Blue Mountain winemaker Matt Mavety
On its website, Blue
Mountain Vineyard & Cellars has a neat wine finding tool:
simply enter your postal code and up comes a list of every wine store and
restaurant within 10 miles that has Blue Mountain
Why is this important?
Well, in the old days, it was far harder to
find the wines. Basically, you needed to be on the winery’s mailing list to order
your allocation. After all, there were not a lot of wineries in the Okanagan
when it opened twenty years ago, was one of the five best wineries – if not the
Since then, there has been a tenfold
increase in winery numbers. Blue Mountain
is still one of the best but it has a lot more competition.
That is why Blue Mountain
has made it easier to find its wines, including opening the winery’s tasting
room without the necessity of making an appointment.
The winery still has mailing lists and it
is a good idea to be on them, especially if you want a place in line for the
exceptional sparkling wines. But if you are not on the list, you can always try
your luck at, say, Everything Wine.
Blue Mountain recently invited some of the people on its list to a private
tasting at the Vancouver Club. That was on the heels of showing its wines
recently at Cornucopia in Whistler.
Based on those events and other tasting
opportunities, here are notes on the current releases. Even if some are sold
out at the winery, those should be available in restaurants or private stores.
Just enter your postal code on the winery’s web site.
Blue Mountain Brut N.V. ($23.90). This cuvée is Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a touch of Pinot
Gris, all from the 2009 vintage. In the tradition of many sparking wines, the
vintage is not shown on the label. The wine spent 24 months on the lees before
being disgorged. The result is a complex and elegant wine with fine bubbles,
toasty/bready aromas and crisp citrus notes on a very clean and refreshing
palate. It more than holds its own against Champagne. 92.
Blue Mountain Brut Rosé 2008 ($32.90). The cuvée is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The wine has a
lovely rose petal hue and a delicate fruity aroma. On the creamy palate, there
are delicate strawberry flavours. This is a delicious, crisp sparkling wine
just looking for an elegant brunch. 92.
Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs 2006 R.D.
($39.90). This elegant and focussed wine has fine
bubbles and complex aromas of bready lees and citrus. The flavours are
delicately toasty, with a hint of citrus. The wine is crisp but the five or so
years it was on the lees before being disgorged have softened the natural
Blue Mountain Reserve Brut 2005 R.D. ($39.90 but sold out). The cuvée is 60% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay
and 5% Pinot Gris. The wine spent six
years on the lees before being disgorged in March. It has just been released
and was gone in a flash, which is too bad. This wine, with its rich nutty and
fruity flavours and its dry finish, reminded me of the style of Krug Champagne, which I happen to think is the world’s best Champagne. 94.
Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc 2011 ($17.90). This variety can be bland but not when Blue Mountain’s
Matt Mavety is making the wine. About 30% is fermented in four-year-old oak
barrels – barrels that are almost neutral in flavour but still enhance the
texture of the wine. This Pinot Blanc is fresh and crisp, with classic apple
flavours. It is full on the palate and has a long finish. 91.
Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2011 ($20.90). Blue Mountain
raised the bar years ago with its Pinot Gris. This wine comes from the grapes
of 24-year-old vines and that shows in the concentration of flavours. It begins
with aromas of spicy citrus fruits with toasty note, probably because a third
of the wine was fermented in barrels and left sur-lie for six months, with
minimum battonage. On the palate, there are flavours of pears, citrus and
Blue Mountain Stripe Label Pinot Gris
2009 ($25.90). Stripe Label is Blue Mountain’s
designation for a reserve wine, representing select premium lots in each
vintage. The wine has had more than two years of bottle age prior to release.
That enables the wine to mature its rich and fruity aromas and flavours (ripe
pears, spice and orange peel). 92.
Blue Mountain Chardonnay 2011 ($20.90). This appealing wine recalls a young white Burgundy, suggesting it
will age to rich elegance in a few years. The aromas show slight hints of lees,
oak and citrus; the citrus flavours are rich on the palate. The wine is
youthfully vibrant with bright acidity. 91.
Blue Mountain Stripe Label Chardonnay
2009 ($25.90 but sold out). This wine, 55% of which
was barrel-fermented, has developed a creamy elegance with aromas and flavours
of tangerine and toast. 92.
Blue Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($18.90). This is Blue Mountain’s
third vintage from vines planted five years ago. The wine is crisp and lean,
with herbal aromas and with herbal and citrus flavours. 90.
Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2011 ($20.90). This is a bit of a brooding red with spicy berry aromas
and with flavours of earthy black cherry. It seems to be the concentrated
texture that gives the wine such a studious personality. 87.
Blue Mountain Stripe Label Pinot Noir
2009 ($35.90 but sold out). Subtle and elegant,
this wine begins with aromas of spice and strawberries, leading to flavours of
cherry with a touch of raspberry and mocha. The wine has developed the classic
silky texture of the variety.