Photo: Tinhorn Creek's Miradoro Restaurant - party central
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards is celebrating its 20th
anniversary this year with gusto.
Throughout the season, the winery has hosted, or will host,
20 different events. For example, the afternoon of July 20 is a festival with wine
tastings, music and food from the Miradoro Restaurant. There is a starlight
dinner scheduled for August 15. There are a series of concerts with such bands
as Hey Ocean
and Colin James (I am guessing
these are sold out).
There are several movie nights in the winery’s amphitheatre,
several dinners at Miradoro. The celebrations wind up with a Christmas party on
December 6, the 20th of its events.
These people certainly know how to party!
If you can’t join them at the winery, you can always enjoy
the wines. The 2013 white and rosé releases are Tinhorn at the top of its game.
Among the other new releases, the very pleasant surprise was
the 2010 Oldfield Series Pinot Noir, a $30 wine that tastes like it should cost
quite a bit more.
For most of its 20 years, Tinhorn Creek has been known for a
lot of varietals but seldom for Pinot Noir. One could say that for a number of
other wineries as well. Pinot Noir, after all, is a challenging grape to grow
well and to handle well in the winery.
There seems to have been a sea change in Tinhorn Creek’s
Pinot Noir. I am not sure what is going so right for them; it certainly would
start with the viticulture. Perhaps there is new winery equipment dedicated to
Pinot Noir. Another plus is Tinhorn Creek’s decision in recent years to give
its reds more bottle age, meaning that the wines are more likely to be ready to
drink on release.
The silky Oldfield Series Pinot Noir certainly benefitted
from two and a half years of bottle age before its release on July 1, 2014.
Here are notes on current releases.
Tinhorn Creek Gewürztraminer 2013 ($16.99. This wine
has started to pile up awards and for good reason. The spice and lychee aromas
just reach out from the glass to announce that this is an intense expression of
the varietal. On the palate, there are flavours of grapefruit and lychee. The
texture is juicy and the wine is balanced to finish fairly dry. 91.
Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2013 ($18.99). Sixteen per
cent of this wine was barrel fermented, giving the winemaker a subtle flavour
addition when blending with the tank-fermented wine. The buttery citrus on the
palate also suggests a portion saw malolactic fermentation. Fundamentally, this
is an appealing fruit-forward Chardonnay with flavours of citrus, apple, guava
and tangerine. 89.
Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris 2013 ($18.99). The first
sample I tasted in March was still in bottle shock. I have tasted this wine
several times since it emerged from shock, finding it to be juicy and
refreshing, with crisp apple and citrus flavours. 90.
Tinhorn Creek Pinot Noir 2011 ($21.99). The wine begins with appealing aromas of strawberry mingled
with subtle oak. On the silky palate, there are flavours of cherry and
strawberry. The moderate alcohol of 12.3% reflects a cool year; even so, the wine
finishes with elegance. 90
Oldfield Series 2Bench Rosé 2013 ($22.99 for 1,000 cases). This wine is
made entirely with Cabernet Franc and is made very much in the style of a Provence rosé – pale
salmon hue, delicate fruit flavours and dry on the finish. It has notes of
strawberry and cranberry in the aroma and on the palate. 89.
Oldfield Series 2Bench White 2013 ($22.99). The tropical fruit bomb is a
blend of 31% Sauvignon Blanc, 29% Chardonnay, 28% Sémillon, 9% Viognier and 3% Muscat. It is a mouthful
of ripe peach, pear and citrus flavours. The wine is rich on the palate and has
a lingering finish. 91.
Oldfield Series Pinot Noir 2010 ($29.99). All the stops were pulled out for
this wine. This was a cool vintage but picking was delayed until October 8,
with the result that the grapes were ripe enough to produce a wine with 14.8%
alcohol. It spent a year in French oak barrels and another two and a half years
in bottle prior to release. This is a powerful Pinot Noir with aromas of
cherry, herbs and sage. It has a juicy concentrated texture with savoury cherry
flavours and the complex notes that aficionados like to call barnyard, for
reasons that elude me. There is a note of spice on the finish. This is a wine
that can be cellared another five years as it expresses its potential. It has
won one gold medal and no doubt has others in its future. 92.