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2019 Maestoso “Solo” Merlot

94 points

La Stella’s flagship red is Maestoso. The 100 percent merlot takes most of its fruit off the high terrace Lumeno Vineyard, north of Osoyoos. It’s a broader wine than the Allegretto, more along the lines of Washington State’s best labels. It spends 20 months in a mix of Slavonian, and French barriques and puncheons (60 percent new, but not that you notice it). Black plums and dark black cherries define its silky smooth palate awash in dense, refined sweet tannins that are only just settling in. Winemaker Severine Pinte is never heavy handed, so this wine, while rich, is light footed, and will be a super bottle down the road, and a wine of the vintage.

Anthony Gismondi Anthony Gismondi  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: Dec 2021

2017 Maestoso “Solo” Merlot

92 points

Maestoso Solo is the flagship label at La Stella, and it’s 100 percent merlot. The majority of the fruit comes off the high terrace estate, Lumeno Vineyard, with the remainder coming off a site on Golden Mile Bench. It’s showier than Equinoxe, thanks to a 20-month sleep in a mix of Slavonian and French barriques and puncheons, of which 58 percent were new. The oak is well done but plays into the style and, when combined with savoury aspects of the south Okanagan, plumps up the mid-palate, bursting with black plums and dense, dark cassis. The tannins are 2017 sturdy but not overpowering. You could take a run at this now but leave it five years and beyond for best results.

Anthony Gismondi Anthony Gismondi  |  Gismondi On Wine  |  Tasted: dec 2020

2019 Allegretto “Pie Franco” Merlot

92 points

Allegretto Piè Franco is a rare, ungrafted, single-vineyard merlot rooted in white silica sand in the south Okanagan. In Italy, when a vine grows on its rootstock, it is referred to as piè franco. Winemaker Severine is the force behind this super fresh version of merlot, pitching spicy red plums and desert scrub. The attack is lit by acidity and minerality with black raspberry and medium dry, youthful tannins. This merlot is built to age and has a solid decade of ageing in bottle before we get its best. Very Tuscan-like.

Anthony Gismondi Anthony Gismondi  |  Gismondi On Wine  |  Tasted: dec 2021

2019 Espressivo

91 points

A Super Toscana-inspired blend of 32% cabernet franc, 31% cabernet sauvignon, 27% merlot, and 10% sangiovese, with 18 months in French barrels (10% new). This year’s shows ample ripe, dark, brooding fruit imbued with violets, peonies, black cherry, and dusky blackberry. The southern Okanagan heft is bound by ample, structural espresso-clad tannins that draw to a peppery / violet close. Very much in youth, this masterful handling will best reveal itself with time in your cellar. Take now with a decant and herbed lamb.

Treve Ring Treve Ring  |  Gismondi On Wine  |  Tasted: February 2022

2019 Espressivo

94 Points

Espressivo is Tuscan inspired and cabernet dominant, both sauvignon and franc, but in the end, it is all Okanagan, if not a ringer for Bolgheri blends. Winemaker Severine Pinte is making magic, blending the Italian penchant for challenging the norm with that special touch the French seem to have in the New World. I often describe it as having a keen understanding of the importance of acidity in the blend and getting to work with ripe fruit they could only dream of back home. It is one of the best BC red blends I have tasted in 40 years, and the key is a balance of everything: fruit, acid, savoury notes, oak (very little new oak), and texture. The winery suggests Swiss chard gnudi with lamb ragu of braised rabbit pappardelle pasta. Vegetarians can go with lentil pasta with braised tofu and mushrooms. The 2019 cepage is 32% cabernet franc, 31% cabernet sauvignon, 27% merlot, and 10% sangiovese.

Anthony Gismondi Anthony Gismondi  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: 23 DECEMBER 2021

2019 Fortissimo

90 points

It was no surprise finding out that this wine was from La Stella, who have been bottling intelligent, complex blends from the beginning. All the grapes of the blend (mostly merlot, with cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc) bring something to the table in a deep and complex wine. A stunner. (tasted blind @ Wine ALign Nationals)

Tom Firth Tom Firth  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: Oct 2021

2017 La Sophia Cabernet Sauvignon

92 points

La Sophia is 100 per cent cabernet sauvignon and while comparisons can lead to stigma there can be no missing the Bolgheri comparison here. In fact tasting this side by side with San Felice’s Bell’Aja opens the discussion. La Sophia shows great concentration, surely a vintage related answer to a question but more than that there is this evergreen scintillant streaking tight and right through. Wound taut is what’s happening and there could be some forgiveness afforded should the grace of this haute-volupté cabernet not be noted for being immediately gratifying, open and generous. In fact tasting this over the course of three days only eschews confusion and replaces deliberation with pleasure. Speaks to the structure and the wood work. See this hit its Okanagan stride some time in late 2022 or early 2023. Drink 2022-2027.

Michael Goedel Michael Goedel  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: January 2021

2020 Vivace Pinot Grigio

90 points

Vivace is not your grandmother’s Pinot Gris. Like its moniker, it is vivacious, following down the mineral, salty, citrus route. Taut and alive, it is also a fabulous food wine. Post ferment, it feeds on its lees for a few months to add a touch of cream to an otherwise crisp, lip-smacking gris that screams for seafood — first-class effort.

Anthony Gismondi Anthony Gismondi  |  Gismondi on wine  |  Tasted: March 2021

2017 Allegretto “Pie Franco” Merlot

93 points. 4/5 value value

Being asked to imagine “your bare feet in warm sand” is a blessed opening gambit for a slower than Allegro Okanagan Valley merlot. The phrase “piè franco” is invoked and with thanks to Italian wine scholar Jeremy Parzen, “in Italian wine parlance denotes ungrafted rootstock and is often employed to designate wines made from ungrafted, pre-phylloxera vines, like the Cappellano Barolo Piè Franco. It is akin, although not derived from, the French franc de pied.” This 2017 piece performed in that soil to vine movement is beautifully and dutifully paced, a deeply resonant, firm and earthbound red with both feet squarely, if magically anchored in white silica sand. You can taste the controlled lightning, a flash of metalliferous virtuoso and the “campo franco,” or free field form of a vineyard-tethered merlot. The potential here is great. The lingua franca notated speaks to B.C. and to La Stella’s style. Also worth noting, once again with a nod to JP, that one of the earliest instances of Piè is found in the humanist poet Politian, a.k.a Poliziano, who was from Montepulciano. This Allegretto is very reminiscent of merlot produced in the southern Tuscan appellation. A curious reference point, if only for a fleeting, piè franco moment. Drink 2021-2028. Tasted January 2021.

Michael Godel Michael Godel  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: Jan 2021

2017 Allegretto “Pie Franco” Merlot

Such a wine. 30ish year old own rooted [pie franco] vines in white silica sand. Canada’s top merlot, yet again.

Treve Ring Treve Ring  |  Gismondi on wine

2017 La Sophia Cabernet Sauvignon

91 points

With its inky black colour, dark, roasted fruit, and firm, grainy tannins, this is a large scaled, severe, chewy and structured cabernet from La Stella. The palate is loaded with chewy tannins, giving an astringent texture overall, and length is very good to excellent. It’s still several years away from prime drinking, but should make for a bold and satisfying wine in 2-3 years; best after 2023. Tasted January 2021.

John Szabo (MS) John Szabo (MS)  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: Jan 2021

2017 Maestoso “Solo” Merlot

93 points. 4/5 Value

La Stella’s 2017 Maestoso is a dark and sumptuous wine, fleshy but structured, firm but voluptuous, filling all crevices. The palate is awash in plummy black fruit, with generous shavings of integrated oak, lingering impressively on the finish. This is bold, broad concentrated red wine, designed to age; this should hold comfortably until the end of the century, a fine example of BC merlot, easily in the top echelon. Tasted January 2021.

John Szabo (MS) John Szabo (MS)  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: Jan 2021

2017 Allegretto “Pie Franco” Merlot

90 points

A rare merlot grown on its own roots (“pie franco”), the 2017 Allegretto is a fleshy, firm, well-structured, perfumed example, which will take some time in the decanter (or time in the cellar) to really show its best. I like the grainy tannic structure, a little more finessed than the mean for Okanagan merlot, but certainly more firm than most international paradigms. Fruit is appropriately dark, ripe and plummy, also with some roasted vegetal-herbal notes in the varietal idiom, with very good length. It will be a little severe for some, but I like the more old world structure. Best after 2022.

John Szabo (MS) John Szabo (MS)  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: Jan 2021

2017 Espressivo

90 points

Intensely herbaceous aromas. Ripe strawberries with a medium body. Rounded with textured fine tannins.

Susan Hulme (Master of Wine) Susan Hulme (Master of Wine)  |  Decanter Magazine (international Wine Challenge)  |  Tasted: Fall 2020

2019 Vivace Pinot Grigio

91 points

A wine should live up to its name and La Stella’s Vivace succeeds. In the great sea of pinot grigio ubiquity there can be some with a distinct energy that roll across the palate in waves. This is such a heart breaker, a “lively” PG that seems so much bigger and of more alcohol volume than it really is. The density of fruit and the balanced relationship with a thickness of acidity is how the breakers are developed, far out to sea and only realized just as they approach the shore. This will tumble over you with sudden haste and find you swimming in its juiciness, albeit a metallic oneand as with the best of northeastern Italy, unctuous to an Adriatic degree. Great fruit and winemaking heed are what make this happen. Drink 2020-2023.

Michael Godel Michael Godel  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: Spet 2020

2017 Espressivo

92 points

A wildly entertaining red blend, led by cabernet franc, followed by cabernet sauvignon, merlot and finally the only Italian grape involved, and that would be sangiovese. Like leaving Bordeaux, making a stop in Tuscany and settling in the Okanagan Valley. And so “espressivo” is not the only way to think about this truly savoury and multifarious red agglomeration. I would suggest another vernacular, as in “significativo,” which means the same but not. Significant and meaningful more like it because tasting this is like taking a bite out of something gustatory, meaty and substantial. Salty protein that has been studded with savoury aromatics such as rosemary, bay leaf and fennel, roasted medium rare and sliced. The muscularity is noted and thus in the Italian masculine are the adjectives employed, but truth is this kind of power is gender neutral. Pour a glass and relish in the “incontro significativo” and one where the wine, not the nomenclature is the focus. Drink 2021-2027

Michael Godel Michael Godel  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: sept 2020

2018 Classico d'Osoyoos

90 points

he new bambino on La Stella’s block is dubbed “Classico” and who could not be made to dream of fresh, cherry-scented, savoury and high acid Annata from the land of the Gallo Nero. Sacrilege, but no! More like respect, ode and a nod to the great Chiantgiane terroir. In fact if there were a commune comparison to be made I’d put this in Radda in Chianti, of high elevation, brushy hillside savour, cool-climate Raddese like acidity and pure, antediluvian character. Though only 50 per cent sangiovese the connection to high solar radiated Tuscan wines is evident so let’s just say it falls into the IGT category, with Cassis, Ribena and a lovely kick of volatility. In the end Osoyoos is the crux, impetus and imperative. A taste of the home-front, just like Nonno used to make. Drink 2020-2024.

Michael Godel Michael Godel  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: sept 2020

2017 Espressivo

93 points

5/5 Value

2017 marks another impressive release of La Stella’s “super Tuscan” style blend, in this case about half cabernet franc, with equal parts cabernet sauvignon, merlot and sangiovese, aged in both barriques and larger puncheons, with just over 1/4 new wood, all told. From the deep, saturated red colour through the expansive nose and broad palate, this is classy and sophisticated red wine. I love the broad spectrum of ripe, dark fruit, floral and wood spice notes, freshly roasted coffee bean, blood and iron, and more, in a complex expression. It has the depth and structure to age into the early ’30s, though also the polish to deliver pleasure far earlier, from 2021/22. A really finely-detailed wine that stands comfortably alongside many of the iconic Tuscan wines that inspired it in the first place, and more than fair value as such.

John Szabo (MS) John Szabo (MS)  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: August 2020

2019 Moscato d’Osoyoos

93 points

Presented in a tallish, 500ml bottle this is a fabulous off-dry, gently sparking and low alcohol white patterned on Italy’s Moscato d’Asti. It is rendered here with remarkable purity and acuity. It is only 9.9% alcohol, spry, effervescent and perfectly balanced. The aromatics are exuberant with mandarin/orange which is muscat’s secret weapon. But also nuances of green tea, lavender and anise. The focus and length are excellent. An ideal summer sipper at the end of the night. Value 5/5

David Lawrason David Lawrason  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: July 2020

2018 Classico d'Osoyoos

Absolutely nailed Osoyoos. Keep an eye out for this new single vineyard release from LaStella winery.

Treve Ring Treve Ring  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: June 2020

2019 Vivace Pinot Grigio

91 Points

Value: 5/5

The best Vivace yet manages to feel light and airy in the best expression of Italian pinot grigio, yet there is richness of flavour suggesting B.C./Alsace ripeness as well. It’s hard balance to strike, but done with a sure hand by winemaker Severine Pinte. Expect fairly generous aromas of peach pit, soft dried herbs and croutons. It is light to medium bodied (12.6%) with fine lacy acidity and a vague spritz intrinsic to its liveliness. The flavour depth/length is better than expected, the balance is close to perfect.

David Lawrason David Lawrason  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: June 2020

2019 Vivace Pinot Grigio

“… Delicious in the mouth! Severine does it again! 2019 Vivace is a citrusy wonder with basil, sage and parsley Italian, natch), with juicy acidity, a dab of marmalade and a hint of beeswax texture. The Variety can be so much more charismatic than a critical consensus often suggests. I give you exhibit A.

 

Kurtis Kolt Kurtis Kolt  |  Tasted: June 2020

2016 Espressivo

92

Black currants and figs for days, this wine exudes class. Cola, dired fruits and ripe sweet tannins express intensity and quality throughout. Verging on long it finishes with a classic savoury twist. Bravo.

Brent Muller Brent Muller  |  wine align  |  Tasted: june 2019

2016 Espressivo

91

Deeply rendered and impressive, impressionistic red blend of Bordeaux varieties with a sixth or so of sangiovese in the mix. It’s all here; fruit of three shades, acidity, sweetness from that fruit and pretty fine tannins. Long, fruitful, juicy and succulent. And yet never allows the wood to over-sheath, caress or shake the fruit. The breakdown is cabernet sauvignon (35 percent), cabernet franc (31), merlot (18) and sangiovese (16). Drink 2019-2024. Tasted blind at NWAC19, June 2019.

Michael Godel Michael Godel  |  wine align  |  Tasted: June 2019

2018 Moscato d’Osoyoos

90

seriously aromatic, as waxy as it is floral, but also herbal and notable with a scraped zesty spritz of lime. Pretty good balance and obviously sweet though also urged by enough buoyant acidity. Pretty nice I gotta say. Drink 2019-2022.

Michael Godel Michael Godel  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: June 2019

2016 Fortissimo (375ml)

2016 Fortissimo

4/5 stars

Son nom pourrait faire craindre le pire, mais cet assemblage de merlot, de cabernet sauvignon, de sangiovese et de cabernet franc n’a rien d’une brute qui donne dans la puissance et dans la force. Le merlot confère au vin sa rondeur et ses parfums de prune et de cerise, tandis que les acteurs de second plan apportent de la vigueur tannique et des accents de graphite, de poivron rouge et de cuir. En somme, un vin élégant, digeste et plein de fraîcheur, qui procure beaucoup de plaisir à table. Excellent rapport qualité-prix.

Nadia Fournier Nadia Fournier  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: July 2018

2016 Fortissimo (375ml)

2016 Fortissimo

91 points

Fine and fleshy, dark fruit scented, savoury, firm, drinkable, with fine acids, succulent and juicy. Plenty of dark cherry fruit, damson plums, black raspberry and more, with really nicely integrated wood influence. A balanced, savoury, essence, with very good to excellent length.

John Szabo John Szabo  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: July 2018

2016 Fortissimo (375ml)

2016 Fortissimo

Gold Medal

Tasted Blind. Gold Medal Winner

Wine Align National Wine Awards Wine Align National Wine Awards  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: July 2018

2016 Fortissimo (375ml)

2016 Fortissimo

92 points

Fortissimo is such an epic expression of south Okanagan Merlot. The nose simply detonates with ripe plum, fruitcake, floral perfume, and distinct herbal fragrance. I really admire how the rich flavours unfold – first with black cherry, then juicy raspberry, then dark chocolate, and finally a truly Italiante walnut skin bitterness to add a pleasant nip to the long finish. Potent yet juicy, with old world earthy vinosity, I swear you can really sense the 8% Sangiovese that kicks up 76% Merlot. 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Franc. Do deploy at the dinner table with roast lamb or pancetta-wrapped pork roast. Tasted blind at NWAC June 2018.

DJ Kearney DJ Kearney  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: July 2018

2014 Arioso

I had the privilege of tasting their LaStella Arioso Sangiovese Grosso 2014 which is a wine club exclusive and, uh, it makes one damned tempted to join their wine club. Pitch-perfect Tuscan notes of violets, currants, fresh herbs, and earthy character mingle with hallmark Okanagan ripeness, acidity, and minerality.

Kurtis Kolt Kurtis Kolt  |  Georgia Straight  |  Tasted: June 2018