Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers! - Bethany

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Hatch: It's ALL the things



A group of black swifts is not called a flock, it's called a frenzy. Swifts lay a single egg in their clutch, nest in inhospitable cliff outcroppings exposed to the elements, and only eat specific kinds of bugs. No wonder the silly things are endangered.

Such a quirky species seems a fitting mascot for West Kelowna's The Hatch winery. Where Mission Hill is the epitome of the traditional winery-slash-museum, The Hatch is cheeky, eccentric and homey. From the circular links on its website and funky labels envisioned by artist Paul Morstad, to the raucous frenzy of 'Hatchlings' working behind the tasting bar and in the cellar, The Hatch remains unapologetic in its irreverence.

This was our first stop on our tour of the Okanagan (it was also our last, we loved it that much.) We staked out a spot at the bar and were greeted by Tamara, a brilliantly inked pixie. She poured samples and rhymed off the shpeel for each wine: the chardonnay was "cray-cray"; The Hatchchild was a lawsuit waiting to happen; and the label for Gobsmacked was drawn by a nine-year-old. "So, y'know, there's hope for my artistic career yet!" she quipped.

I took a sip and tried my best to capture everything coming out of the glass. "It's got this, I dunno, a sorta ..."

Tamara stopped me mid-sentence. "It's ALL the things. And none of the other things."

Exactly.

Unlike the swift, The Hatch doesn't appear to be at much risk of extinction. It opened in May 2015, and quickly amassed glowing reviews. In July of this year, it was named ninth best winery in the country at Wine Align's annual National Wine Awards of Canada. Winemaker Jason Parkes recently collaborated with actress Pamela Anderson on a sparkling ros├ę called Contempt; he's also riding the 'orange wine' wave with the upcoming Rhymes With Door Hinge, the label of which depicts a whale swimming through steeped tea (which was apparently painted with steeped tea, if you can imagine). While we wait for that one to get released (cuz I'm SO ordering some) here's a list of our faves:

Gobsmacked "Cyclops Love" 2014
Wild blend of viognier/roussanne/gew├╝rztraminer/riesling with a fragrant bouquet of clean linens, vanilla and white blossoms. Deceptive lightness on the palate struck through with a tart zing and complex flavours.

Screaming Frenzy Chardonnay 2013
The aforementioned "Cray-cray" chardonnay. Heavily oaked but elegantly so, with loads of butter, vanilla, toast, smoke and caramel all up in there.

Screaming Frenzy Meritage 2014
Chocolate-covered coffee bean and black cherry up front, with a wickedly seductive silkiness on the tongue. Well balanced and structured, this has enough oomph to age for a bit, but can easily be opened right now.

The Hatchchild Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Just begging for a lawsuit, the name is a play on Mouton-Rothschild, the famed French chateau in Bordeaux that produces premier-cru red wines. The Hatch label sports a rather handsome-looking ram and eerily familiar fonts. This is a classic Bordeaux-style cab, with green pepper, tobacco, forest undergrowth and peppercorn on the nose, followed by chewy tannins and earthy, sour-cherry flavours on a long finish.

Dynasty Red 2014
A blend of syrah and malbec from vineyards in Osoyoos. The nose is beguiling: blackberry, clay, herbs and pepper, with a subtle whiff of port. Even more so on the palate, where the smooth texture and restrained acid are complemented by notes of stewed prunes, grilled meat and a long, peppery finish.

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