Sunday, June 8, 2014

Class of 2014: Daydreamer Wines

 Photo: Winemaker Marcus Ansems of Daydreamer Wines

Australian-born Marcus Ansems has returned to Okanagan winemaking with the release of a Pinot Gris and a rosé under a new label, Daydreamer Wines.

The project is owned by Marcus and his wife, Rachel. It is entering the market with about 1,000 cases of wine (including reds to be released this fall). The couple have found a way to get into this capital intensive business without immediately sinking a fortune into it. To keep the costs in check, they lease a quarter of a five-hectare (12-acre) and they lease space in a new custom crush winery, Wine4You. Marcus also has contracts with growers elsewhere in the Okanagan, including growers of Syrah.

“I like cool climate Syrah,” Marcus says. “I am not sure that it should not be a bigger focus [for the Okanagan], particularly in that more elegant, peppery style and avoiding the Australian over the top alcoholic, jammy style.” Future signature wines from Daydreamer will include Syrah.

The variety practically runs in the veins of winemaker. Marcus’s family in Australia once owned a share of Mount Langi Ghiran, the legendary Shiraz producer in the state of Victoria, and his uncle, Trevor Mast, was a winemaker there.

“One of my favourite wines in the world was made at my family winery,” Marcus says. “It is just unique to that site … an atypical Shiraz. That wine was what inspired me to want to get involved with the industry.” Born in 1974, he graduated in enology in 1996 from Adelaide University. He went abroad to gain experience, first with Simonsig in South Africa and then in Tuscany and the Rhône. He picked up his career in Australia briefly before a Canadian wine entrepreneur, Peter Jensen, recruited him in 1999 to run wineries in Ontario and Nova Scotia. In Niagara, before he returned to Australia in 2002 as a consulting winemaker, he met Rachel, an accountant with a talent in design and photography.

They moved to British Columbia in 2004 where Marcus became the winemaker first for Blasted Church Vineyards and, a year later, for Therapy Vineyards. Since late 2008, he has been the buyer for Hemispheres Wine Guild, a Canadian club for wine collectors. He is also working on studies to become a Master of Wine and is considering doing his thesis on – what else? – Okanagan Syrah.

Daydreamer is the culmination of a family winery dream that Rachel and Marcus share. The winery’s Merlot-based blend is named Amelia, for their daughter. In addition to the two wines just released, Daydreamer later this year will release a Chardonnay and the two Syrahs, one co-fermented with Viognier.

They intend to remain a boutique winery, producing perhaps 2,000 cases a year. “I have worked for other people and I have had other partners and lots of shareholders,” Marcus says. “This is just my wife and I. We can do as little or as much as we want. It is a dream.”

Here are notes on the initial releases.

Daydreamer Pinot Gris 2013 ($22). Made with organic grapes, this wine also has 12% Viognier in the blend. It was fermented in new French oak for a month and then matured in stainless steel for five months before bottling. The wine begins with both floral and fruity aromas. The intense flavours include green apple, lime and pink grapefruit. That bit of exposure to oak has added a subtle toasty note. The wine has a tangy and refreshing finish. 90.

Daydreamer Rosé 2013 ($20). Also made with organic grapes, this is 80% Merlot and 20% Viognier. While the juice had 18 hours of skin contact, the wine has the delicate rose petal hue of a Province rosé – probably because Marcus used only free run juice and did not press the skins. The wine was fermented in new French oak for a month and then matured five months in stainless steel. The wine has aromas of raspberries and cherries. The texture is surprisingly rich, considering the colour, with flavours of cherry and cranberry. The finish is crisp and totally dry. 90.

Daydreamer Wines
1493 Todd Road
Penticton BC V2A 8T6
T  778.514.0026
When to visit: by appointment


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