Photo: Riverstone's Ted Kane
Riverstone Estate Winery is now in its third year. The
winery is located just off Tuc-El-Nuit
Road, the road on the east side of Oliver which
runs parallel to the highway.
For some wine tourists, this might still be the back road
when, in fact, the street is really an extension of Black Sage Road.
You can’t miss Riverstone, with its collection of yellow
buildings on the hill top above the vineyard. The winery is owned by Ted and
Lorraine Kane. She may or may not be around because she is a doctor in private
practice. Ted, on the other hand, is usually around, tending to his meticulous
vineyard with a singular enthusiasm for grapevines.
It shows in the quality of the wines. Here are notes on the
2012 ($18). This is an unconventional, but successful, blend of Viognier,
Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer. It works because the Viognier brings structure,
the Pinot Gris adds fruit on the mid-palate and the Gewürztraminer adds spice on
the nose and the finish. The wine begins with citrus aromas, continuing to
flavours of pear, apple and apricot. A touch of residuals sweetness adds to the
wine’s appeal. 89.
Riverstone Pinot Gris
2012 ($20). The wine begins with exuberant fruity aromas, with flavours of
pears, apples and citrus and with a generous texture on the palate. The wine is
balanced to finish dry and thus to be food friendly. 90.
Rosé 2012 ($20). One seldom sees a Malbec rosé from the Okanagan because
most wineries husband the variety for their Bordeaux blends. Ted Kane has managed to
allocate enough to indicate what a great rosé variety Malbec also is. This
dark-hued robust wine begins with aromas of raspberries and black pepper. On
the palate, the wine has cherry flavours, with an earthy undertone reminiscent
of cherry pits and with a dry, peppery finish. 90.
2011 ($20). This is a relatively light and lean Merlot with 12.4% alcohol,
reflecting the cooler vintage in 2011. It has aromas of blackberries and
lingonberries, with berry flavours that are bright and fruity. 87.
Franc 2011 ($26). This is a well-grown wine with ripe tannins. It begins
with bright brambly aromas along with a touch of mocha and vanilla. On the
palate, there are flavours of blackberry, black cherry and raspberry. The
finish lingers. 90-91.
Merlot 2011 ($24 for 50 cases). This is a 50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon and
Merlot, with an alcohol of 13.5%, suggesting a selection of the ripest grapes
for this delicious blend. It has long ripe tannins with aromas and flavours of
black cherry, mocha and vanilla, finishing with spicy fruit. 90-91.
Cornerstone 2010 ($28.50). This is the winery’s flagship red, with a blend
of 59% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Cabernet Franc. The production is
about 400 cases a year. The 2010 vintage was even cooler than 2011 but Ted
Kane’s exceptional viticulture pulled off an elegant wine with 14.4% alcohol.
The nose begins with spicy red berries, along with cedar, mint and a touch of
oak (the wine was aged 14 months in oak). On the palate, there are flavours of
black currant, plum and chocolate. The firm structure indicates that this wine
was built to age well for 7 to 10 years. If you must consume it now, be sure to
decant it. My scoring indicates that I think the wine is a few years away from