2020 Allegretto “Pie Franco” Merlot

2020 Allegretto “Pie Franco” Merlot

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Cherries, Plum, Herbaceous, Mineral, Chalky, Vibrant, Rustic


We celebrate the fact that we make wine in a region where vintage variations play an important role. Atypical growing seasons are a nightmare for commercial wineries interested in making consistent but boring wines. For us, however, it defines our interest in wine. We look forward to seeing what Mother Nature gives us to work with each year. It is the effects of each vintage on the finished wine that urges us to start verticals of our favourite wines then follow their evolution and discuss their merits at tastings with friends.

Allegretto or a medium brisk and playful tempo is a very special single vineyard wine we call a true Merlot. The vines are planted on their rootstock (pie franco) in white silica sand (what glass is made out of). With every vintage, we are rewarded with trueness and transparency in the flavour that is not seen elsewhere. We also believe the white silica sandy soil of this vineyard contributes to the elegant style of this wine.

2020 Allegretto is a classic medium-bodied single vineyard Merlot hailing from a warm microclimate, within a cool macroclimate. A wine that makes its presence known both on the nose and on the attack by walking on a tightrope between new-world and old-world qualities. Mostly integrated tannins with a slightly edgy feel and a melange of red and black fruit approach you with poise. Raw cacao nibs and wild desert herbs mingle with the fruit and delicate dusty earthy notes.

While the previous vintage was more open-knit and approachable on release, the 2020 Allegretto is a bit fuller and more backward. It can still be enjoyed upon release with a long decant or tucked away for a few years to gain complexity and nuances to wow even the biggest Merlot nay-sayers.

Please note prices do not include applicable taxes or bottle deposit (PST 10% and GST 5%)

Slideshow Items

  • 90 Points

    This is 100% merlot from un-grafted vines growing in the sandy soils of Osoyoos, a desert pocket on the Canada-USA border. It shows ripe, lifted aromas of blackberry and black olive, with a herbal note and gentle spice. It is medium-full bodied with some plushness, moderate acidity, warm alcohol (14.6%) and drying tannin. There is indeed a sandy, grainy note to the notable tannin. Very good to excellent length. It needs another two years of age, and should drink well into the next decade.

    David Lawrason Wine Align  |  Tasted: May 2024
  • 92 points

    La Stella’s pure merlot from the 2020 vintage is a ripe, broad and dense wine yet without excess, full-bodied at 14.6% alcohol though not hot. The first stages of maturity have crept in to transform the fresh fruit into lightly dried, black plum to prunes, black cherry to cherry purée, all spiced up with discreet oak. I like the plump and plush palate, the framing nicely coated with abundant fruit extract, the honesty and forthrightness of it all. It would drink well now with some salty protein at the table, or hold comfortably into the early 2030s. Very satisfying.

    John Szabo (MS) Wine Align  |  Tasted: May 2024
  • 92 points

    Allegretto refers to musical direction that dictates a moderately fast pace. It stages between two other conductive measures, faster than andante but slower than allegro. So how does this relate to merlot? Well for one thing the vines are planted on their own rootstock (known as Piè Franco or Pied de Franc) raised in white silica sand and this means they represent a continuity with the pre-phylloxera era. And so being in the middle of musical directions is indicative of merlot well-paced, moderately energetic and comfortable in its own skin. The vintage is simply terrific to showcase the harmony of fruit and structure, chalky throughout, liquid in its movements and grainy, if also long-chained. A fine Allegretto in every respect and one to wait on, but also age for many years to come. Drink 2026-2032.

    Michael Godel Wine Align  |  Tasted: may 2024