Photo: Michael Bartier at the start of a brilliant career
The first wines released by Bartier Brothers were The Cowboy,
a white, and The Goal, a red. Michael and Don Bartier, who were born in Kelowna
, recall Okanagan
history with those labels. The Cowboy was inspired by the rodeo career of the
late Kenny MacLean of Okanagan
, the World Rodeo
Champion in 1962. The Goal recalls the 1955 World Hockey champions, the
The brothers now have begun to make their own Okanagan
history with this winery. Launched initially under the Okanagan Crush Pad umbrella,
Bartier Brothers is positioned to puts its own roots down on a vineyard on Black Sage Road.
“The wines are the culmination of my career, the sum of everything I have
learned,” Michael says.
The brothers are sons of an accountant. Don took up that profession
1978, where he pursued an oil industry career. Influenced by Michael’s passion,
he planted the Lone Pine Vineyard, a small block of Gewürztraminer in
Summerland, several years before the brothers collaborated on their initial
vintage in 2010.
Michael, who was born in 1967, has a 1990 degree in
recreational administration at the University
. “I wasn’t
interested in the recreational field,” he admitted later. “By the time I
realized that, I was too far along in my degree to stop those studies.” On
graduation, he spent five years selling wine.
Returned to the Okanagan in 1995, he briefly considered becoming
a rock climbing guide until taking a job at Hawthorne Mountain Vineyards (now
See Ya Later Ranch). He was quickly promoted to assistant winemaker. (The
photograph at the head of this post was taken during his Hawthorne Mountain
days.) He began taking winemaking courses and, in 1998, did a vintage at the
Thomas Hardy Winery in Australia
Since 2002, he has honed his craft at Stag’s Hollow, Township 7, Road 13 and
finally, at Okanagan Crush Pad with multiple client wineries.
By the 2012 vintage, Bartier Brothers was producing more
than 2,000 cases, with most of the fruit from Cerqueira Vineyard, which the
brothers have under contract. This six-hectare (15-acre) Black Sage Road
vineyard with unique
mineral content, is planted with Sémillon, Chardonnay, Syrah and the Bordeaux
Michael many options to display what he has learned in 20 years.
Here are notes on the wines.
Sémillon 2012 Cerqueira Vineyard ($19.90 for 144 cases). The wine begins
with aromas of fresh apple slices. On the palate, there are flavours of apple
and melon and herbs. It has a good backbone of minerals and bright acidity to
give the wine a crisp finish. 90.
Gewürztraminer 2012 Lone Pine Vineyard ($18.90 for 144 cases). The complex
of this wine has been augmented with the addition of 11% Sémillon in the blend.
The wine begins with a fruity aroma – more floral than spicy. There are
flavours of lychee and a hint of residual sweetness, nicely balanced with
acidity to create a refreshing finish. 90.
Bartier Bros. Unoaked
Chardonnay 2012 Cerqueira Vineyard ($19.90 for 215 cases). The wine begins
with a lovely aroma of citrus and apple. The aromas are echoed on the palate
along with lime and peach. The rich texture was promoted by leaving the wine on
lees, without stirring, for five months. 89.
Bartier Bros. Merlot
2011 Cerqueira Vineyard ($26.90 for 350 cases). It was supposed to be a
cool vintage in 2011 which may why this Black Sage Road still had Merlot hanging
in mid-October. The grapes ripened well for the alcohol of this wine is 14.7%. There
is also 14% Cabernet Franc in the blend. The texture is so generous that there
is no heat on the finish. Because the wine is under screw cap, I would
recommend decanting it, letting the aromas open up with breathing. The wine has
flavours of blackberry, cherries and vanilla. The firm ripe tannins mean the
wine has structure to age. 89-91.
Bartier Bros. Syrah
2011 Cerqueira Vineyard
($26.90 for 325 cases). This is 87% Syrah, 13%
Cabernet Franc. There is a brooding, earthy personality to this wine that
implies a touch of Rhone
. There are flavours
of prune and peppery chocolate on the rich palate. 90.
Bartier Bros. The
Goal 2011 Cerqueira Vineyard ($29.90 for 345 cases). This is 90% Merlot,
10% Cabernet Franc. The wine begins with cherry and plum aromas. The palate is
generous, with flavours of black cherry, black currant and sage. The firm
tannins suggest this is a good candidate for cellaring. Decant it if you are