Photo: Winemaker Marcus Ansems
It was hardly a surprise that the latest releases from
Daydreamer Wines in the Naramata Bench are very well made. Marcus Ansems, the
winemaker, has a very long and solid track record.
Daydreamer started marketing its wines earlier this year.
While the distribution channels still are limited, the wines are sold on the
Daydreamer website, by the case or by the half dozen.
My reviews follow. First, here is the winery profile from my
recently published John Schreiner’s
Okanagan Wine Tour Guide.
Two of the signature
wines from Daydreamer are Syrahs, a variety that practically runs in the veins
of winemaker Marcus Ansems, the owner of this winery with his wife, Rachel. His
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
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.
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.
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. Daydreamer
launched with about 1,000 cases including Chardonnay and the two Syrahs, one
co-fermented with Viognier. “I like cool climate Syrah,” Marcus
says. The wines come in two tiers, with the popular-priced wines are under the
Daydreamer label. For premium wines, he has revived the Marcus Ansems label
that he first created while he was at Therapy.
intend to remain a boutique winery, producing perhaps 2,000 cases a year. 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. “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
Here are notes on the wines. Marcus Ansems is the winery’s
2013 ($24). This wine was fermented and matured for nine months in French
oak barriques, without malolactic fermentation. As a result, the citrus
(grapefruit) fruit flavour is crisply focussed and refreshing and the oak is
Chardonnay 2013 ($30). This wine was fermented in barrel and aged for 12
months in French oak. The oak is so well integrated as to be hardly evident but
for a note of toast and butterscotch in the aroma. The wine keeps the flavours
of tangerine and grapefruit on centre stage. Again, the winemaker did not
permit malolactic fermentation. As a result, the acidity is bright and the wine
is refreshing. 91
2013 ($25). This is 83% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, fermented in small (900
kg) batches, and aged for 12 months in French oak. There is a touch of mint,
spice and red fruit on the nose. The texture is firm; the wine delivers
flavours of black currants and spice with a hint of pepper on the finish. 89.
2013 ($26). This is 90% Shiraz,
10% Viognier and the grapes were co-fermented in small batches. The wine has
matured nine months in French oak. The wine begins with earthy, gamey aromas of
deli meats and pepper. The wine should be decanted to allow its texture to
flesh out. There are flavours of blackberry, raspberry and Christmas spices
with dark chocolate and espresso on the finish. 90.
Marcus Ansems Shiraz
2013 ($35). This has matured 12 months in oak – 70% French, 30% American.
The wine begins with aromas of black cherry and pepper. It delivers generous
flavours of black cherry, spicy fruit cake, with black pepper, chocolate and
black cherry on the finish. There is a lot of Australian personality in this
full-bodied wine. 91.