2012 Maestoso  |  93+ pts

True to its impressive lineage, the 2012 Maestoso represents the peak of Merlot production in the Okanagan Valley. Elegant, layered and supremely complex. Look for dark berry, sweet plum, toasted oak, dark chocolate, fresh herbs, mocha, vanilla toffee, menthol and warm spice aromas followed by a medley of similar flavours on the ultra-dry palate with a strong focus on the juxtaposition of the berry and savoury characters.

Liam Carrier  |  IconWines.ca  |  Tasted: June 2015

91 points

Principally Merlot, this also includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Sangiovese. It’s a rich and complex blend, showcasing ripe fruit-preserve flavors in a mix of ash, toast, butter, caramel and coffee highlights. This forward, powerful vintage is drinking very well already, no need to wait.

Wine Enthusiast  |  Tasted: 2015

2011 Maestoso “Solo” Merlot  |  91 points

This is pure Merlot, bursting with bright cherry-candy fruit. Stiff at first, it smoothes out beautifully with substantial breathing time, showing polish and purity. The overall balance and flavor intensity propels it to a high level. Drink now through 2025. Cellar Selection.

Wine Enthusiast  |  Tasted: 2015

2011 Fortissimo  |  92 points

This is a Merlot-dominant blend, with additions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese. At first tight, spicy and herbal, it then blossoms with dark, deep juicy black fruits. The finish is long and trim, bringing in more complexity, with coffee, cassis and espresso. Drink now through 2025. Cellar Selection.

Wine Enthusiast  |  Tasted: 2015

2013 Moscato D’Osoyoos  |  92 points

This irresistible, lightly frizzante and utterly refreshing wine is a gem. Orange flesh and rind has a slightly candied potency, with outstanding purity, focus and length. In spite of the sweetness, it retains offsetting mineralogy and acidity, making it a perfect apéritif or brunch wine. Editors’ Choice.

Wine Enthusiast  |  Tasted: 2015

2013 LaStellina Rosato  |  Silver Medal

This Italian inspired Rosato, made from a blend of cabernet franc and merlot, is Queen Anne cherry in colour with medium-light intensity. Red fruit and berries – cherries, raspberries and wild strawberries on the nose. Well balanced with good mouthfeel. The flavours follow the nose with a medium mineral finish. A very good patio wine or serve with salmon or paella.

Sam Hauck  |  MyVanCity.ca  |  Tasted: Aug.2015

2012 La Sophia Cabernet Sauvignon  |  91 pts

Twenty-six year old vines from the southern Okanagan are presented unfined and unfiltered in La Sophia. Now with time in the bottle (and 12 hours of decanting), this 100 percent cabernet sauvignon is beginning to reveal its depth and expressiveness. Alluring leather, cassis, cigar and sweet tobacco aromas. The structured, full body shows some give around the corners now, revealing layers of dried black cherry, ripe cassis, worn leather, dark earth, dark florals and fine peppery spice, all supported by a vein of acidity. Tannins are firm and sinewy, trailing into sappy branch, and drawing the dense, sunned fruit through to a lengthy finish. Still a youthful wine, and with glimpses of what lies ahead 5+ years, when I plan on revisiting it. Pour now with rich pork belly or lamb.

Treve Ring  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: July 2015

2011 Maestoso “Solo” Merlot  |  17.5/20

Gorgeous, succulent and chewy. Opulent fruit with superb purity and attractive earthy development. Impressive, clearly carefully selected fruit. (RH) 14.4% Drink 2015-2025 (note from winery: single highest score of the entire comprehensive tasting of Cross Canada wines.)

Jancis Robinson & Richard Hemming  |  Purple Pages

2013 Fortissimo  |  17/20

Spice, fruit cake, chewy but pliable. Sensitive but modern oak and a long, savoury finish. The acid is especially bright – is that the Sangiovese talking? (RH)14.9% Drink 2015-2018

Jancis Robinson MW & Richard Hemming  |  Purple Pages

2013 Fortissimo  |  92 pts

On the nose, this supertuscan-style blend (bordeaux with a hint of sangiovese) made me long for a pasta dish, with hints of tomato paste and basil, on top of some very nice red fruit, with a touch of smoke and vanilla. On the palate, it’s smooth and coherent, classy with a lot of character.

Remy Charest  |  Montreal Gazette, Palate Press

2013 Fortissimo

A blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese and cabernet franc, the Fortissimo is aromatically complex, with blackberry, herbal, plum, anise and graphite notes showing well. Full-bodied and austere, the plum, raspberry and blackberry notes are rounded out by modest oak influence and soft tannins, and there’s a light splash of acidity here to keep things vibrant. Drinkable now or put away for a few years.

Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson  |  Winnipeg Press

2012 Maestoso

Though merlot is planted a great deal in the Okanagan, it rarely reaches great heights. This wine is one of the exceptions. Maestoso (the Beast) absorbs all of the southern Okanagan’s rich sunshine, rooted in heavy clay and gravel soils and compacts it into a dense, full bodied red. Deep blackberry, leather, black plum and cassis fills the nose. The compact palate is dominated by ripe plum, which leads wild blueberries, supple leather, bitter black cherry, finely ground spices and a hidden lift of mint along cushioned, chewy and ample tannins. An edge of tart acidity lifts all this density through a very long, bitter black cherry finish. Southern Okanagan merges with Italy via this wine. Just a baby, decant and pour now with herbed rack of lamb or wild boar, or be rewarded with 3-5 years in the cellar. Looking forward to tasting this again in future.

Treve Ring  |  Gismondi on wine  |  Tasted: June 2015

2013 Fortissimo

The most immediately gratifying of the new releases from LaStella.

Timo  |  Wineshout.com

2013 Fortissimo  |  92 pts

This is a true to its name bold wine.

John Schreiner

2014 Vivace Pinot Grigio  |  90 pts

Perhaps it was the warm 2014 summer, or the lower than average yield, but this vintage of Vivace, with its gently concentrated, pure-fruited, finessed form, especially impresses. Wild desert herbs, orchard pear, fine lees and lemon zest roll across the textured palate, brightened by crisp green apple tartness and bitter white grapefruit pith. Fragrant melon, subtle meadow blossoms and stones linger on the finish. Lively, dry and elegant, this is a grown up grigio.

Treve Ring  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: May 21, 2015

2014 LaStellina Rosato  |  88

Welcoming and friendly like a hug, this wine’s only downside is that it’s far too easy to drink. An elegant, off dry sipper of wild fragrant perfumed strawberries and spicy dried sage and thyme. Cabernet franc, merlot and sangiovese knit seamlessly into a round, silky palate of blue plums, ripe cherries, raspberries, rock roses and sweet cinnamon on the finish. Generous and elegant, the ideal partner to your chèvre, cured salmon and cherry compote.

Treve Ring  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: June 19, 2015

92 pts

The blend is Merlot (39 per cent), Cabernet Franc (38), Cabernet Sauvignon (17) and Sangiovese (6), a stew of Right Bank Bordeaux varietal intention with Memphis soul. Unashamedly rich, viscous, earthy deep, chalky and endowed with unctuous, chocolatey Osoyoos texture. The palate gives plum, dark red berries and more chocolate chew with a graphite and oozing Cassis centre. Then arrives the dusty Mulberry, bruised, hematic and pulsating with energy. The acidity follows with wow factor spirit. Has got Billy Preston finger roll and Stax tang, plus horn squeals and endless staccato fitful layering. It’s 14.9 per cent alcohol is curt yet remarkably not that hot. Put this king Okanagan away for five years minimum and listen to it linger for 10 or more. Drink 2020-2030.

Michael Godel  |  WineAlign.com and Godello.ca  |  Tasted: May 2015

92 pts

La Stella Fortissimo 2012 Okanagan, Canada
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon with a splash of Sangiovese. Supple and vivid with nice blackberry fruit, and some spicy, minerally notes. Nice definition and wears its high alcohol (14.9%) well.

Jamie Goode  |  WineAnorak.com  |  Tasted: June 7, 2015

2014 LaStellina Rosato

A lazy afternoon with friends and a delicious local cheese board? Nothing wrong with that. The only thing you want to keep in mind here is cheese’s salty side, and the need for a wine that’ll lap it up well. Enter La Stella’s 2014 LaStellina (Okanagan Valley, B.C.; $19.19, LaStella.ca), a delightful local pink crafted from Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Sangiovese that’ll shower you with strawberries, red currants, white pepper, and delight.

 

I’m so happy not to be tasting 2010 and 2011 Okanagan reds I’m wondering if I’m over reacting to the 2012s. Fortissimo is said to be a nod to Tuscany, not so much for the style but the fact that they challenged the traditions of earlier Italian winemaking. In 2012 it boasts its highest ever percentage of cabernet franc at 38 percent in addition to 39 percent merlot, 17 percent cabernet sauvignon and finally six percent sangiovese grosso most of which spends time in large format puncheons (35 percent new) of Hungarian/Slavonian oak. It is fragrant on the nose with a beautiful savoury south Okanagan streak that feeds into its silky textures and black cherry fruit. Love the elegance and styling. This will age effortlessly for a decade. Bravo.

 

Fortissimo is a blend of merlot, cab sauvignon and cabernet franc with a dash of sangiovese – all rather savoury varieties which add up together rather nicely to create a quite Italian-style experience. Nicely lifted redcurrant fruit, pepper, green olive with pimento and tobacco notes. Also some leathery character. It’s medium-full bodied, fairly denseExcellent length.

2014 LaStellina Rosato

A rosé made from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese, with the Merlot and Cab Franc made using the press method and the Sangiovese using the Saignee method (by bleeding the grapes) to attain a more concentrated Sangiovese. The wine has a touch of residual sugar, making it off-dry’ish. There is a lovely, round softness to it, and a sense of sweetness but you come out of it clean on the finish. It might be cool to go for the bone dry wine, but this is a treat with that touch of sugar, that much like a great Alsacian Riesling, will surprise and delight. Enjoy it one its own on a hot summer day or use that RS to your advantage and pair it with a dish with a touch of spice.

2014 Vivace Pinot Grigio

The 2014 Vivace Pinot Grigio is a wine that restores my faith in this grape. Made from the most planted grape variety in the Okanagan Valley, the La Stella winemaking team have made this in the Grigio fashion of alpine northern Italy, growing it at cooler sites, harvesting earlier, allowing zero skin contact, and keeping the working environment cooler. This is not a style that is seen in this part of the world where Grigio can be maligned. There’s an old world grace in the subdued Bartlett pears that lead on the nose and the subtle spice on the finish, an encompassing yet delicate mouthfeel, and exquisite balance that makes this wine a stunner.

2014 Vivace Pinot Grigio

This expressive wine begins with aromas of spice, pears and citrus. On the palate, there are generous flavours of apple, pear and melon. The wine has a dry finish and good spine of minerality.

2011 La Sophia Cabernet Sauvignon

This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from 26-year-old vines at the U2 block at Inkameep Vineyards. This is a legendary block from which numerous outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon wines have been made by various producers. These mature vines produced fruit, even in a cooler year, which yielded 14.7% alcohol and ripe flavours. The wine has aromas of cassis and vanilla. The texture is almost dense, with flavours of black currants, prune, minerals, spice and tobacco. This is clearly a wine for cellaring or, if you want to open it now, for aggressive decanting.

The model for this wine, which includes six per cent Sangiovese in the blend, is a super-Tuscan blend. This is a big ripe wine, consisting as well of 39% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Sangiovese adds the dusty tannins one finds in Tuscan reds (aging the wine 19 months in mostly Slavonian oak also plays a role). The wine has aromas and flavours of black currant and cherry.

2011 Maestoso “Solo” Merlot

And then the beast – Maestoso. With such a masculine monicker, would you even expect any less? The Maestoso “Solo” Merlot 2011, is 100% Merlot primarily from the south Okanagan’s Lake Osoyoos District, an area just a stone’s throw from the US border that’s famous for being Canada’s only desert. It is an homage to the greatest of Super Tuscan wines, Ornellaia’s Masseto.

Nearly opaque in the glass, just as it was when I tasted the 2009 vintage, Maestoso is a medley of blueberries and autumnal spices, vanilla bean, Espresso and rustic butcher shop fattiness. The tannins pack a tender punch that makes me smile, though of course, they’ll mellow out with age. The finish lingers.

Maestoso is the pinnacle of Okanagan Merlot, a young Brando of a wine that shouts from the rooftops “I am what I am!” From a region known more for its Cab Francs and Rieslings, but where Merlot is the most widely grown grape variety, Maestoso is a flagbearer.

2011 La Sophia Cabernet Sauvignon

La Sophia, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from 26 year old vines, some of the oldest in the Okanagan valley. The 2011 vintage, such a departure from the 2009 when I last tasted the La Sophia, comes from the atypically cool 2011 vintage, which did not bring with it the daytime heat the valley can be known for.

As should be for a wine from the Pacific Northwest, it is kindred to the Cabs of Washington State rather than the more plump and decadent Cabs of California. A classic Cab, this wine presents notes of black currants, green pepper, and cigar box best coaxed out by decanting if opened soon. The tannins? They’ll grab you and throw you to the mat. And that’s just it – you can’t rush Sophia. Like her namesake, Sophia Loren, she’s fiery and will have her way with you in her younger years, though she’ll age gracefully, there’s no doubt about that. Give her time – maybe even a decade – and ooh-la-la, she’s a beauty to behold!

The most immediately gratifying of the new releases from La Stella, Fortissimo (love the name!) is a blend of almost equal parts Merlot (39%) and Cab Franc (38%) with Cabernet Sauvignon (17%) and Sangiovese (6%). The Cab Franc has in previous vintages represented a much smaller proportion in the blend, but in 2012, with the higher temperatures, it was used to keep down alcohol levels as Merlot can be a boozy sucker for heat.

Deep ruby in the glass, the 2012 Fortissimo is packed with bright, luscious fruit of a perfect ripeness, harvest-ready cherries and raspberries, more anis[e] than liquorice and a wink of a spicy zing, supported by smooth tannins and balanced out nicely by a backbone of acidity. In addition to French oak, La Stella continues to use Slavonian, a tighter oak than French, which adds a thoroughly interesting aspect to the well-integrated oak notes. Fortissimo is a bright, young stud of a star

2011 Fortissimo

This powerful, gritty red blends merlot (71%) cabernet sauvignon, cab franc and a dash of sangiovese. It has an intense, very Italian, bouquet of currants, cedar, herbs, pepper and graphite. It’s full bodied, intense, firm and sour edged – a bit of a bull – but packed with flavour and all kinds of tannic grit. The length is excellent. Fortissimo as advertised. You will need to open this some brooding winter night with a rich pasta dish. Best 2016 to 2020. Tasted August 2014

2013 Vivace Pinot Grigio

A very expressive nose of fresh rose petal, cantaloupe, watermelon seeds and carnations. A lovely full body here with good structural definition. Daikon, waxy green beans and floral notes extend to the finish. A beauty of a bottle.

2013 Vivace Pinot Grigio

…The nose is an aromatic mix of floral, fennel, gooseberry and quince notes. The attack is weighty but juicy gooseberry, granny smith, orange and quince flavours. This is wonderful style for food and shellfish especially mussels would be a perfect match. Well done.

2013 Moscato D’Osoyoos

La Stella takes its moscato cues from Piedmont’s famed d’Asti region and in the case of the 2013 you would have to blink twice to be sure this Moscato d’Osoyoos isn’t in fact Moscato d’Asti. Light and airy, floral and riddle with orange and apricot fruit it is an impressive bottle of frizzante moscato. Light and expressive despite its eight percent alcohol it is a perfect pre-dinner pour or serve it with cakes and fresh fruit.

2013 Leggiero Un-Oaked Chardonnay

This is a Chardonnay that delivers refreshing purity of fruit. The wine was fermented and matured in stainless steel with, happily, no lees stirring, which would have created flavours masking the fruit. There are crisp citrus aromas, with flavours of green apple, lime and white peach around a spine of minerals. The finish is crisp and refreshing.

2013 LaStellina Rosato

This is a rosé with Merlot and Cabernet Franc from three and four-year-old vines in the winery’s Selona vineyard near Osoyoos Lake. The wine’s appeal begins with a lovely rose petal hue in the glass. There are hints of strawberry, raspberry and cherry on the nose which carry through to the palate. The texture is juicy with just a touch of residual sweetness.

2013 Vivace Pinot Grigio

This is how a Pinot Grigio should taste – light and elegant with a footprint that does a balletic dance on the palate. The wine has aromas of pear, herbs and citrus, with flavours of citrus, apples and peaches. The finish is crisp, with lingering fruit flavours.

2011 Maestoso “Solo” Merlot

Maestoso is shaped after the Super Tuscan model that celebrates merlot and grapes on clay-based soils and high-density plantings. The colour is black and the attack is rich and warm. Long and cool was the seasonal recipe for ripe but not so alcoholic at 14.4 per cent. Black- and blue-fruit flavours with a smoky, savoury, spicy, mid-palate prepare you for the long warm persistent finish with a whack of tannin. It’s a no-holds-barred red that is stretching it legs. A leg of lamb is the current match for this ginormous Osoyoos Lake district merlot. Only 21-per-cent new oak was a wise choice. One of the better 2011 reds in B.C.

2013 Moscato D’Osoyoos

This light and merry sparkler bursts with aromatics of peach nectar and red currant, but on the palate it’s all fruit cocktail with fresh slices of Bartlett pear thrown into the mix. At first sip, you’ll think it’s rather sweet, but as you continue on, you’ll note its lively acidity and find yourself reaching for more. Made from a couple Muscat varieties sourced around the Okanagan, never mind waiting until dessert – enjoy it with Thai or Indian curries instead.

2011 Fortissimo

On the nose, there’s a perfumey Lilac, winter spices, especially cinnamon, and a hint of smokiness.

On the palate, cherry and raspberry mingle with blackberry, and earthy, dusty flavors that are such a welcome component in North American wine.

The tannins are amazing, dancing on the front of your tongue, powerful without being overbearing. There’s a dryness that is so rustic and old world that one can’t help but think of the rolling hills and olive tree gardens (had to be careful there to add the ‘tree’).

With old world style, Fortissimo and food go hand in hand. After tasting solo, we paired with beef off the grill, and the results were mouthwatering to say the least. Classic red meat dishes pair well. The next time you’re thinking of Chianti in Canada, why not think closer to home, Fortissimo.

2011 Maestoso “Solo” Merlot

Supremely elegant and nuanced, LaStella’s flagship wine, Maestoso, proves that 100% Merlot wines can be just as memorable and complete as equally priced Cabernet Sauvignon when handled with as much care and detailed attention that the Osoyoos Lake winery applies to this beautiful wine. Disciplined vineyard practices and a precise oak ageing program attained the desired complexity and quality; producing a sublime nose layered with dark berry, plum, chocolate-mocha, vanilla toffee and warm spice aromas with an invigorating vein of menthol lifting the developing bouquet. Similar flavours follow on the richly textured and rounded palate supported by fine, ripe tannins and balanced acidity. The finish lingers effortlessly and meaningfully.

With several hours of decanting you can enjoy this wine today, though, 2-3 more years of bottle age would maximize your investment. Drink 2016-2021.

2010 Maestoso ‘Solo’ Merlot

This wine is 100% Merlot aged in a blend of 85% large neutral oak barrels, 10% in new French oak, and 5% in 2nd fill French oak barrels. Medium ruby colour. Licorice on the nose with dark fruit and vanilla too. Very tasty, full bodied, round and dry. Very mouth filling. Lots of really ripe purple fruit, plum, cherries, some bitter blackberry leaf, long length with cinnamon spice on the finish. An excellent wine.

The Maestoso is a massive wine that seeks to knock your socks off with its unapologetic, Old World, heavy tannins and bone-dry texture. Comprised of 100% Merlot sourced from old vines on the Osoyoos Lake and Golden Mile benches producing intense dark berry fruit, huge ripe tannins and a touch of cool menthol. This wine needs a further 5-7 years to mature in order to properly appreciate the nuances of fruit, terroir and oak that are only barely perceptible today beneath the tannins. Bottled promise. Drink 2016-2019+.

2009 La Sophia Cabernet Sauvignon

A stunning Cabernet Sauvignon that grips your attention from the first sniff of sweet, concentrated dark berry fruit and deep licorice aromas. The truly gorgeous palate follows with a near perfect balance between the ripe, silky tannins, elegant texture and smooth acidity.

Complex, captivating and feminine this beautiful Cabernet should last and evolve over a decade yet is tasting very well today. Drink 2012-2019.

2011 Fortissimo

Sweet, warm and feminine on the nose, LaStella’s ode to establishment-challenging Tuscan wines is a blend of 71% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 5% Sangiovese. The sweetness comes from ripe red fruit and fragrant oak aromas that put a smile on your face instantly, setting the stage for the dry palate to follow with similar fruit and oak flavours and added complexity from coffee grind, tapenande and light mineral notes. Fine, smooth tannins and mouth-watering acidity structure the wine well and will help it age and improve over the next 2-3 years. Be sure to decant properly for 2+ hours if you plan to open a bottle this year. Drink 2015-2018.

2011 Allegretto Pie Franco Merlot

With 14.6% alcohol, this is a testament to the ability of Merlot to get ripe if farmed well. This juicy wine has aromas and flavours of blueberry and cherry. The fruit and texture are concentrated and there is enough of backbone of ripe tannin to let the wine develop over the next five years.

2011 Fortissimo

This is the winery’s Tuscan inspired red. The blend is 71% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 5% Sangiovese. It has the “dusty” aroma and dry finish that recalls good Chianti. It has aromas and flavours of cherry, cranberry and red currant. Aged in Slovenian oak, this wine has been finished with a rustic elegance that really does echo Tuscany.

With 14.6% alcohol, this is a testament to the ability of Merlot to get ripe if farmed well. This juicy wine has aromas and flavours of blueberry and cherry. The fruit and texture are concentrated and there is enough of backbone of ripe tannin to let the wine develop over the next five years.

…It’s medium-full bodied, dry, dusty earthy and quite refined. The length is very good to excellent. Best 2014 to 2018.

…The nose shows more lift and elegance than its more expensive stablemates, a prime example of a ‘lesser’ wine delivering more of what makes wine pleasurable: balance, freshness, florality, drinkability…

Organically grown grapes from a cooler Westbank vineyard produce apple and lemon aromas and flavours.

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