Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Saturna Island releases four whites



Photo: Saturna Island's Hooman Haftbaradan


Once again, owner Larry Page has his Saturna Island Family Estate Winery on the market.

The asking price, $7.9 million, has been reduced from the more aggressive valuations over the past decade. In fact, there is an Okanagan winery selling at the same price, with far less acreage. Bonitas Winery at Summerland, which has a 13.25 acre waterfront property, is listed for $7.1 million.

The Saturna Island winery is on a 78 acre property, with almost 60 acres of vineyard and with a bistro and a spectacular ocean view. So why is it selling for about the same price as Bonitas Winery?

As they say in real estate, it is all about location. The ferry service to Saturna Island is so poor than you can probably drive to Summerland from Vancouver in the same time it would take to reach the island.

However, Saturna Island winery has been dressed up for this occasion with sharp new packaging for its wines, which are now some of the best yet released from this property.

Credit Hooman Haftbaradaran, the British-trained winemaker who joined Saturna Island in 2010 after a few years in the Okanagan with St. Hubertus Estate Winery.

Born in Germany in 1973 of Iranian parents, Hooman came to wine after a degree in hotel management and while working as a sommelier in leading European hotels (Claridge’s in London, for example). While taking a winemaking degree at Brighton University, he did vintages in Greece, Germany and Washington State. While there in 2008, he discovered the Okanagan had a wine region.

At Saturna Island, he took over from a pair of South Africans, Danny Hattingh and  Megan DeVillieres, who are now in the Okanagan. A winemaker and a vineyardist respectively, the pair had spent two years correcting problems at the island property. Danny’s wines showed considerable improvement. Hooman is building on that foundation.

“As for my approach to winemaking,” Hooman told me a few years ago, “I am a diverse person. I lived in different places. That reflects in my winemaking. I see what the vineyard brings to me. I am working with the grapes and with the juice. I am not forcing anything.”

The wines I tasted suggest he has stayed on course.

Saturna Island Family Estate Chardonnay 2011 ($15.99). The label identifies this as BC VQA, implying that not all of the wine in the bottle was grown in Saturna Island, which is in the Gulf Islands VQA. This is a fairly light, fruit-forward Chardonnay, with aromas and flavours of citrus and orange peel. There is a hint of spice, perhaps from a very light use of oak. The finish is a touch short. 87.

Saturna Island Family Estate Riesling 2011 ($16.99). This wine must have transported Hooman back to Germany with its moderate 11.8% alcohol and a touch of residual sugar to lift the flavours of lime and grapefruit. A little note of petrol has already developed in the aroma. 90.

Saturna Island Family Estate Riesling 2011 Wild Ferment ($17.99). Congratulations to Hooman for having the courage to use indigenous yeast with one of his wine. This wine, with an alcohol of 12.9%, is balanced to be crisp and dry. It has aromas of citrus and an appealing twist of lime on the palate. 90.

Saturna Island Family Estate Pinot Gris 2011 ($14.99). This refreshing wine begins with aromas of lime and grass. On the palate, there are flavours of lime and pink grapefruit. Piquant acidity and a skein of minerals give this wine a tangy and dry finish. 89.

2 Comments:

At March 4, 2013 at 1:55 AM , Blogger Deborah MacNeill said...

Hi John,
It has been a long time but I have been following you and quoting you in my story Escapes and Road Trips - British Columbia's wine region. See dmacneill.com
and click on "more travel stories". We are currently living in the South of France for the winter taking little journeys to Italy, Switzerland and around Provence from our home base on the south side of the Luberon. We return home to our Saturna island home at the end of April. I hope you remember me, Deborah MacNeill Photographer. I left Vancouver for a life and career in Toronto in 1981. It would be fun to catch up. I would love your comments on my blog.
Warm regards, Deborah

 
At March 4, 2013 at 1:57 AM , Blogger Deborah MacNeill said...

Hi John,
It has been a long time but I have been following you and quoting you in my story Escapes and Road Trips - British Columbia's wine region. See dmacneill.com
and click on "more travel stories". We are currently living in the South of France for the winter taking little journeys to Italy, Switzerland and around Provence from our home base on the south side of the Luberon. We return home to our Saturna island home at the end of April. I hope you remember me, Deborah MacNeill Photographer. I left Vancouver for a life and career in Toronto in 1981. It would be fun to catch up. I would love your comments on my blog.
Warm regards, Deborah

 

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