An OCULUS was first used by the Romans in buildings like the Pantheon – a window in a dome or
wall to the outside. At Mission Hill, our oculus provides the only natural light into our underground
barrel cellar, blasted out of volcanic rock that is otherwise hidden from the world. Our complex Oculus
Bordeaux-style wine is the result of meticulous selection in the vineyard estate with grapes that have
been specifically nurtured for this rare wine. Hand-sorted grapes are gravity-filled into specially
constructed French oak fermenters before gently laying the wine to rest in individual barrels. Rich
and powerful, this wine was sourced from designated Oculus blocks in our eastern Osoyoos (94%)
and Oliver (6%) vineyard estates from low-yielding vines. Aged 14 months in small French oak
barrels followed by an additional 15 months in bottle prior to release. 76 barrels produced.
The 2012 season started well and early Spring conditions were settled with a couple of chilly
mornings, but no frost damage. Bud break was nearly on time, but June brought cooler weather
with consistent, intermittent rainfall – nearly half of the normal annual precipitation. A warm
and dry summer ensured ideal fruit development resulting in slightly reduced workloads in our
vineyards. Yields were spot-on and summer pruning (leaf-thinning, etc.) was not as involved
as in previous years. Veraison took place under nearly ideal conditions that lasted from mid-
August to the end of September. The continuation of mild, sunny autumn weather allowed
the grapes to develop thick skins and gave rise to expectations of flavourful, e xtracted w ines.
Cabernet and Merlot flavours in particular were well developed at an earlier stage of sugar
ripeness than in previous years, allowing us to harvest earlier and setting up the winemaking
team to create wines that reflect the personality of the vintage, and of course, Mission Hill.
2012 Oculus is complex and deep, with great purity and elegance. The key to the vintage was
to capture the freshness of the fruit, made possible by the cool autumn nights and the subtle
use of new French oak. Rich notes of plum, blackberry, boysenberry, leather and spice notes
are supported by a dense structure that adds depth. The harmony between fruit, tannins and
acidity should allow this to age beautifully.
Merlot 52%, Cabernet Franc 30%, Cabernet Sauvignon 18%
Alcohol: 14.3% |
Total Acidity: 5.8 g/l
Hand harvested from Osoyoos (94%) & Oliver (6%) vineyards in October 2012
Fermentation & extended maceration in small French Oak Fermenters
Aged in French oak barrels for 14 months | 76 barrels produced
Bottled on December 12, 2013