Monday, August 12, 2013

CedarCreek adds vineyard designated wines

CedarCreek winemaker Darryl Brooker

In its releases for 2013, CedarCreek Estate Winery is offering several wines for which the exact vineyard block is identified on the label.

CedarCreek and winemaker Darryl Brooker began working on vineyard-designated wines when Darryl joined the winery in 2010. “Our vision,” CedarCreek president Gordon Fitzpatrick says, “has been to showcase the unique terroir of the Okanagan, especially our Home Block at CedarCreek.”

Vineyard-designated wines are nothing new in the Old World. There, the producers have had centuries to identify superior blocks, bottling such wines separately rather than having them disappear into blends.

This has to be managed carefully. Obviously, superior lots will lift the overall quality of blends while keeping those lots separate can weaken blends.

The solution lies in very good viticulture. Every block in a vineyard needs to be managed to its full potential, not just the superior blocks. It is evident that CedarCreek is bringing the best practices to all of its vineyards while taking pains bottle separately the wine from the best-performing blocks.

I have recently tasted several of the winery’s single block wines, which CedarCreek has released under its Platinum or reserve designation. The wines are very fine, indeed. I also tasted CedarCreek’s estate tier of wines. The difference between the tiers, aside from price, is not that dramatic. That shows that the farming here is very good.

Here are notes on some of the current releases.

CedarCreek 2011 “Block 5” Platinum Chardonnay ($29.95 for 533 cases). The fruit just sings in this bright and focussed Chardonnay. The wine begins with aromas of citrus and minerals, leading to flavours of honeydew melon. The finish is crisp and tangy. This is the result of fermenting the wine in 500-litre puncheons and not allowing it to undergo malolactic fermentation (which makes Chardonnay buttery). The wine was aged in barriques and puncheons. 93.

CedarCreek 2012 “Block 3” Platinum Riesling (Sold out but may be available at the winery; 300 cases produced). With only eight per cent alcohol, this wine would be very much at home in a fine Mosel cellar. The wine’s 12 grams of acid gives this wine its racy character but the balancing 25 grams of residual sugar lifts the aromas and flavours of lime and grapefruit. The 21-year-old vines on Block 3 are not irrigated. As a result, the roots go deep in the search for water, bringing up notes of minerals on the aroma and palate. 92.

CedarCreek 2010 “Home Block” Platinum Pinot Noir ($39.95 for 559 cases). This is one of the most impressive Pinot Noirs in the Okanagan, period. The grapes are from two small blocks within the Home Block; one with vines planted in 1991 and the other with vines planted in 1995. This shows in the concentrated flavours and textures of the wine. Aged 16 months in French oak, the wine begins with toasty, cherry aromas. On the palate, there are flavours of raspberry and cherry, with spice on the finish. The texture is just beginning to develop the variety’s classic silkiness. This will easily age gracefully for another five years. 92.

CedarCreek 2012 Gewürztraminer ($17.95 for 2,250 cases). CedarCreek started making this wine by pressing the grapes gently and slowly over a 12-hour period. The idea was to capture the sometimes fragile aromatics. The winery succeeded. The wine begins with spicy floral aromas and delivers abundant fruit flavours – lychee, grapefruit and peach. The rich texture and the dry finish very much recall good Alsace gewürztraminer. 90.

CedarCreek 2012 Ehrenfelser ($18.95 for 2,000 cases). Most of the grapes for this wine come from a Westbank vineyard that was planted in 1977. CedarCreek unlocked the exuberant fruity aromas and flavours in 2002 by removing some of the canopy and exposing the grapes to more sunlight. The wine subsequently acquired a cult following. This is a good example, with aromas of peach and citrus and with flavours of peach, pineapple and grapefruit. There is just enough acidity to give the wine a crisp finish. The flavours go on and on. 90.

CedarCreek 2012 Pinot Gris ($17.95 for 5,8o0 cases). This wine was fermented partially with wild yeast. Also, 10% was fermented in French oak. It all added a bit more complexity to a wine with appealing flavours of apple, pear and citrus. The slight touch of residual sugar, well balanced with acidity, pops the flavours very nicely. 90.

CedarCreek 2012 Riesling ($17.95 for 2,200 cases). This is made in a similar style to the Platinum Riesling but with a bit more alcohol, less acidity and less residual sugar. It begins with floral and citrus aromas. On the palate, there are flavours of lemon and lime. The spine of minerals and the crisp acidity give the wine a refreshing finish. 90.

CedarCreek 2012 Rosé ($17.95 for 700 cases). Made with Pinot Noir, this wine has a deep ruby hue. It has aromas and flavours of cherries and strawberries, with firm structure. The finish is almost austerely dry. This wine needs to paired with food. I would have enjoyed it more if the winemaker had left more residual sugar. 86.


At August 29, 2013 at 8:30 AM , Blogger CedarCreek Estate Winery said...

What a pleasure to read your review. Its reassuring to see that our vineyard designate wines are garnering great scores. Thank you.

At August 29, 2013 at 8:30 AM , Blogger CedarCreek Estate Winery said...

What a pleasure to read your review. Its reassuring to see that our vineyard designate wines are garnering great scores. Thank you.


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