and pressed wine were then moved into barrels for malolactic fermentation followed by fourteen months of ageing. The selection of barrels helped round out the tannins, and contributed complex savoury, toasted and spicy notes. After the blending of the barrels, the wine was bottled unfiltered and left to mature in bottle until its release.