Photo: Sea Star's David Goudge
Sea Star Vineyards &; Winery on Pender Island
debuted last year with startlingly good wines.
It turns out that Sea Star is not a one-shot wonder. The
recently released wines from the 2014 are every bit as good, it not better.
Credit goes to owner David Goudge and his winemaker, Ian
Baker. David, who has
lived on Pender Island
for about seven years, purchased the predecessor winery, Morning
in 2011. The original winery, an attractive building set
amidst the forest, was still there. So was the seven-acre vineyard that had
been planted in 2002.
David resuscitated there property by invested in new
equipment, a climate controlled barrel cellar and an updated wine shop. To manage the vineyard and make the wines, he
hired Ian Baker, who had formerly done the same duties at Mistaken Identity
Vineyards on Salt
It is apparent they are a good team.
David was born in Ottawa
in 1959 and grew up in a home where his parents shared wine at the dinner
table. “I am a fan of wine,” he says. “I have never tried to learn how to make it
myself. I just leave that to the experts. But I am passionate about wine.”
He came to Vancouver
architecture at the University
of British Columbia
he went briefly into the restaurant business before establishing himself as a Vancouver
Ian (left) is a one time Department of Fisheries employee and the former
operator of a landscape business in Qualicum
. More to the point, he was a long-time amateur winemaker
with, as one of his former partners said, “a box of medals.” He came to Sea Star in 2013 after about four
years with Mistaken Identity.
The Pender Island grapes in the winery’s whites are from the
5,000 vines at Sea Star’s vineyard and the 7,000 vines at the 5.5-acre vineyard
at Clam Bay Farm on North
Encore, the 2013 Bordeaux blend, is made with
red varieties purchased from Okanagan growers because those varieties would
never ripen on Pender
A portion of Sea Star’s vineyard actually is right on the
ocean. In part, that was an inspiration of this winery’s elegant labels. Each
crisply white label is adorned with a sea star. “For me, the image of a sea
star is reminiscent of beach combing in the summer; or you might be out
kayaking on a calm day and you can see them up on the rocks,” David says. “They
represent summer in the ocean, that’s what I thought.”
Here are notes on the wines:
Sea Star Stella Maris
2014 ($19.15 for 338 cases). This is a blend of Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir,
Pinot Gris, Riesling, Ortega and Schönburger.
The wine is aromatic, with herbal spice and aromas of pear and apricot.
All of that is reflected on the palate. The wine dances lightly across the
palate and finishes with persistent fruity flavours. 90.
Sea Star Siegerrebe
2014 ($15.75 for 325 cases). This won gold at the recent Northwest Wine
Summit. Aromas of honey, rose petals and grapefruit jump from the glass. The
sweet fruit on the nose leads one to expect an off-dry wine. Big surprise: it
is balanced toward dryness, with flavours of grapefruit. There is a hint of
spice on the finish. The wine is so exquisitely balanced that the inherent
grapey flavours of this variety are kept well in check. Siegerrebe can be
cloying when sweet. Not this one; this is clean and refreshing. 92.
Sea Star Ortega 2014 ($15.75 for 520 cases). A silver medalist at the Northwest Wine
Summit, this wine begins with lovely tropical fruit aromas, including guava,
grapefruit, and lime mingled with delicate spice. On the palate, it is a bowl
of tropical fruit flavours along with crisp apple notes. The acidity is fresh;
the wine is once again exquisitely balanced, with a refreshing and long-lasting
Sea Star Salish Sea 2014 ($15.75 for 515 cases). This is a blend of
Ortega and Siegerrebe. It begins with a glorious aroma of tropical fruits and
flowers, continuing on to flavours of lime and grapefruit mingled with herb and
spice. Once again, the wine is very well balance to give the perception of a
dry finish, with lingering fruit. Another refreshing white. 91.
Sea Star Blanc de
($17.47 for 520 cases). This wine won a gold medal and was judged
the best rosé at the recent Northwest Wine Summit. The Pinot Noir grapes for
this rosé are from the Clam
vineyard. The wine
presents with a delicate pink hue and with appealing aromas of strawberry and
rhubarb. That fruit is echoed on the palate, where the wine is crisp and
refreshing. The texture is luscious even though the wine is balanced toward
Sea Star Encore 2013 ($21.75
for 470 cases). This is a blend of
Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has been aged months in new
and used French oak. The wine is still bright and youthful; I decanted the wine
as recommended by the winery. It begins with aromas of red currants and
noticeable oak. On the palate, there are flavours of black currant, prune,
chocolate and liquorice. Because the oak has not finished marrying with the
fruit, this wine will benefit from another year of bottle aging before being
opened. And the winemaker knows that. The wine has been released now because of
consumer demand. 88-90.