From start to finish, Tyler Harlton’s hand-crafted wines are made with care and attention to detail. It’s fitting, then, that a pair of hands is featured so prominently on the labels of TH Wines. With total production sitting at around 1,800 cases, each of TH Wines’ reds and whites (and their rosé) get plenty of attention from Harlton and his team at their modest Summerland facility. (How modest? The “cellar” at TH Wines is Harlton’s garage.) Harlton sources select parcels of fruit from throughout the Okanagan Valley for TH Wines — sometimes in quantities so small there’s not enough to make a standalone wine, but rather the grapes are employed as part of a carefully crafted blend.
It’s not often such a small-lot production is available beyond the cellar door. But it just so happens that TH Wines is the featured winery in this month’s My Wine Canada wine club selection. Act now (specifically, before midnight on June 15) and you can get these killer Okanagan Valley wines delivered to your door!
This Riesling went through wild fermentation, in neutral oak barrels, for 10 months. Production is small — just 11 barrels worth of fruit — and the evidence is in the bottle that plenty of care has gone into every step of the winemaking process. It’s bone dry and light-plus bodied, with pear, lemon and red apple notes that are bright and fresh, a slight honeyed characteristic and just a touch of roundness texture-wise from that neutral oak. 289 cases made.
The tropical notes are front and centre here — as they should be — with apricot, mango, papaya and pineapple notes working quite well with modest spice and candied orange peel notes. Despite the fruit salad description above, this intense, medium-bodied white finishes dry, with loads of freshness thanks to the fermentation primarily taking place in stainless steel tanks. 391 cases produced.
A blend of four barrels of Cabernet Franc, three barrels of Merlot, two barrels of Pinot Noir and one barrel of Malbec, Tyler Harlton’s By Hand red blend balances ripe blueberry, raspberry and cherry notes with dark chocolate, espresso and black tea flavours that bring just enough structure to this dangerously drinkable red. The fruit, modest tannin and splash of acidity make this a good candidate for drinking now, and a red that’s versatile when it comes to food pairings. 262 cases made.
Made primarily from Cabernet Franc (Harlton’s favourite grape), there’s some Merlot in here as well, with a splash of Malbec for good measure. It’s a full-bodied, intense red, with blueberry, dark chocolate, plum, black tea and brambly blackberry flavours that persist on the palate. The tannins are firm but the depth of fruit means they don’t overpower things here. Drink now or hold for the next 12-18 months. 389 cases made.
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson.