Sunday, May 26, 2013

Riverstone wine releases in 2013

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 current releases.


Riverstone Splash 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.


Riverstone Malbec 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.


Riverstone Merlot 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.


Riverstone Cabernet 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.


Riverstone Cabernet 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.


Riverstone 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 peaking. 90-92.


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