Monday, November 14, 2011

Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from Meyer Family

Photo: Winemaker Chris Carson

Meyer Family Vineyards opened early in 2008 and initially produced only Chardonnay from its Old Main Vineyard on Naramata Road.

Then JAK Meyer bought the Mclean Creek Road Vineyard at Okanagan Falls late in 2008 and, shortly after that, hired winemaker Chris Carson, a Canadian trained in New Zealand, who is passionate about Pinot Noir.

The result is the addition of several Pinot Noirs to the portfolio, along with more Chardonnay and, on occasion, Gewürztraminer because the Mclean Creek Road Vineyard includes varieties other than the two core varieties for Meyer.

The latest releases reflect good grape growing and good winemaking. Chris’s general approach with Pinot Noir involves pressing the grapes gently and leaving about a quarter of the clusters whole. After several days of cold soak, fermentation is begun with a mix of indigenous and cultured yeasts. He allows the ferment to progress slowly, peaking at a warm 33ºC. He opts for post-ferment maceration before pressing off the wine and transferring it to French oak (a mix of new and used barrels) for about 10 months. Malolactic fermentation takes place naturally in the late spring.

This is fairly typical winemaking with Pinot Noir in the many places where the wine is made.

Here are my notes.

Meyer 2010 Mclean Creek Road Vineyard Chardonnay ($35 for 216 cases). This appealing Chardonnay is focussed with laser-like purity of fruit, the result no doubt of a long, cool fermentation in stainless steel before finishing its ferment in French oak barrels. The wine spent 10 months in barrel, on the lees but without stirring. The wine begins with aromas of citrus and light butterscotch. On the palate, there are flavours of citrus and apple, very subtly supported by oak. The finish is crisp and bright. 91.

Meyer 2010 Old Main Vineyard Chardonnay – Tribute Series ($35 for 660 cases). Each vintage, the winery releases one Chardonnay that gives tribute to a British Columbia achiever, with some of the proceeds directed to an associated cause. This wine is dedicated to Sonja Gaudet, a national and world champion wheelchair curler. With this wine, they have done her proud. It is made from grapes grown on 15-year-old vines in the Meyer vineyard on Naramata Road. The winemaking here is similar to that of the Mclean Creek Chardonnay. The wine has a hint of toast mingled with the citrus aromas. On the palate, the fruit is lush – citrus, ripe apple, a touch of butterscotch – without any of the heaviness one sometimes finds on oaked Chardonnay. This wine is bright and fresh and also shows a laser-like purity. 92.

Meyer 2009 Mclean Creek Road Vineyard Pinot Noir ($40 for 52 cases). This wine will be released in the spring of 2012 because the winery thinks it needs still more bottle age to show its best. Provided it is decanted now and allowed to breathe, the wine is already impressive. Dark in hue, it has a rich, fruity aroma of cherries and raspberries. On the generous palate, there are layers of fruit including cherry and plum. On the finish, there is a note of spice and sage. 92.

Meyer 2010 Mclean Creek Road Vineyard Pinot Noir ($40 for 168 cases). This vineyard grows five different clones of Pinot Noir, giving the winemaker options for building a complex wine. This again is a fine, dark-hued Pinot Noir, with aromas of spice and cherries. On the palate, the vibrant fruit again is layered, with notes of strawberry and cherry. The texture is generous with the classic suppleness of this varietal. The wine is still youthful and should be cellared for a few years to reach its potential. 91.

Meyer 2010 Reimer Vineyard Pinot Noir ($40 for 196 cases). This wine is made from grapes grown in a vineyard in East Kelowna. This has bright and spicy aromas and flavours of raspberry and cherry. The texture is generous, with good concentration and length of fruit. 90

Meyer 2010 Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir ($24.90 for 550 cases). The grapes for this wine are from the Canyon View Vineyard, which is on a terrace overlooking Trout Creek Canyon at Summerland. The wine is a medium-bodied charmer with a vibrant ruby hue and bright aromas strawberry verging on cherry. On the palate, the wine has the variety’s silky texture with flavours of spice and strawberry. 90.


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