Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Herder Winery's new releases mark anniversary

Photo: Sharon and Lawrence Herder

Sometimes it takes me by surprise to find that a winery has hit a significant anniversary, considering how wineries have opened at such a blistering pace that one forgets this is a maturing industry.

Herder Winery, I discover, is 10 years old this year if you count from the year that Lawrence Herder began planting grapes in the Similkameen Valley.

The winery itself opened in 2004 near Cawston and moved four years later to property on Upper Bench Road, not far from Keremeos. The original property was sold and is now occupied by EauVivre Winery.

Lawrence and his Canadian-born wife, Sharon, formerly operated a winery, also called Herder in the Paso Robles region of California. They moved to Burnaby in British Columbia to run a family-owned printing company. That did not engage them very long. Lawrence is a winemaker both by training and by avocation who began making wine at home when he was 16. When he moved to Canada, he actually brought along equipment from his first winery.

They moved to the Similkameen in 2002 to get back into the wine business. While the vineyard was getting established, Lawrence made a couple of vintages at Jackson-Triggs and one vintage at what is now Road 13 Vineyards. He has also consulted with several producers, including Stoneboat Vineyards and Perseus Winery.

He retired from consulting a few years ago to focus just on the 2,500 to 3,000 cases made at his winery, largely from estate-grown grapes. This winery’s ambition, it seems, is not to get bigger, just to be one of the leading boutique producers in British Columbia.

The latest releases are very well made. Here are my notes

Herder Three Sisters 2011 ($20). This is a delicious blend of Pinot Gris, Viognier and Chardonnay. It has aromas and flavours of melons, apples and citrus. The wine has nice weight on the palate but yet finishes crisply. 90.

Herder Meritage 2009 ($20). Excellent value, this wine has all five of the Bordeaux red varietals in the blend. It begins with aromas of vanilla, black cherry and black currant and then presents ripe flavours of black currant and black berry. The tannins are still firm, suggesting that this wine has several years of development ahead of it. 89.

Herder Pinot Noir 2010 ($35 for 90 cases). Dark and full-bodied, this wine is made entirely with Similkameen Valley grapes, all from the Herder vineyard. It begins with aromas of toasty oak (from 16 months aging in large oak vats) and black cherry. On the palate, there are layers of flavour – more toasty notes, with black cherry, strawberry, raspberry and mocha. The spicy finish and the sensual texture add to the appeal. 91.

Herder Josephine 2008 ($50 for 3,180 bottles). This is the flagship red at this winery – a blend in this vintage  of 81% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc. The wine is bold and ripe, with 14.8% alcohol that meshes seamlessly into the layers of fruit. The aroma begins with black currant, spicy red fruit, and chocolate. On the palate, the sweet red fruit flavours evolve into a finish which shows spice, cedar and chocolate. The wine has long ripe tannins. It shows best with decanting. 92.

On checking the winery’s website, I find that I have reviewed this wine previously. I am relieved, in the interest of consistency, to find I made similar comments. Why review it again? Another bottle seems to have been included in the latest set of samples from the winery. It was one of my lucky days.


At October 11, 2012 at 3:28 AM , Anonymous Blue Roo said...

Love to have this in Montana :)

At October 11, 2012 at 3:31 AM , Anonymous Blue Roo said...

I havent't seen this wine in Montana yet. We seem to have every other country but Canada


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home