Moon Curser Vineyards of Osoyoos, after making its
reputation by championing varieties almost no one else grows, is now making a
big bet on Cabernet Sauvignon, a mainstream variety if ever there is one.
During the past seven years, Moon Curser has planted two
blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon, totalling just over five acres. Chris T0lley, who
owns the winery with his wife Beata, notes that this is a quarter of Moon
Curser’s total vineyards, all of which are in sun-drenched Osoyoos.
is not a variety you should plant elsewhere,” he believes.
Curser’s first estate Cabernet Sauvignon was made in 2014 and is now in bottle. (The winery has released Cabernet Sauvignon in earlier vintages.) It is not yet released. Chris expects to release it in 2017 or 2018, depending
on its development in bottle.
tasted the wine this spring, however. It is already a promising wine. Moon
Curser fans should keep an eye out for the release.
does not mean that Chris and Beata are dropping the “off-beat” varieties
already in their portfolio. These include:
This lovely Italian white joined the Moon Curser range in the 2013 vintage.
Moon Curser is believed to have been the first winery in Canada to grow Arneis
and now has a 1 ½ -acre block.
Moon Curser is just releasing its first Dolcetto this year, from its one-acre
block. The other Okanagan producer with this Italian red is Stag’s Hollow
Winery, which also released the varietal this year. According to Chris, whose
father is from Italy, the grape’s name means “little sweet one,” an allusion to
the wine’s soft, juicy character.
This is a big tannic red grape found in the French wine region of Madiran and
in Uruguay. Moon Curser may also have Canada’s only Tannat vines.
, the major Port variety in Portugal. A few years ago, Chris took over
a block of that variety from another Osoyoos vineyard and released a red wine.
He is now thinking of make a barrel or two of Port.
the late ripening Bordeaux grape that was saved from extinction in Chile. Black Hills Winery planted the first
Carménère about a dozen years ago. A handful of other wineries in the south
Okanagan, including Moon Curser, subsequently planted the variety and have a
clientele for this dense, peppery red.
This is a major variety in Spain and has been planted by a number of B.C.
wineries, including Moon Curser.
varieties in the Moon Curser portfolio include the Rhone whites and Rhone reds,
Malbec and Petit Verdot, all of which are grown in numerous other vineyards.
is moving aside at Moon Curser? Merlot, for one. This is the most widely
planted red in the Okanagan. As a result, it is hard for a small winery to
attract notice with this ubiquitous varietal.
are moving away from Merlot,” Chris says. “It softens everything up nicely and
the consumer likes it. But Malbec is a softer aromatic variety that I will
trade for the Merlot.”
are notes on Moon Curser’s wines. I tasted many in the spring, several of which
have been succeeded by the current vintage. I will try to update this blog when
I can; but notes of sold-out wines give some indication of Moon Curser’s
Moon Curser Arneis 2015
for 343 cases). The wine begins with a lovely aroma of melons and pineapples
delicately accented with spice. On the palate, it delivers luscious flavours of
peach, apple and pear. The texture is full and the finish is long. 92.
Moon Curser Afraid of the
($21.90 for 464 cases). This is complex wine 43% Viognier, 40% Roussanne and
17% Marsanne. This wine begins with very
appealing aromas: honeyed melon and nectarine with vanilla. Richly textured but
dry, the wine delivers flavours of apricot, guava, and mango, with a hint of
honey and vanilla on the finish. 92
Moon Curser Dolcetto 2015
($26.90). This is an unoaked
red which suits the soft and juicy texture. The wine has luscious aromas and
flavours of cherries, finishing with a fruit sweetness at the end. Of course,
it is a dry wine. 90.
Moon Curser Tannat 2012
($42.90 for 171 cases). This
is a full-bodied red with power and with age-ability. It begins with aromas of
dark fruit and spice, leading to flavours of figs, plums and dark chocolate.
Moon Curser Syrah 2013
($26.90 for 1,059 cases). This
is described by the winery as medium-bodied but I thought the texture was
generous. It has aromas and flavours of plum and fig with a hint of oak. 91.
Moon Curser Syrah 2012
for 444 cases). This is definitely full-bodied. A portion of the wine is made
with grapes from a premium Syrah block and a portion is from juice that has
been concentrated by bleeding off some for rosé. The wine has been aged in
French oak (30% new). This has the classic deli counter spice aromas and gamy,
earthy flavours of the variety, along with flavours of black cherries and black
olives. Black pepper punctuates the finish. 91.
Moon Curser Malbec 2013
This is also a full, fleshy wine with aromas and flavours of blueberries,
blackberries and currants. There is spice on the finish. 91.
Moon Curser Tempranillo 2014
Still firmly structured, this wine should be cellared a few more years. The
wine has plum, black currant and other dark fruits on the nose and palate. The
finish lasts and lasts. 90-92.
Moon Curser Carménère 2013
Dark in colour with spice ar0mas, including fennel and pepper. The
palate delivers flavours of black currants, espresso and dark chocolate. 91.
Moon Curser Petit Verdot 2013
for 246 cases). As always, the wine presents in the glass with a black as night
colour. Everything else is intense as well, from aromas of violets and dark
fruits to flavours of figs, black cherries, dark chocolate, licorice and a note
of graphite on the finish. 91.
Moon Curser Border Vines 2013
1,710 cases). This is 32% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Malbec, 18% Petit
Verdot and 4% Carménère. The wine begins with aromas of black cherries and
black berries. These are echoed on the palate, along with flavours of
blueberries and spicy cedar, reflecting the French oak in which the wine was
Moon Curser Dead of Night
This is Moon Curser’s flagship red, a inspired blend of more or less equal
parts Tannat and Syrah. The latter adds flesh to the military backbone of
Tannat. Bold and richly texture, the wine frames its plum, blueberry and spice
with a backbone of oak and minerality. 94.
Moon Curser Cabernet
released). This is a big, ripe Cabernet Sauvignon with long and firm tannins at
this stage in its development. There are aromas and flavour of black currants,
with layers of flavour to develop in bottle. 92-94.