Friday, November 23, 2012

Blue Mountain releases for late 2012

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 wines.

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 and Blue Mountain, when it opened twenty years ago, was one of the five best wineries – if not the best.

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 acidity. 92.

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 spice. 92.

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.

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