Here is a sign of spring: wineries are releasing some 2013 wines.
I have been able to taste two examples, Tinhorn Creek’s 2013
Pinot Gris and 8th Generation’s 2013 Pinot Meunier Rosé.
As well, JoieFarm has announced the release of six of its
2013 wines – five whites and a rosé. These mark the winery’s 10th
anniversary release. In another example of a maturing industry, Tinhorn Creek
is marking its 20th anniversary this year.
When the early 2013s show up, don’t be in too much of a rush
in opening them.
The Tinhorn Creek
Pinot Gris 2013 ($18.99 for 7,943 cases) was bottled in January and still
was suffering bottle shock when I opened it on March 5. The aroma and the
flavours were somewhat muted. It would be unfair to score the wine now. I will
pick up another bottle in April and I am confident that it is at least a 90
point wine when it knits in the bottle.
The devastating impact of bottle shock was demonstrated
perhaps five years ago when CedarCreek Estate Winery came to Vancouver to show off three aromatic whites
that had just been bottled. Tom DiBello, who was the winemaker then, also
brought tank samples of the same wines, anticipating bottle shock might have
Because the hand-bottled tank samples had not been beaten up
in the filling line, the wines all were expressive on the nose and palate. But
the recently bottled examples, especially a Gewürztraminer, were almost dead in
Depending on the variety, newly bottled wines usually need a
month to three months to get over being bottled.
The other thing I have learned about Pinot Gris over the
years is that it is often better in the fall after the release. Maturing in
bottle takes the wine to the next level. Since Tinhorn Creek is releasing 8,000
cases (at a good price), why not buy half a dozen bottles and open one every
month between May and October.
Generation Pinot Meunier Rosé 2013 ($20) was shown by the winery at a
February 6 tasting in Vancouver,
hosted by Icon Fine Wine and Spirits, the agency now representing this
I think the wine was a tank sample because it was far too
expressive to have been recently bottled. The rhubarb and strawberry aromas
just exploded from the glass. On the palate, it is a delicious fruit salad. The
touch of residual sweetness is perfectly balanced with lively acidity,
resulting in a refreshing rosé. 90.
While I have not had a chance to taste the JoieFarm wines, I
am indebted to JoieFarm owners Heidi Noble and Michael Dinn for comments on the
2013 vintage in their release announcement.
“A note about the vintage itself,” they wrote. “The 2013
growing year was long and flavourful. It was our second bumper crop in a row
and the vines have really outdone themselves in terms of quantity and
quality. The vintage shows our regional trademark of excellent acidity
and reasonable alcohols as well as great intensity of flavour, the benefit of a
nice long growing season and a cool dry October.”
Mind you, the vintage was not quite the walk in the park
that implies. There is a more detailed vintage report with the specifications
of each JoieFarm wine:
“The 2013 vintage
presented a different set of challenges with each season. Spring arrived at its
normal time and bud break occurred during the first week of May. May and June
were cool and wet, encouraging very little growth until early July when the
vines took off in earnest. This rapid growth had us running in the vineyard,
shoot positioning constantly and managing rapid canopy growth.
“Flowering in the
central part of the Okanagan occurred in early July and, fortunately, fruit set
went uninterrupted by heavy rains or wind. Above average temperatures continued
through until the first week of September. Veraison was even and … completed in
mid-August and ripening continued on like a freight train.
“A warm early
September, coupled with heavy rain, had us starting to panic. We began
harvesting thin-skinned varieties like Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir extremely
early and had to work quickly in order not to lose quality crop to rot.
“After an early
beginning to harvest, with all red varieties harvested by late September, we
had a 10-day pause for more rain. From there, the weather dried up, staying
cool and dry and we finished up at out usual time, with the last vineyard
picked by October 25.
“A warm dry August and
a dry October allowed for extended hang times, producing very flavourful grapes
with full phenolic ripeness and complex flavour development. Overall, we saw
higher than normal brix levels, achieved early due to the summer’s heat, but
fresh acidity and ripe flavours that came with the benefit of our normal long
JoieFarm has released six wines from 2013. They are:
JoieFarm A Noble
Blend 2013 ($24 for 6,236 cases, 486 magnums and 90 double magnums).
Chardonnay 2013 ($23 for 901 cases).
JoieFarm Muscat 2013 ($23
for 483 cases).
JoieFarm Rosé 2013 ($21
for 2,838 cases).
JoieFarm Pinot Blanc
2013 ($23 for 438 cases).