Sunday, July 2, 2017

Seven Directions 2016 rosés: pale but tasty

Photo: Winemaker Daniel Bontorin

Pale rosé wines have become highly fashionable.

It seems that many producers in British Columbia have decided to take a cue from the rosés of Provence. One of these producers is Daniel Bontorin, winemaker and co-proprietor of Seven Directions Wine.

Daniel is also the winemaker for Volcanic Hills Estate Winery in West Kelowna. However, Seven Directions is his own label. Under that label, he producers just rosés.

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, almost certainly 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.

One of the first wines Daniel made at Volcanic Hills in 2010 was a Gamay Noir Rosé. It went on to win a Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence.

So I would never doubt his rosé-making chops. But I wish he had not quite succumbed to the Provence fashion. I prefer more colour in rosé, even if that puts me at odds with a lot of sommeliers and more than a few other wine writers. I like my pink wines to put on a bit of a show in the glass.

Happily, pale does not mean flavourless. Once I get to taste these wines, I can deal with my bias while I wait for the world to return to equilibrium on the appearance of  rosé.

Here are notes of two of Daniel’s recent releases.

Seven Directions Pinot Noir Rosé 2016 Tractor & Vines Vineyard ($22.90 for 205 cases).  The grapes for this wine are from a Summerland vineyard. The winery describes this as having a “pale grapefruit hue” and cautions the consumer should not be fooled. There is lots going on in the nose and the palate. The wine begins with aromas of strawberry and raspberry. There are red berry flavours with a hint of fruit sweetness and a juicy texture. 91.

Seven Directions Cabernet Franc Rosé 2016 Fruitvale Ridge Vineyard ($16.90 for 300 cases). The grapes for this wine are from eight-year-old vines in an Osoyoos vineyard. The winery describes the colour as “pale coral.” The aromas of the delicate wine suggest strawberry, raspberry and tangerine which are echoed in the flavours. The flavours are surprising robust for such a delicate wine. The finish is dry. 90.


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