Photo: Stoneboat's Lanny Martiniuk
Two new labels from Oliver’s Stoneboat
Vineyards brought to mind a rosé that New Zealand’s Kim Crawford Wines produces.
The wine Pansy! Rosé. The back
story is that the wine was initially targeted to the gay community.
The tale was recounted a few years ago by
a wine writer in the Marlborough Express newspaper:
Rose has quite a story behind its creation. It was initially created as a wine
for the gay community by Kim and Erica Crawford.
One evening a gay friend with an alter ego, drag show hostess
Onya Knees, asked why no-one made wine that specifically targeted gays. A few
weeks later Kim rang Erica to say he had come up with "something for the
boys" blended from Hawke's Bay merlot, malbec and cabernet franc. A few
days later the name "Pansy" came to Erica and a new wine was born.
When the wine was first launched in 2005, the parties were in
gay bars with all the glitz, glamour, feathers and theatricals that go with
Initially the wine's marketing targeted the gay community and it
embraced the wine.
It was launched in New Zealand and Australia - the Sydney gay
wine market was estimated to be worth $4.5 million a month, which is a huge
amount of money.
The gay market is seen as being quite brand loyal and spend a
lot of money on entertaining, so the wine was a bold and brilliant idea. The
early Pansy! Rose vintage had 4 grams of residual sugar so it was bone dry. Kim
then decided the sweetness needed to be increased for summer drinking and the
following vintage weighed in at 12 grams and tasted rather sweet.
Since those heady early days the wine has settled a little.
Emphasis on the gay target market has disappeared (in all but name) and the
wine boasts attractive Kim Crawford Reserve labelling.
The amount of residual sugar in the wine has decreased
to a more pleasing 7.9 grams and the wine's composition is now 63 per cent
merlot and 37 per cent malbec. The re-launch is timely, with rose wines gaining
in popularity and quality.
This wine meets its aims perfectly - it's all about easy
drinking and summer sipping. Lively and luscious, it really is lots of fun and
while it may not be a serious wine drinker's rose, it still managed to nail a
gold at the NZ International Wine Show in 2013. Not bad for a wine conceived
over a few drinks and a random observation.
immediately came to mind when two new wines were released last month by
Stoneboat: Stone’d Red and Stone’d White.
Martiniuk, I thought. He and his family at Stoneboat have come up with the perfect
for the stoners of British Columbia, the pot hotbed of Canada.
Then I read
the winery’s notes: “Our Stoneboat vineyard has stubbornly rocky terrain. By necessity,
we enlist the help of ‘Stoners’ to help clear the rockery. It’s a tough job and
by the end of the day one is, well, ‘stone’d’.”
is Lanny’s story and I suppose he will stick to it. But I think there is a
better than even chance these wines will be popular with the owners and patrons
of Vancouver’s pot dispensaries. And then, like Pansy!, they will appeal to a
wider audience, both on price and quality, even if the weird labels don’t have
quite the elegance of Kim Crawford.
Here are my
notes on the wines.
Stone’d White 2014 ($19). This tasted a lot like Stoneboat
Chorus, one of my favourite blends from the Okanagan. That is no accident: its
varietal composition is similar. This wine is a blend of 25% Pinot Blanc, 23% Müller-Thurgau,
22% Schönburger, 20% Kerner, 7% Pinot Gris and 3% Viognier. The wine begins
with an appealing aroma of spice and tropical fruits, leading to flavours of
melon, apple and Asian pear. There is an herbal touch on the crisp, refreshing
Stone’d Red 2013 ($19). This is 58% Pinotage, 42%
Pinot Noir, with 13 months in French and American oak barrels (10% of them
new). The aroma is a medley of vanilla and black cherry with a smoky note. On
the palate, it delivers flavours of black cherry, plum and strawberry with a note
of spice. The texture is big and juicy. This is an eminently quaffable wine.