Photo: Therapy winemaker Steve Latchford
A trio of wines has just been released by Naramata’s Therapy
Vineyards includes, as usual, winemaker Steve Latchford’s excellent winemaking
There is detail here not often revealed by other winemakers.
I don’t think it is that most winemakers want to keep secrets, but merely that
consumers and wine reviewers would not understand some of the technical details.
Example: the Pinot Noir was fermented with “R2, Alpha and
Indigenous yeast strains” and the malolactic fermentation was started with “SB3
Among winemakers, those details are important. The various
properties of different yeast strains can have a profound impact on the aroma
and the flavour of the wine. The choices are incredibly complex. Just google
Scott Laboratories and look through the near infinite list of yeasts.
I take a lot of comfort, however, from the fact that Steve
provides this esoteric info
It tells me he has a good handle on what he is doing in the winery.
Let me reproduce the biography of him from the Therapy web
Steven Latchford was
born in Ontario’s Prince Edward County in 1982, His work ethic was developed
early on by working in the dairy industry and moving onto graphic
arts and design. The wine industry allows Steve to still use his
agriculture background by growing grapes and his artistic side by crafting
unique wine blends.
He started in the wine
industry at the tender age of 18 when he enrolled at Niagara College
Teaching Winery. Unable to legally drink at the time Steve patiently waited to
finish his sensory classes when he was 19.
Graduating in 2004
from the program Steve had already found winemaking, viticulture and sales
employment from Vincor International in 2001 at Jackson Triggs. He also helped
produce the first vintage of Le Clos Jordanne organic wines with Thomas
Bachelor which were made at Jackson Triggs and worked along side Gerald Klose
in Vincor’s sprawling vineyards for 2 summers helping foster the grape growing.
Allowing him to watch the process from vineyard to winery to bottle.
Working closely under
Tom Seaver and Kristine Casey at Jackson Triggs Steve was able to build a
foundation of winemaking knowledge and find his passion for oenology. Marco
Piccoli took over as head winemaker at Jackson Triggs in 2005 and helped
shepherd Steve’s creativity in Icewine and sparkling production.
Steve and Marco are still close friends and stay in contact regularly.
After leaving Niagara
and Vincor in the summer of 2007 Steve was looking for a new challenge and
found himself in the Okanagan
Valley. Tasting his way
through almost every winery in the valley, Steve ended up finding a home in
August 2007 at Naramata’s Holman Lang group of wineries. He spent 14 months
working closely with Bernhard Schirrmeister before being recruited to work at
Since starting at
Therapy Vineyards in 2009 Steve has been able to create wines that stayed true
to Therapy’s original wine style as well as fostering in new labels including
Bi-Polar Icewine, Fizzio-Therapy sparkling and a very highly successful Artist
Still being under 35
years of age has allowed Steve some different insight into the winemaking
process and allows himself plenty of room for playing with blends, fermenting
trials and production techniques. Steve looks forward to furthering Therapy’s
brand into the future and producing many more highly awarded wines.
Here are notes on the trio of releases.
Pinot Gris 2013 ($19.99 for 217 cases). Cool fermentation retained superbly
aromatic aromas in this wine, including green apple and lime, leading to
flavours of citrus and pear. The wine has good weight on the palate, with
lingering fruit flavours on the persistent finish. There is a crisp mineral
note on the finish. It is drinking well now but I agree with the winemaker’s
suggestion that this might be aged a few years. There is a good argument that
we drink our Pinot Gris wines too young. 89-90.
Therapy Vineyards Freudian Sip 2013 ($17.99 for 1,100
cases). This is a blend of 43% Pinot Gris, 28% Riesling, 15% Sauvignon Blanc
and 14% Kerner. The winemaking processes, including several hours of skin
contact with a special enzyme, were all designed to capture the aromatics which
these four varietals have in abundance. The wine begins with aromas of peach,
melon and citrus, leading to flavours of green apple and lime. Good acidity
balances the residual sweetness here. The wine has a long but zesty finish. 90.
Pinot Noir 2012 ($22.99 for 300 cases). This wine was made with grapes from
three different Naramata vineyards, fermented separately and blended later. The
fruit was given a five-day cold soak to extract colour and flavour and then
fermented for two to three weeks. The wine was aged in a combination of new and
used French oak. The wine begins with aromas of cherry, vanilla and cloves. On
the palate, there are flavours of cherry and raspberry mingled with toasty oak
and chocolate. Spicy on the finish, the wine has good concentration with a
texture hinting at a future silkiness with more bottle age. 89.