Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Maverick releases Ella Brut Rose

Photo: Maverick's Bertus Albertyn 

This spring, Maverick Estate Winery has celebrated the release of its first sparkling wine by inviting consumers and wine club members to brunches at the winery.

What better meal for a sparkling wine than brunch? Unless it is breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, midnight snacks or coffee breaks.

Did I tell you I like sparking wine?

The wine is called Ella. It is named for one of the daughters of Bertus Albertyn, the winemaker and co-proprietor of Maverick, along with his father-in-law, Dr. Schalk De Witt, and their wives.

A 1976 medical graduate from Stellenbosch University, Schalk brought his family to Canada in 1990.  As he drove through the southern Okanagan on the way to a locum’s posting in Castlegar, the terrain appealed to him immediately. “Even the natural vegetation – the sagebrush and the antelope brush – reminded me of the drier areas of South Africa,” he says. Toward the end of a long career in general practice in Alberta, he began searching for vineyard property. In 2006 he purchased 19.4 hectares (48 acres) of raw land adjacent to the Osoyoos Larose vineyard near Osoyoos. Three years later, he purchased a former organic farm beside Highway 97.

The fortunate arrival of Bertus into the family, when he married Elzaan, the doctor’s daughter, set the development of this winery in motion.  Bertus has an enology degree from Stellenbosch University, South Africa’s leading wine school. He started at a large wine cooperative before joining family-owned Avondale Winery in 1994 as winemaker.  He came to the Okanagan early in 2009 when his wife, who had also become a doctor, began to practice in Osoyoos.

Bertus was the winemaker at Burrowing Owl from 2010 until mid-2013, when he left to concentrate on Maverick, where he had planted 7 ½ acres of vines in the highway-side vineyard in 2011. Maverick’s attractive wine shop opened in 2014. The larger parcel of land has been prepared for planting over several seasons. “When Bertus came into the picture, obviously, that was the way to go,” Schalk says. “There is more profit in making wine than in selling grapes.”

The winery has developed an amazingly broad portfolio, given that Bertus has just 7 ½ acres growing Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and a little Chardonnay.

“We have put the diversity of what we can grow in the Okanagan to the test, going from Port to Champagne on the same property!” Bertus says.

Here are notes on the wines.

Maverick Ella Brut Rose 2013 ($35 for 500 cases). The traditional method sparkling wine is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. The winery says the Pinot Noir brings lingering flavours and a delicate blush hue to the wine while the Chardonnay brings fruit and elegance. This certainly is an elegant wine, with a creamy and fresh texture and just the slightest hint of yeast mingled with the fruity flavours. 91.

Maverick Chardonnay 2014 ($26.50 for 150 cases). The only complaint with this wine is that not enough was made! It begins with refreshing aromas of citrus and lightly toasted oak. The tropical fruit flavours are intense: peach, mango, blood orange coat the palate, very subtly supported by oak. (The wine was fermented in new French oak -Nevers – and aged there six months before being transferred to stainless steel for four months). The hint of oak adds a note of spice on the buttery finish. 92.


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