Photo: SpierHead Winery in East Kelowna
In a recent blind tasting that included six Pinot Noirs
–three from B.C., three imports – the SpierHead Pinot Noir 2011 at $19 a bottle
easily held its own against wines twice and three time the price.
I have reviewed SpierHead Pinot Noirs before and I have
always been impressed by quality/value equation that those wines delivered.
Well, I have just tasted three whites released by the winery
this spring. The Pinot Noir is no fluke. The East Kelowna
winery, which just opened in 2010, has found its feet quickly. It was named the
Best New Winery at the 2012 BC Wine Awards competition.
The winery is owned by partners William Knutson, a Vancouver lawyer, Bruce Hirtle, a Vancouver investment dealer, and Brian
Sprout, a leading Okanagan photographer.
They launched with 2008 and 2009 wines made with purchased
fruit while waiting for their own Gentleman Farmer Vineyard to come into
production. The impressive Pinot Noirs in 2010 and 2011 are from young vines in
Two of the three whites – a Chardonnay and a Riesling - also
are from the Gentleman Farm Vineyard.
Here are my notes.
2011 ($21.90 for 261 cases). Winemaking achieved the best of both world by
fermenting 80% of this in steel, preserving the fruitiness, while fermenting
and aging the remainder in French oak. As a result, the wine showcases the
aromas and flavours of citrus and peach. The oak treatment adds a touch of
butteriness and a lingering note of cloves. This is an elegant and fresh
2012 ($21.90 for 350 cases). The grapes for this are partly from the
Gentleman Farmer Vineyard and partly from the nearby The View Winery. The wine
is crisp and lean, with its racy acidity nicely balance with a touch of
residual sugar. It has aromas and flavours of lime and lemon with a mineral
spine. Savvy consumers will age this for a year to let the aromatics develop
SpierHead Pinot Gris
($18.90 for 250 cases). The grapes for this delicious wine are from
the Golden Retreat Vineyard in Summerland. Juicy on the palate, the wine has
citrus and apple aromas and delivers flavours of citrus, peach and apple. 90.