A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 885: King + Victoria

Harald Thiel playing it for laughs

Wednesday, June 21st: Harald Thiel’s Summer Solstice party at Hidden Bench. The party, thrown for club members, also celebrated the winery’s 20th anniversary. Appetizers and wines were served on the terrace, with live music, before we all went inside for a sit-down, four-course dinner matched with venerable vintage Hidden Bench wines for 150 people. In his speech, Harald told the audience that I was the first wine writer to visit the winery, taste the wines and write about them.

The menu

Hidden Bench Nuit Blanche 2007

My garlic-free green pea soup

Hidden Bench Chardonnay 2011

Egg yolk raviolo

Hidden Bench Terroir Caché 2007

Beef tenderloin

Rhubarb cheesecake

…with 2005 Vidal Icewine

There was also a camera booth in an Airstream trailer, and we were invited to put on crazy hats and take goofy photos. On the way out I bought a bottle of Hidden Bench Terroir Caché 2017 for my son Guy, his favourite Ontario red wine. A highly enjoyable evening among many old friends.

Thursday, June 22nd: King + Victoria winery won a gold medal for their 2018 Pinot Noir so I decided to drop by for a tasting. Proprietors Rob Harold and Joe Schenck own the 20-acre Hanck Vineyard (13 acres planted to Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir). Hanck is a combination of the brothers-in-law’s surnames. The wines are made at Cloudsley Cellars. We started off with their Pét-nat Riesling 2022 (readers of this blog know of my aversion to this style of wine, but this one was remarkably clean).

King + Victoria Riesling 2019 ($25)
Straw colour with a lime tint; lemon blossom nose and citrus zest notes; medium-bodied, just off-dry; rich mouthfeel, sweet pink grapefruit flavour with a lemon-lime finish. (90)

King + Victoria Sauvignon Blanc 2020 ($25)
Pale straw in colour; grassy, green plum bouquet; medium to full-bodied, dry, unctuous, rich mouthfeel; long crisp finish. (91)

King + Victoria Rosé 2021 (Pinot Noir, $25)
Coppery-pink in colour; raspberry and rhubarb nose; medium-bodied, dry, raspberry and rhubarb flavours. (89)

King + Victoria Pinot Noir 2018 ($45)
Light ruby in colour; toasty nose of violets, red berries and oak spice; medium bodied, minerally, raspberry flavour with a saline note on the finish. Great balance, lovely mouthfeel and well-integrated oak. (This wine won a gold medal at the 2023 Ontario Wine Awards.) (92)

King + Victoria Pinot Noir 2019 (not yet priced)
Light ruby in colour; a little closed on the nose still and showing some reductive sulphur notes (that will blow off with some airing). Medium-bodied, dry, elegant, reminiscent of a Marsannay from Burgundy; raspberry flavour. (91)

King + Victoria Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 ($35)
(50% new oak.) Deep purple with a crimson rim; spicy blackcurrant and vanilla nose with cocoa powder notes; medium-bodied, dry, red and blackcurrant flavours; well-balanced and firmly structured with ripe tannins. (90–91)

Other wines tasted:

Okanagan Crush Pad whites

Okanagan Crush Pad Haywire Pinot Gris 2022
Pale straw with a green tint; minerally, peach pit bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, white peach flavour , fresh and lively on the palate with a racy finish of lemony acidity. Drink now. (90)

Okanagan Crush Pad Haywire Secrest Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay 2020 (Okanagan Valley)
Bright, straw colour; toasty, apple nose with oak spice; medium to full-bodied, dry; creamy, richly extracted apple flavour. Drink now and through 2024. (89)

Okanagan Crush Pad Free Form Vin Gris 2019 (a white wine made from Pinot Noir)
Pale gold in colour; wild strawberry nose with a thread of minerality; medium-bodied, dry, ripe red apple flavour with balancing acidity; lovely mouthfeel and elegant, a seamless wine. Drink now and through 2024 (92)

Okanagan Crush Pad reds

Okanagan Crush Pad Narrative Cabernet Franc 2018
Cherry red in colour; woodsy nose of redcurrant and green herbs; medium-bodied, dry, lean and sinewy redcurrant and cranberry flavours carried on lively acidity; green pepper note on the finish. Well-structured with ripe tannins. Drinking well now but the bouquet should evolve with a year or two in bottle. (89)

Okanagan Crush Pad Haywire Narrative Non-Fiction 2018 (Osoyoos)
(A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot). Ruby-purple in colour; cedary, toasty, spicy blackcurrant and black plum bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, redcurrant and blackcurrant flavours; well-structured and beautifully balanced. (91)

Okanagan Crush Pad Haywire Pinot Noir 2021
Ruby colour with a tawny rim; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, raspberry nose with a herbal note; well-balanced, well-integrated oak; elegant, with a rich mouthfeel. Drink now or hold 1–2 years. (91)

This entry was posted in Wine Lover's Diary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply