Molto Bene Nota Bene!

Vino Loco & Lolo's Seaside Tasting Lodge

Tasted April 26, 2022 by Canoehead with 85 views

Introduction

An Unbroken Vertical of Black Hills Winery's Nota Bene - 2012 through 2019. We tasted the wines from newest to oldest. All wines had been double decanted for ~1.5 to 2.5 hours. Five couples participated with eight glasses in front of each couple. The following notes are a combination of Vino Loco's & Canoehead's takeaways from the evening of tasting. Thanks to K & L for a lovely evening!

Flight 1 - Eight Vintages of Black Hills Nota Bene (8 notes)

An Unbroken Vertical of Black Hills Winery's Nota Bene - 2012 through 2019. We tasted the wines from newest to oldest. All wines had been double decanted for ~1.5 to 2.5 hours. Five couples participated with eight glasses in front of each couple.

Red
2019 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA
91 points
Part of an eight vertical tasting ('12-'19). Tasted first and was surprisingly accessible and enjoyable. If there has been a complaint about Black Hills it is they release the Nota Bene way too early and it needs to be cellared 3-5 years before the wine becomes enjoyable and not a geeky exercise in assessing for "potential". This will probably develop a little more complexity with time but Mr. Wise has definitely taken Nota Bene into a more crowd-friendly, ready-to-drink quality new world Meritage blend.

Pronounced nose of dark red fruits - with fresh black cherries and black currant jam leading the way. A bit of alcohol heat on the nose but not distracting. The fruits carried through onto palate but kept evolving through the 2 hours with dark chocolate and baking spice. Acidity stayed up in the wine - very refreshing. Oak was well managed and tannins were fine and a touch grippy but this will soften out a couple more years in bottle.

Second night observation is the wine had dissipated materially. Definitely a buy and open Nota Bene.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA
90 points
Part of an eight vertical tasting. Nice bouquet of mixed berries and dark plums. On the palate, the fruit is a little more restrained due to alcohol, acid and tannin masking the wine in a sour, harsh and hot tussle . This is an infant that's teething. You love it but you don't like it for what it is now. You assess it for its future potential (that's the "90"). Hopefully it matures and becomes a doctor or lawyer or professional athlete ...with a nice cellar that you can raid with parental privileges. Seriously, its got very good structure but it needs to settle down. Vino Loco's second night assessment was the infant has rapidly turned into your abrasive bully type "that punches you in the face and is unapologetic for it". Needs time... we think!
4 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2017 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA
93 points
Part of an eight vintage vertical tasting. This wowed at the first sniff. Not big and juicy, not severe and oaky. It was measured with dark red and black fruit - creme de cassis and mission figs with liquorice and mint. very good complexity on the palate. There is a touch of oaky vanilla but its carried along on superfine tannins, integrated acid and alcohol, medium plus body. Longest finish of the eight Nota Benes for me. Vino Loco referred to this one as the Aristocrat Wine of the evening - "old world cues, complexity and potential. This was my top wine of the tasting and tied for second with the 2013 and only bested by the 2015.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2016 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA
87 points
Part of an eight vintage vertical tasting. Oh boy, not good. Pyrazines through the roof on the nose. Vegetal green bell pepper and pickled green bean. For the record, 2016 was a long warm growing year. A very good vintage for the books. Pyrazines typically suggest that the core fruit was underripe. And underripe in your flagship blend?! This is perplexing and somewhat disappointing. The atypical low alcohol (13.5%) may be a clue to underripe fruit. The 2016 Black Hills Syrah has also been a disapointment. Underripe fruit is a vineyard issue and possibly a "too early" call on the winemaker's part. Very little can be done to correct this in the winery. And additional time in the cellar is not going to remedy the condition. There was a decent wine under this "green cloak" but hard to enjoy. This was the group's least preferred wine.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA
92 points
Part of an eight vintage vertical tasting. Vavavoom out of the glass - pronounced nose of sweet ripe dark red fruit and a touch of balancing savoury spice and dark chocolate. The sweet core carries on to the palate and has a generous depth of cocoa, fig paste and dried black olive. I'm almost concerned this wine has accelerated in its core components and will fade fast but it has the tannic structure and acidity to carry the fruit along. This was the WOTN for the group (my #3 - I don't like the skew of sweetness).
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA
88 points
Part of eight vintage vertical. This was underwhelming compared to recent experiences with the same wine. Bottle variation? Well, we have to assess the wine that's in front of us. It's a "meh" wine at best. Felt like I was drinking a $25 Cab-Merlot blend, with a few years of age, of no regional distinction. In relation to its vertical evening peers, Vino Loco captured it best ... "deserving of nothing more than a participant ribbon at an elementary school sports day." Dénouement.
2 people found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
2013 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA
91 points
Part of eight vintage vertical. This was probably the best aged wine of the bunch. Lovely nose of mature red and dark red fruit with a hint of balsamic and salted liquorice. That combo transfers well to the palate. Medium bodied and elegant but a note of restraint. Medium finish. Tied for 2nd amongst the group. Kinda of the type of wine you stop thinking about and start enjoying. Drink up!
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2012 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA
89 points
Part of an eight vintage vertical tasting. Bit of funk and oxidation on the nose. Not corked but definitely old world-like with the fruit taking a back seat to the evolving tertiary aromas and flavours. At first, there was a barnyard, saddle, chemistry-set nose of funk and severity. This blew off a bit over the two hours but it was a mature, savoury fruit nose of brandied plums and currants with tobacco and dried sage. Medium-plus body held up a stewed mix of red fruits. Oak and alcohol in cheque. Tannins were still a little firm. Not sure this will get better in the cellar. This was #6 across the group. Open now, decant, have with roasted rack of lamb.
2 people found this helpful Comments (1)

Closing

Curiously, a random observation for the evening was spot on ... odd years = good; even years = not so good. The 2015 was the crowd favourite and would show well among any Bordeaux blend offerings around the world at two to three times the price. There wasn't a faulty wine in the bunch but the 2016 was perplexingly disappointing. Fruit from a long, warm vintage should have had enough time to ripen and yet the pyrazines were off the charts on this bottle with green bell pepper and pickled green bean aromas and flavours.

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