Photo: CedarCreek winemaker Taylor Whelan
CedarCreek Estate Winery justifiably trumpeted winning a major award at this
year’s Decanter International Wine Awards in London.
Here is the
winery’s news release:
Kelowna, British Columbia (June 17, 2016) - CedarCreek is proud to announce that their 2014
Platinum Block 3
Riesling was named Best Canadian White Wine over
15£ at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards in London. Rated 95
Points, the win follows last year’s Decanter World Wine
Award for their 2012 Platinum Block 2 Pinot Noir as Best Canadian Red Wine over 15£.
2 and Block 3 are located in the
steep-sloped, CedarCreek Home Block Vineyard, where the aspect of the land
creates even higher light intensity than is usual in the Okanagan Valley, an
intensity only found in Central Otago, New Zealand.
3 Riesling is the oldest block planted at CedarCreek and dates to
1991. The soil beneath the vines is composed of sandy loam with a clay base.
Because of the age of the vines, the roots have now reached the clay layer from
which they are able to extract moisture. As such, the vines receive little to
no additional water during the growing season which is unusual in the dry, arid
Okanagan Valley and only intensifies the site-specific nature of the wine.
“It took us 21 years to make a single block Riesling at CedarCreek,” said
winemaker Taylor Whelan. “It took that long for the grapes to start to express
what we really felt was the characteristic of our land, and that is the
philosophy behind our single block Platinum tier of wines. If they don’t meet
that level, we can still make an excellent Riesling, but it’s not to a Platinum
The win is further reinforcement of CedarCreek’s decision to lead the way in
the Okanagan toward more and more block-specific wines. “We’re really invested
in a deep understanding of what our land is capable of in nuanced ways,” says
Whelan. “As our vines continue to mature, most date to the 90s, and their roots
reach deeper, we’re starting to see characteristics that are distinctly and
unmistakably CedarCreek. We’re also blessed by an exceptional viticulture team,
some of whom planted these vines and continue to nurture them. We’re starting
to see the real aspects of both people and place in our wines.”
has been at CedarCreek, since 2012, became the head winemaker this summer, succeeding
Darryl Brooker, now the chief winemaker at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery.
(Mission Hill and CedarCreek are both owned by Mission Hill proprietor Anthony
Taylor was born in 1985 in Campbell
River. With a biology degree from the University of Victoria, he set out to be
a marine biologist until he discovered that this career was not about “swimming
with whales, but in real life, sitting in front of a computer, running
Looking for a career he was more
passionate about, he studied winemaking at Brock University and got a job in
2009 at Hillebrand winery, a Niagara on the Lake winery with a major sparkling
wine program. His boss was Darryl Brooker, who moved to CedarCreek in 2010. Taylor
followed Darryl to CedarCreek in 2012 after acquiring additional winemaking
experience in New Zealand and Australia. Taylor is interested specifically in
cool climate grape varieties and in sparkling wine.
The current releases from CedarCreek all
have Taylor’s fingerprints on them. Here are my notes:
CedarCreek Riesling 2014 ($15.29 for 2,200 cases). The wine
begins with aromas of petrol and grapefruit. These are echoed in the palate,
along with notes of lime wrapped around a spine of minerality. The finish is
persistent. It is worth noting that this wine is the little brother of the 2014
Platinum Block Riesling. 91.
CedarCreek Chardonnay 2014 ($16.99 for 2,260 cases). The wine
begins with aromas of toasty oak mingled with pineapple. A long, slow and cool
fermentation preserved the luscious fruit flavours (citrus, tangerine), lightly
framed with oak and minerality. 90.
CedarCreek Platinum Block 5
Chardonnay 2014 ($27.99
for 578 cases). This wine was fermented 30 days in a combination of French oak
barrels, puncheons and concrete; and was aged oi the lees 10 months in concrete
and 500 litre puncheons. The aroma begins with a bready note and then opens to
display citrus. On the palate, there are complex and rich flavours of apple,
pear and lemon. Bright acidity gives the wine a tangy finish and ability to
CedarCreek Pinot Noir Rosé 2015 ($19.99 for 510 cases). The wine
begins with an appealing rose petal hue. The aroma is intense – cherries,
raspberries – and lead to flavours of strawberry. The finish is balanced to
CedarCreek Pinot Noir 2013 ($22.99 for 2,810 cases). The wine,
fermented 24 days in stainless steel and aged 13 months in French oak, begins
with aromas of cherry and the complexity of what is sometimes called forest
floor. It goes on to deliver spicy flavours of cherry and mocha, along with a
silky texture. 90.
CedarCreek Meritage 2013 ($20.99 for 1,600 cases). This is a
blend of 36% Malbec, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc.
It has been aged 22 months in French oak. The winery’s notes describe Malbec as
the variety that “makes everyone around them better.” It is an apt term for one
of the most useful varieties in the vineyard. Here, it provides a dark colour
and dramatic aromas of violets, spicy dark fruit and blueberries that are
echoed on the palate. The texture is rich. The flavours draw spice both from
the fruit and from the very good oak. 92.