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
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
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
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.
“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.
“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
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
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.
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
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.
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.