Black Hills Carmenere – 12 year vertical!

So this is why we didn’t have time to make a few more stops on the road up here: a 2PM appointment with this fabulous event.

The first of it’s kind! I suspect they may do this again a few times, although apparently some of the older vintages are down to their last few bottles.

2019-06-14 14.14.15
Black Hills Carmenere X 12!


2006: Leather, pepper, tobacco leaf and golden raisins on the nose. The palate is more herbaceous than fruity at this point, but it still shows some black plum and a touch of black pepper. This won’t get any better, but it’s still showing well. 91.

2007: Dusty sage, black raspberry, some other black fruits hanging around on the nose. The palate is juicy and still quite fresh – blackberry, raisins, licorice flavors come through. Peaking now. Delicious. 92.

2008: Red raspberry, white pepper and jalapeño on the nose. Black fruit dominates the palate which still features grippy tannins. This has more time left in it and might even get a touch better. 90.

2009: Red fruit, cigar box and leather on the nose. Strawberry, cranberry, tobacco leaf on the palate. Long finish. Peaking now. 91.

2010: Herbaceous nose, with some red fruit, vanilla and oak poking through the herbs. Dark chocolate, oak, jalapeño on the palate. Delicious now and still has lots of legs left to step up to another level. 92.

2011: Red fruit, green pepper, plum and cassis on the nose. Blueberry and cassis on the palate. Acidity seems high and the finish is fairly short. Drink now. 88.

2012: Red fruit, dusty notes of thyme and sage on the nose. Blackberry, green pepper and a touch of white pepper on the palate. Long, lovely finish. Has another 5-7 years in it. 92.

2013: Aromas of chocolate, oak and forest floor. Herbs and green pepper on the palate. Very short finish. This was the only vintage I didn’t like that much upon release, and it has not changed my mind. In fact, it has probably regressed. 85.

2014: Lighter nose of red fruit and a touch of black pepper. I actually preferred this vintage upon release, which is not to say it’s not still excellent, but it might have shut down a bit. It will be interesting to see this one in a few more years. 92.

2015: Black cherry, black raspberry, plum, smoke, black olive aromas. Menthol, herbs, red cherry and just a hint of the smoke that overwhelmed the Okanagan valley in 2015. Should still age beautifully. 92.

2016: Green pepper, funky mushroom and red fruit on the nose. Blackberry, cranberry, smoke and a hint of cigar box. Tannins are silky smooth. This one can go another 5-8 years at least. 92.

2017: This is a beast. A BEAST. Hot in every sense of the word, with thyme and sage on the nose and palate. Joined by a hint of black pepper, mint and strawberry. I wouldn’t touch this for at least 3 years, and it probably needs closer to 10. Tons of potential for a great wine, though. 90++.


As you can see from my scores, it wasn’t easy to pick my favorite vintage, it was a six-way tie. When it came right down to it, I went with the 2007 in a photo finish. Perhaps it was a nostalgic vote, as I had never tasted a Carmenere that was well over a decade old. What a treat!

Legendary BC wine critic and writer John Schreiner was also in attendance, and it happened that the next day we would run into him at Lariana Cellars, where he would mirror my sentiments about this initial event: A real treat for all concerned, and we should all be aging our Carmenere longer than we think !

Next up: We had one or two more wineries in us this day, and we would head up the road to Maverick Estate Winery!

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Wine blogger, foodie, traveler.

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