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Sandhill Cabernet Merlot, 2020

Shipped and sold by Sandhill Wines

2020 Okanagan Valley 750 mL, 14% ALC/VOL
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
Critic's Rating 90 pts

BLEND: 60% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc


Deep garnet colour with a lovely bouquet of black currant and blackberry fruit, mingling with spice box, smoke, and oak. This is a full-bodied wine with firm drying tannins and good structure. Flavours of ripe black fruits, spice, oak, and vanilla extract fill the mouth. The extra-dry lingering finish shows notes of black tea, black currant, blackberry, and sweet spice, with an added note of vanilla and roasted coffee bean.

Enjoy with two-year-old Canadian cheddar and Grana Padano cheese; beef tenderloin in rich red wine reduction or topped with melted blue cheese or rich melted butter; grilled red meats (medium to medium-rare); rosemary lamb chops; pot roast. Decanting is recommended if drinking now through 2023.

Residual Sugar: 0.2 g/L


The months of May and June experienced cool, wet conditions which slowed growth, disrupting some spring bud development thereby reducing crop load in the vineyards. Summer began with a bang and from early July through August there was consistent sunshine, high heat units and timely rains.  A very warm September provided the perfect conditions for any lagging maturity resulting from the slow spring start. The great weather continued into October, extending hang time for some varietals that needed that extra push. Overall, it was a great growing season with healthy canopies, the ability for the vines to respond to the weather, and fewer periods of shut down due to extreme heat, therefore allowing grape maturity to continue on an even and steady rate with optimum conditions. [The Osoyoos region saw 1616 GDD].


Harvested from Sandhill Estate Vineyard in the Okanagan Valley and Vanessa Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley. The grapes received a loose crush and gentle but complete extraction of the fruit. Fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks with daily pump-overs to break surface cap. The wines receive a full malolactic fermentation to soften the acidity. The wines are aged 14 months in (60%) American and (40%) French oak barrels (10% new oak, balance being older barrels). Each lot (varietal and vineyard) is handled separately. The final blending occurs just before bottling.

Critic's Rating

- Tony Aspler
  • National Wine Awards of Canada 2022, Silver Medal National Wine Awards of Canada 2022, Silver Medal
  • 2022 All Canadian Wine Championships, Silver 2022 All Canadian Wine Championships, Silver
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    The 2020 vintage was a featured wine in November's Wine Club package, 2022.

    Tasting notes written by Tony Aspler.

    Geographical Indication: BC VQA British Columbia
    Varietals: Merlot (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (32%), Cabernet Franc (8%)
    Vineyard: Sandhill Estate Vineyard, Okanagan Valley, and Vanessa Vineyard, Similkameen Valley
    Residual Sugar: 0.2 g/L
    Cases Produced: 10,500

    Appearance: Deep purple in colour.
    Nose: Cedary, vanilla, blackberry and blackcurrant nose with a note of white pepper.
    Palate: Medium-bodied, dry, savoury, coffee bean and dark chocolate flavours. Well-integrated oak, well-structured with ripe tannins.
    Quality: 90 points – Wine Club Canada. Outstanding. Can be opened now but will reward with a year or two in your cellar.

    Food Pairing: Baked ziti with roasted vegetables, jollof rice with chicken suya, barbecued pork back ribs with collard greens, bacon-tomato linguine with basil, and beef wellington with herb-roasted fingerling potatoes.

    • National Wine Awards of Canada 2022, Silver Medal
    • 2022 All Canadian Wine Championships, Silver