Monday, July 10, 2017

Lunessence wines continue to hit the right notes

Photo: Michal Mosny, the maestro at Lunessence

Michal Mosny, the general manager and winemaker at Lunessence Winery & Vineyard in Summerland, plays classical music in the vineyard, in the cellars and in the tasting room. The vines are treated to Bach and Mozart. The red wines get Puccini operas while the whites get Verdi operas.

Michal, who was born in Slovakia in 1982, lives and breathes classical music. “In Slovakia, I had a small garage winery next to a village where Beethoven used to go,” Michal says. “He wrote Für Elise there.”

In 2011, Michal and his wife, Martina, emigrated to the Okanagan. He set up a vineyard management company; that led to him being recruited in 2014 to manage Lunessence and its six-and-a-half-acre vineyard. The property formerly was the Sonoran Estate Winery until it was purchased and rebranded by Zhizhong Si, a China-born environmental consultant who was educated in Canada. He is now based in Vancouver.

Since 2014, the tasting room has been renovated and a new production facility has been built elsewhere on the property. And, of course, speakers have been deployed in some parts of the vineyard.

“There are a lot of studies about how music impacts the plants,” Michal says. “I did a lot of research about it. I think there is something. I can see something in the wines, that they have a different integrity. I think they are happier. With classical music, every single instrument produces some emotions.”

He continues: “When we ferment white wines, usually it is opera we are listening to, to bring some stories into the wines. White wines are usually fermented to Giuseppe Verdi. When the reds come into the cellar, we switch to Puccini. It is fun when you are listening to Puccini and there is some tragedy and you are doing punch downs …”

Michal will concede that it is difficult to prove that wine benefits from good music. But there is no harm in it. Besides, he loves classical music. Those who share his taste will agree that the Lunessence tasting room is one of the most listenable in the Okanagan.

Previous vintages at Lunessence have been excellent. However, the recent releases are even more in harmony than before.

Here are notes on current Lunessence wines. Winemaker’s Cut refers two special selections from the vineyards – or as Michal says, “a moment in time captured.”

Lunessence Muscat 2016 ($20 for 88 cases). The lovely wine begins with aromas of rose petals and spice, leading to flavours of peach, mandarin orange and spice. A touch of residual sweetness accents both the aromas and the flavours. 91.

Lunessence Sauvignon Blanc Muscat 2016 ($22 for 660 cases). This blend also includes small amounts of Viognier, Chardonnay and Sémillon. The wine has aromas of apricots. On the palate, there are flavours of apricot, citrus, ripe apple and pink grapefruit. The body is light but the texture is juicy and refreshing. 90.

Lunessence Sauvignon Blanc Winemaker’s Cut 2016 ($24 for 270 cases). The wine begins with aromas of herbs and citrus. On the palate, there are flavours of citrus supported by subtle oak notes (20% of this wine was aged five months in Slavonian oak). The finish is dry. 89.

Lunessence Pinot Blanc Oraniensteiner 2016 ($22 for 270 cases). The wine begins with aromas of melon and green apple, which are echoes in the flavours. A touch of residual, nicely balanced with acidity, give wine a rich texture. The spine of minerality creates the impression of a dry, spicy finish. 90.

Lunessence Quartet 2016 ($18 for 550 cases). This is a blend of Viognier, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Orange Muscat. The wine was fermented in stainless steel, partially with wild yeast, and had some time on lees. Consequently, a delicate bready note mingles with the fruit aromas. On the palate, there are flavours of ripe pineapple. A hint of residual sweetness gives the wine a rich finish. 91.

Lunessence Duet 2016 ($20 for 400 cases). This fruit-forward red is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Syrah. It was fermented 80% in stainless steel and 20% in American oak. The wine has aromas of red berries with a hint of cedar. On the palate, there are flavours of cherry with a touch of black pepper. The soft ripe tannins give this wine a juicy and approachable texture. 90.

Lunessence Essence 2015 Special Late Harvest ($26 for 173 cases of 375 ml bottles). This is a blend of Pinot Blanc, Oraniensteiner and Gewürztraminer. The aromas and flavours are ripe and exotic – hints of honey and orange marmalade with a spicy accept. The texture is fleshy. The lingering finish is sweet and well-balanced. 91.

Lunessence Merlot 2015 ($30 for 330 cases). A bold, dark wine with 15% alcohol – reflecting a warm vintage – this begins with powerful aromas of black cherry, plum, cassis and vanilla. It is a powerful wine with concentrated flavours of black cherry mingled with dark chocolate, vanilla and leather. It is a wine that will command the table. 92.

Lunessence Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($30 for 330 cases). This dark wine begins with aromas of cassis, leather and vanilla. The palate is rich with flavours of dark fruit mingled with vanilla. The long ripe tannins contribute to a generous texture, but with the structure to age well and develop further complexity. 91.

Lunessence Winemaker’s Cut Syrah 2015 ($32 for 150 cases). The heavy bottle announces a bold Syrah, a wine that begins with intense aromas of fig, plum, black cherry and vanilla. The flavours follow through with dark fruit, leather and pepper. This is an example of why the Okanagan is getting a reputation for powerful Syrahs. 92.

Lunessence Crescendo MMXV 2015 ($30 for 550 cases.) This is the winery’s initial Bordeaux red – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The wine was aged six months in French and Slavonian oak and six months in stainless steel. The wine begins with aromas 0f cherry, red currant, vanilla and mocha. On the palate, there are layers of flavour beginning with black currant, black cherry and blackberry. The texture is rich. The finish has notes of spicy red and black fruits mingled with hints of cedar. 91.


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