Thursday, November 1, 2012

Stoneboat gets four wines in Cornucopia's top 25

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
5. Stoneboat Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009
6. Astrolabe Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
7. Therapy Vineyards Freudian Sip 2011
8. Stoneboat 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
17. Stoneboat Vineyards Pinotage 2009
18. Frontaura Crianza 2005
19. Signorello Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
20. Bodegas Olivares Altos de la Hoya 2009
21. Stoneboat Vineyards Pinot Gris 2011
22. O. Fournier Urban Uco Malbec-Tempranillo 2011
23. Bottega Prosecco Spumante DOC 2011
24. Rodney Strong Vineyards Alexander Valley 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 winemaking skills.

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 tasted.

Stoneboat 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.

Stoneboat 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. 90.

Stoneboat 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 years. 90.

Stoneboat 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.

Stoneboat 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.


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