Saturday, June 8, 2019

Sea Star’s 2018 vintage: another triumph










Photo: Sea Star's David Goudge

Sea Star Vineyards recently made it onto a website as one of nine wineries to visit before one dies.

I am sure that was meant as a compliment but some might also find it morbid. I have a more positive recommendation: this is a winery to visit if you happen to be a Tesla owner. Sea Star is among a handful of British Columbia wineries that have installed charging stations for the world’s sexiest electric car.

The good news is that you need not be a well-heeled Tesla owner to buy the wines. Given the quality of the wines, the prices are reasonable.

Located on Pender Island, Sea Star Vineyards opened in 2014 two years after David Goudge purchased the assets of Morning Bay Vineyard & Estate Winery, which was struggling at the time. The turnaround by David and his winemaker, Ian Baker, was so successful that Sea Star soon was scrambling to find enough grapes to meet the demand for its wine.

Two years ago, David bought the assets of Saturna Island Vineyards. The 38-acre vineyard there had been neglected for several years. However, patient viticulture has begun to rejuvenate it. It is already a source of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and a little bit of Chardonnay. The latter is blended for the first time into Sea Star’s flagship white blend, Stella Maris.

Here are notes on the 2018 vintage.

Sea Star Salish Sea 2018 ($24). This is a blend of Ortega and Siegerrebe grapes. It begins with an appealing fragrance of citrus mingled with herbal notes. On the palate, there are flavours of melon, peach and grapefruit. Bright acidity gives the wine a crisp, tangy finish. 91.

Sea Star Siegerrebe 2018 ($24). This is a superb wine from an aromatic varietal well suited to coastal vineyards. It begins with aromas of lime and grapefruit. With moderate alcohol (11.9%) and racy acidity, the wine dances on the palate with flavours of grapefruit mingled with peach and apple. It is crisp and dry on the finish. 93.

Sea Star Ortega 2018 ($24). This grape is a cross of Müller-Thurgau and Siegerrebe. The body of the wine reflects the former varietal while the engaging aromatics are from Siegerrebe. The wine has aromas and flavours of lime, melon, grapefruit and Granny Smith apples. The wine has a crisp finish. 92.

Sea Star Stella Maris 2018 ($25). This is a five-grape blend: Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Schönburger, Ortega and Chardonnay. It has aromas of citrus, cantaloupe and spice. There are layers and layers of fruit on the palate: citrus, melon, peach and apple. The finish is crisp and the flavours linger on the palate. 93.

Sea Star Blanc de Noir 2018 ($25). This rosé is made with Pinot grapes. The pink hue is delicate but appealing in the glass. The wine has aromas and flavours of strawberry and apple. The finish is crisp and refreshing. 91.

Sea Star Maréchal Foch 2018 ($26). This is available only at the Sea Star tasting room. This grape has dark flesh; the wine was made without skin contact and still has lots of color. It has aromas of cherry and red licorice which are echoed on the palate. Somewhat reminiscent of a Beaujolais Nouveau, this wine is best when slightly chilled. 88.

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