Photo: Adega on 45th owners Alex Nunes and Fred Farinha
What follows are notes on wines reviewed in recent months. Finishing a book and other activities interfered with reporting on them promptly.
However, most of the wines are readily available, either in wine stores or directly from the wineries. The reality is that B.C. wines are not selling out as quickly as they have in the past. The reason: there is so much more choice.
The owner of a major winery told me recently that he believes that the current surplus of B.C. wines amounts to a year's supply of VQA wines. That might be extreme but there is something to that. Just look at the price reductions this fall from some producers of VQA wine.
It may not be the best of times to be a wine producer but it is not a bad time to be a consumer.
Here are wine notes.
Adega on 45th
Viognier 2012 ($20). The wine begins with fruity aromas of pineapple and
apricot. On the palate, there are flavours of peach, apricot and guava. The
finish is crisp and dry. 89.
Gewürztraminer 2012 ($17.50 for 1,738 cases). This is a serious
Alsace-style Gewürztraminer (to distinguish it from the off-dry aperitif
versions). It has that almost oily texture I associated with Alsace, with aromas and flavours of citrus,
lychee and anise. The finish is dry. Consider this with turkey. 88
Hatfield’s Fuse 2012 ($18.50 for 9,000 cases). The production volume
suggests this has become the winery’s flagship white. The 2012 is a nine-grape
blend, with the blend based on aromatic varietals. Consequently, the fruity,
floral and spicy aromas jump from the glass. The palate is a fruit salad that
includes tangerine, grapefruit, lychee and pineapple. The texture is juicy and
the finish lingers. 90.
Blasted Church Mixed
Blessings 2012 ($18.50 for 607 cases). This is something of a clone of
Hatfield’s Fuse, with four aromatic varietals in the blend and a touch more
residual sweetness. Aimed primarily for sales to restaurants, the wine is sold
out. It is a fleshy and juicy white with aromas of peach and tropical fruits
which are echoed on the palate. 89.
Blasted Church Pinot
Gris 2012 ($20.50 for 4,000 cases). This is a wine with focussed purity of
fruit aromas and flavours – citrus, apple and pear. The wine has good weight
and a long finish. 90.
Blasted Church OMG
2011 ($27 for 1,000 cases). This label means Oh My God … and that kind of
was my reaction on tasting this delightful sparkling wine. The cuvee is 45%
Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Blanc. In the flute, the wine puts on
a terrific display of fine bubbles. It begins with clean aromas of apples. On
the palate, there are fruity apple flavours with a toasty note from the lees.
The wine is crisp; the bubbles give a creamy texture. 91.
Blasted Church Sauvignon
Blanc 2012 ($19.50 for 642 cases). This wine begins with aromas that are
both herbal and herbaceous and continues to deliver flavours of grapefruit and
grapefruit rind. The bright acidity gives the wine a crisply dry finish. 89.
2012 ($20). The wine begins with aromas of fresh apples, continuing to
flavours of lime and lemon. There is a good backbone of minerals and brisk
acidity balanced by a touch of residual sugar. 89.
($22). This is a classically brambly varietal, with aromas and
flavours of raspberry and cherry. The wine has a personality of rustic
Gray Monk Pinot Auxerrois 2012
($16.99 for 5,600 cases). This is an excellent white
varietal but, strangely, championed only by a few producers. It would be hard
to find a better champion than Gray Monk. This is such a delicious and
refreshing white, with aromas and flavours of melon, apple and apricot. The
alcohol is only 11.7%. It was pretty easy for two of us to finish the bottle
and look around for more. 90.
Gray Monk Pinot Blanc
2012 ($15.99 for 2,852 cases). This wine begins with aromas of apples and
grapefruit. On the palate, there are flavours of apples, melons and grapefruit.
There is a hint of residual sweetness on the fruity finish. 88.
Gray Monk Riesling
2011 ($14.99 for 3,895 cases). Here is a superbly balanced Riesling, with
nine grams per litre of acidity and 22.9 grams of residual sugar. As a result,
the wine seems less sweet than it actually is and it projects aromas and flavours
of citrus and peach, with the tiniest hint of petrol adding complexity. The
acidity leaves the wine tangy and refreshed. 90.
Gray Monk Unwooded
Chardonnay 2012 ($16.99 for 4,882 cases). This is a delightful wine,
beginning with aromas of peach and citrus leading to flavours of peach, pear
and apple. The texture is full and the finish is clean and refreshing. 90
($19.50 for 150 cases). Nagging Doubt is still a virtual
winery selling through its website. It is establishing its own winery in East Kelowna
. This was just released. I got a bottle from
Andrew Meyer and Terry Meyer-Stone who grew the grapes on their Anarchist Mountain
vineyard. This is a powerful
Chardonnay, with 15.3% alcohol but with such rich and intense fruit that there
is no heat to speak of on the palate. It begins with aromas of citrus and
butter and a toasty note from subtle oak. On the palate, there are flavours of
tangerine and stone fruit. 91.
Nk’Mip Cellars Winemaker’s
Riesling 2012 ($17.99). Here is a classically disciplined Riesling, with a
slight touch of petrol and citrus on the nose and with concentrated flavours of
lemon and lime wrapped around a backbone
of minerals and bright acidity. The finish is crisp and dry. 90.
Nk’Mip Cellars Winemaker’s Pinot Noir 2012
($21.99). This is a light-bodied quaffer with
cherry flavours and with a silken finish, but not much length. 87.
Nk’Mip Cellars Talon
2011 ($22.99). This is a blend of
33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32.4% Syrah, 17% Merlot, 10.7% Cabernet Franc,
6.3% Malbec and 0.5% Pinot Noir. It is designed to be an early-drinking red
with the sophistication that comes from blending and aging for 18 months on
barrel. The wine begins with aromas of vanilla and black cherry, leading to
flavours of plum, chocolate and spice on the finish. 89.
Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam
Qwmt Syrah 2009 ($34.99). A bold, ripe and satisfying wine, this begins
with aromas of vanilla, white pepper, black cherry. On the palate, there are
flavours of black cherry, plum and pepper. The soft ripe tannins give this a
generous, mouth-filling texture. 91.
See Ya Later Ranch
Belle 2011 ($19.09). This is one of the SYL wines name for one of the dogs
that belonged to a former owner of the property. The wine, a blend of 85%
Viognier and 15% Pinot Gris, is anything but a dog. It is crisp and refreshing,
with aromas and flavours of apricot and apples, with a touch of citrus on the
lingering finish. 88
2012 Thorny Vines Vineyard ($18.90). The vineyard is on the Naramata Bench,
where a few other wineries have a track record for good Riesling. This wine
begins with a hint of petrol and grapefruit on the nose. The favours explode on
the palate – lime and grapefruit, popped by a generous amount of residual sugar
very nicely balanced with acidity. Close your eyes and you think you are in a
good German wine region. 90.
2012 Storm Haven Vineyard
($31.90). This is the Okanagan Falls
vineyard beside the winery – a rocky terroir that screams Riesling. I won’t
even try to top the winery’s own notes: “Ripe crab apple, pineapple, mango meat, coconut, banana, lemon and apple
sauce are all prevalent. In the mouth the wine shows the same, adding
Asian and anjou
pear, honey, sweet apple blossom, lime, rose petal, lemon curd and
banana. The finish is an endless balance of honeyed sweetness teetering
on a broad range of acids and stoney minerality.” Suffice it to say, I also
think this is a very fine wine. 92.
Noir 2011 Palo Solara Vineyards ($24.90). Still youthful in personality,
this wine should be cellared for a year or two; or at least decanted if
impatient. It has spicy aromas of cherry and raspberry which are echoed on the
palate. The bright acidity gives this wine a tangy leanness. It has the promise
of fleshing out with some age while retaining its lively vivacity. 88-90.
TNT Chardonnay 2012 ($22.90
for 150 cases). This is the latest release from Okanagan Crush Pad of a wine
made under the hand of sommelier of the year. The sommelier involved here was
Terry Threlfall, the 2012 Sommelier of the Year. The name of the wine is taken
from his initials. This wine was fermented in one of the concrete eggs that OCP
uses and which seem to add texture to the wine. The wine has aromas of apples
and citrus leading to flavours of of citrus, apple and apricot. The bright
acidity and the minerality give the wine a nicely defined backbone. 90.
“I Told You So” Viognier 2012 by Elephant
Better known for its fruit wines, Elephant
added a red and a
white grape wine in 2010. In my mind, it established itself as one of the
Okanagan’s premier Viognier producers. Fruity and floral on the nose, this wine
has flavours of peach and tangerine. As the wine warms up, the fruit flavours
add a honeyed note, with a touch of sweetness on the finish. 90.