Photo: Seven Directions winemaker Daniel Bontorin
It would 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
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. His flagship rosé
is made from 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, the winery writes:
“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 and
volcanic matter from a 70-million-year-old dormant volcano. [The vines are]
naturally yielding a mere 2.15 tons per acre …”
The two additional rosés from 2015 are made with Pinot Noir
and Cabernet Franc, from two different vineyards.
One is from the renowned Canyonview vineyard in Summerland.
The vineyard is owned by Krimo Souilah, an Algerian-born former winemaker in
California. He discovered the property beside Trout Creek while selling barrels
to B.C. wineries here. Plans to develop his own winery did not materialize but
he has sold the grapes to a number of producers (Okanagan Crush Pad won a
Lieutenant Governor’s Award with a Pinot Noir from this vineyard.)
This vineyard, which is not organic but is farmed
sustainably, has 11-year-old vines (a German clone and several French clones)
growing on soil that is decomposed granite, sand and gravel. The production in
2015 was four tons an acre.
The other is made with grapes from the Fruitvale Ridge
Vineyard on Osoyoos. These are from seven-year-old vines on rocky soil.
Production in 2015 was 2.12 tons an 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 are notes on the wines. The prices do not include tax.
Seven Directions Fruitvale
Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Franc Rosé 2015
($14.69 for 260 cases). This wine is a surprise on the palate. The
delicate rose petal hue leads one to expect a very light wine. On the contrary,
there is good weight. It begins with delicate strawberry and cranberry aromas,
leading to flavours of wild strawberry with a hint of peach. The finish is dry –
just like a Provence rosé. 90.
Canyonview Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé 2015
($21.65). The wine presents with a
deep salmon pink hue. It has aromas of strawberries and savoury flavours of
strawberry and cherry. The finish is crisply dry. 91.
Seven Directions Kalala
Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé 2015
($24.29 for 105 cases). This wine, which is
vibrant in appearance, has had four months in French oak to build texture and
complexity. It begins with aromas of strawberries mingled with spicy notes from
the oak. On the palate, there are layers of strawberry and cherry flavours. The
finish, which lingers, is dry. 91.