Winemaker Bertus Albertyn
The best day for visiting Maverick Estate Winery’s tasting
room is Friday.
The reason: that is the only day when Ella, the winery’s
excellent new sparkling wine, is open for tasting.
There is an alternative if you arrive any other day. Just
buy a bottle and keep it for New Year’s Eve.
The tasting room, by the way, is just beside the highway
half way between Oliver and Osoyoos. An elegant and tastefully designed
facility, it opened last year, giving much needed access to the first rate
wines in the Maverick portfolio.
The winery is operated by winemaker Bertus Albertyn, his
physician father-in-law Dr. Schalk De Witt and their spouses. Bertus and Schalk
are both from South Africa
Bertus, born in 1978, earned his enology degree at Stellenbosch University
and worked at a large wine
cooperative before joining family-owned Avondale as winemaker. He came to the Okanagan early in 2009 when
Elzaan, his wife and Schalk’s daughter, began to practice medicine in Osoyoos.
He was Burrowing Owl Winery’s winemaker until mid-2013, when he left to
concentrate on Maverick.
Maverick’s 7 ½ acres vineyard had been planted in 2011. The
winery also owns 48 acres of raw land near the Osoyoos Larose vineyard.
Planting is scheduled to begin next year.
Meanwhile, Bertus and Schalk are getting the brand
established. “The most important thing about wine is that you have to sell it,”
Bertus seems to be covering all the bases with a portfolio
that begins with sparkling wine and ends with a port-style wine. Bertus says
that his model Champagne
which makes an excellent pink Champagne
This prestigious family-owned Champagne
is a great producer to aspire to.
Here are notes on current releases.
Maverick Ella 2013
Brut Rosé ($35). The winery has
produced about 6,000 bottles of this sparkling wine. It is 80% Pinot Noir and
20% Chardonnay. It presents itself beautifully in the glass, with a salmon pink
hue and fine, persistent bubbles. On the palate, the wine is toasty with light
notes of strawberry. The texture is creamy and the finish is dry. This is a
very elegant wine. 92.
Maverick Origin 2014 ($17).
This is a blend of Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc with a dash of Viognier.
The wine begins with aromas of spice and citrus leading to intense flavours of
spice and grapefruit, with good weight on the mid-palate. The finish is dry and
very long. 91.
Blanc 2014 ($19 for 500 cases). The wine begins with aromas of lime and
peach. These are echoed in the tropical fruit flavours. The wine also has an
herbal zest on the long finish. 92.
Maverick Pinot Gris
2014 ($19 for 550 cases). This variety, which Bertus regards as a fine
stand-in for the Chenin Blanc he once made in South Africa, was fermented with
natural yeast; a quarter was fermented in neutral oak barrels and the rest in
stainless steel. It begins with a bold aroma of ripe apple, citrus and melon
and goes on to deliver flavours of apple, melon and banana. It has good weight
and a dry finish. 92.
Maverick Rubeus 2013
($25 for 500 cases). This wine was formerly called Rubicon. The name was
changed in this vintage to avoid a trademark dispute with a South African
producer of a red also called Rubicon. The blend here is 35% Syrah, 25% Cabernet
Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot. After gentle foot stomping, the
grapes were co-fermented in 3,400 litre wooden vat, then aged in older oak for
18 months. The result is a generous wine that begins with aromas of blueberry
and black cherry. On the palate, there are flavours of black cherry and black
currant with hints of tobacco and white pepper. 93.
Maverick Syrah 2013 ($32 for 200 cases). These grapes were also
crushed by foot, fermented in a vat and then aged 18 months in older oak
barrels. This is a bold red, with the pepper on the nose and on the finish
framing flavours of black cherry, deli meats, black olive and tobacco. 91.