It was the Friday before Christmas, a snowy winter’s day when we drove to East Kelowna for a visit with Rob Westbury at the Nagging Doubt winery. It was a great opportunity for my son and daughter-in-law, who had just flown in from Calgary, to try the latest vintages of some of my favourite Okanagan Valley wines. Fortunately, Rob was up early and had ploughed the drive to the winery else it would have been a challenge for our SUV. The winery is housed in a former horse barn, with some of the stables still visible.
All the comments below are from the barrel samples we tasted, so the final blends may change slightly.
Nagging Doubt Rosé 2016 This is a Merlot based Rosé with the grapes coming from a vineyard in the Poplar Grove area of Naramata. The wine is slightly herbaceous on the nose, with aromas of dried fruit and berries. The wine is bold with a hint of tannin for balance.
Nagging Doubt Pinot Noir 2015 This wine will be bottled and released soon. The initial cold extraction has delivered a medium to heavy bodied Pinot. The fermentation was started with wild yeast (Rob loves to gamble) with cultured Burgundy yeast added half way through. The wine has a hint of violets on the nose together with a Burgundian“forest floor” aromas. On the palate, intense flavours of cherries. To me, it is more reminiscent of the Santa Barbara style wines. This will be a first-class Pinot and will sell out fast and may only be available through the wine club and restaurants.
Nagging Doubt Merlot 2015 Like the 2014 vintage, the old vines have produced a beautifully concentrated wine that will age for 19 months on 30% new French oak and 70% neutral. The 2015 Merlot will be a “huge” wine. To the plum, blackberry, cherry and mocha plentiful notes were added leather and smokey bacon on the nose and palate, backed with nice acidity and some serious tannic structure to round out the wine, making this a Merlot that will only improve with ageing.
Nagging Doubt The Pull 2015 The barrel blend we tasted may not be the final candidate for bottling. That said it was an excellent blend with more tannin shining through than 2014. It has an intense nose of black cherry, plum, blackberry and baking spice with a hint of tobacco, all echoed on the palate.
Before we left the winery we had a chance to ask Rob how the Wine on Tap program had worked out for him. 22 kegs of 2015 Canyon View Vineyard Chardonnay were produced for the wine on tap program. Rob indicated the On Tap program worked well during the summer month but in the fall he had taken several kegs back and rebottled to meet demand.