Photo: Stoneboat Vineyard's Martinuik family: left to right, Lanny, Tim. Jay, Julie and Chris
Four Okanagan wineries made it into the top
25 list for the wines that will be poured this year at Cornucopia, which is in
Whistler from November 7 to November 11.
Blue Mountain’s Chardonnay 2011 was judged the best white. Stoneboat
Vineyards has four wines in the list; Therapy Vineyards has
two and Perseus Winery has one.
The list was compiled by a group of
tasters. I am told they tasted about 100 wines.
Many other British Columbia wineries also will be
pouring wines at Cornucopia’s major tasting, called Crush, which takes place on
both Friday and Saturday evenings. I can only assume that many wineries chose
not to compete, which is perhaps understandable,
given the large number of wine competitions there are.
The imported wines are entered by their
agents, some of whom have budgets for competitions and some of whom do not.
Congratulations to Marchese Antinori for coming out on top of the red wines
with a Chianti.
Having said that, I have tasted almost all
of the British Columbia
winners. They are worth looking for, either at Crush or in good local wine
stores like Everything Wine.
I want to focus on Stoneboat, but first,
here is the list.
1. Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico
Riserva 2006 – TOP RED WINE
2. Blue Mountain
Vineyard and Cellars Chardonnay 2011 – TOP WHITE WINE
3. Cristalino Cava Brut – TOP SPARKLING WINE
4. Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Brut
Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009
6. Astrolabe Marlborough
Sauvignon Blanc 2011
7. Therapy Vineyards Freudian Sip 2011
Vineyards Chorus 2011
9. Therapy Vineyards Freud’s Ego 2009
10. Villa Matilde Aglianico della Campania IGT 2009
11. Peter Dennis Shiraz 2010
12. Fuse Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
13. Canella Prosecco DOC
14. Antano Crianza Rioja 2008
15. DeAngelis Anghelos Marche
Rosso IGT 2008
16. Speri’La Roverina’ Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC 2009
Vineyards Pinotage 2009
18. Frontaura Crianza 2005
19. Signorello Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
20. Bodegas Olivares Altos de la Hoya 2009
Vineyards Pinot Gris 2011
22. O. Fournier Urban Uco Malbec-Tempranillo 2011
23. Bottega Prosecco Spumante DOC 2011
24. Rodney Strong Vineyards
Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
25. Perseus Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Stoneboat is a family-owned winery that
opened five years ago in a charming cottage just off Black Sage Road, south of Oliver. Since
then, the winery has won several awards of excellence in the Lieutenant
Governor’s wine competition, once with a Pinot Noir and once with a Pinotage.
That reflects the excellent viticulture by
the patriarch of the family, Lanny Martinuik, who began growing grapes in the
1980s. Today, he is the leading propagator of vines in the Okanagan.
The winery was launched because the family,
which had been selling grapes to other producers, decided it made sense to
capture some of the added value for themselves. They have worked with several
good consulting winemakers while Jay Martinuik, one of three sons, acquired
The winery is one of three or four Okanagan
producers of Pinotage, the red varietal that was developed in South Africa in
the 1920s. Lanny got started with Pinotage when he was propagating the variety
for Lake Breeze Vineyards. He tissue-cultured just one vine but ended up with one
of the largest Pinotage blocks in the Okanagan.
It comes close to being a flagship wine for
Stoneboat. Just this month, the winery released a reserve from the varietal,
Pinotage Solo 2010 ($35), made from the five best barrels in the cellar. I have
not had a chance to taste it yet.
Here are notes on Stoneboat wines I have
2011 Pinot Gris ($19). This is a crisp and fresh
wine, with flavours of lime and lemon and with a fine spine of minerals. 89.
2011 Chorus ($18). This refreshing, tangy blend of
six or seven white varietals that really sing well together. There are herbal
notes on the nose and the palate, along with flavours citrus, pear and apple.
2010 Pinot Noir ($25). This winery’s Pinot Noirs
are always charming, with aromas and flavours of cherry and raspberry and with
a hint of mocha chocolate on the finish.
The wine has good weight and concentration and will age well for several more
2010 Pinotage ($25). This is bigger in texture and
flavour than one usually sees in Pinotage, with tastes of black cherry, spice
and chocolate. 90.
2010 Verglas ($35 for 375 ml bottle). This is
Stoneboat’s name for its Icewine. The wine absolutely explodes from the glass
with tropical fruit aromas. On the palate, there are flavours of pineapple and
citrus. The bright acidity balances the sweetness exquisitely, leaving a finish
that is clean, tangy and refreshing. 90.