Monday, August 31, 2015

Seven Directions: demonstrating consistency

 Photo: Winemaker Daniel Bontorin

This is the third consecutive vintage of the Seven Directions Pinot Noir Rosé that I have reviewed.

Looking back on the notes for the 2012 and 2013, I am struck by the impressive consistency of the wines. Each of those was scored 91 points. Guess what the score is for the 2014!

It might be hard to find an Okanagan winemaker more passionate for rosé than Daniel Bontorin, a consulting winemaker whose clients include Volcanic Hills Estate Winery. His own label, Seven Directions, produces only rosé.

Daniel’s rosé-making pedigree goes back to the 2005 vintage when he made Vaïla, the outstanding rosé still produced at Le Vieux Pin. That wine, along with rosé from JoieFarm Winery, probably started the renewed interest in a wine style made now by the majority of wineries.

Vaïla is a Pinot Noir rosé. Daniel made three vintages at Le Vieux Pin before moving on to consulting. Subsequent winemakers at LVP have continued to make it in the same vibrant and juicy style of the original.

Daniel made the first Gamay Noir rosé for Volcanic Hills in the 2010 vintage. The wine promptly won a Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence. Daniel continues to produce the Gamay rosé for his client. The varietal choice is determined by what is available at Volcanic Hills.

For his own rosé, Daniel likes Pinot Noir, choosing the organic Pinot Noir grown by Kalala Vineyard. “The 2007 Vaïla was from the Kalala Vineyard, so I knew the quality of the fruit,” he says.

In his notes on the current release, Daniel says: “Sourced from a single vineyard, the grapes for this 2014 Pinot Noir rosé were organically farmed in the cool climate Kalala vineyard of West Kelowna. The soil for these 20-year-old self-rooted vines consists of mostly sandy loam, alluvial deposits and small pebbles intermixed with fine clay granules. [The vines are] naturally yielding a mere 2.07 tons per acre …”

The inspiration for the Seven Directions rosé comes from France. “I have been drinking some French rosé wines the past couple of years,” Daniel says. “I like the texture and the feel.”

Here is a note on the current release.

Seven Directions Pinot Noir Rosé 2014 ($24.26 plus tax for 130 cases). The wine presents itself with a dark Sockeye salmon hue. It has aromas of cherries, strawberries and apples. On the palate, there are flavours of strawberry and grapefruit. Fermentation and four months aging in French oak has contributed good structure. The wine has a crisp, dry finish. 91. 


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