Stag's Hollow Simply Noir 2019 $22

There's a multitude of reasons I was wary of this wine. The name—given my dislike of calling Gamay, Gamay "Noir"—is not my fave. And at first blush the blend, mostly Gamay with some Pinot Noir, echoes the traditional French passetoutgrains—a lovely under the radar wine style popularized in our country by JoieFarm's PTG. But a close look sees small additions of Dolcetto and Zweigelt — varieties so far out of left field in terms of pairing with each other, that I'm 100% sure that not only is this the only version of this blend for sale, but that it's the only time those four varietals have ever met, period. (Plus, I love Stag's Hollow 100% Dolcetto so much that I hate the idea they'd divert any of those grapes to anything else).

But, as is often the case, I was just a tiny bit wrong. There's a growing movement amongst wine folks that posits that the future of the Okanagan is not the Bordeaux-style big honking Cabernet-based red blends, but more the Loire-style fresh, clean wines that pair well with the local food and have a decided spring to their step—wines that don't take themselves too seriously. This wine falls nicely into that latter category—its blend is insane, it's well priced and has a quirky name. But most importantly it's a wine thats not been manipulated into tasting soft and round and inoffensive. It's...crunchy. That's become a popular wine term of late and for me it means a wine that has a bite or a snap to it that comes from vibrant acidity. It's often used in relation to natural wines but it equally applies to a wine like this—juicy and lively and announcing itself with friendly authority. It can take a chill, fits perfectly under an arm heading to a picnic and loves nothing better than a chunk of hard cheese and nice piece salami and a Laguiole or Opinel.

We're heading into a summer that—legal or not—is going to see some heavy outdoor imbibing. This is a wine for that.