Saturday, December 17, 2011

Young & Wyse Collection releases 2010 reds

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Photo: Stephen Wyse

The two red wines just released by Young & Wyse Collection proprietor Stephen Wyse are among the first 2010 reds in the market. They are a sign of good things to come from that vintage.

Much like 2011, the 2010 vintage started late, suffered cool growing conditions for much of the spring and summer and then was saved by a long, warm and dry autumn. To quote this winery: “An October heat wave rounded the vintage out beautifully and brought everything together for a fantastic harvest.”

Those growers that reduced the crop load early, so that the remaining grapes ripened, made surprisingly good wines. Judging from the taste of the Merlot and the Cabernet Sauvignon from Young & Wyse, there was impeccable viticulture in the winery’s 10-acre Osoyoos vineyard and in that of its growers.

This boutique winery, a stone’s throw from the Osoyoos border crossing, was opened two years ago by Michelle Young and her partner, Stephen Wyse.

His surname is familiar in British Columbia wine circles. Jim Wyse, his father, started the Burrowing Owl Winery; Stephen’s brother, Chris, and his sister, Kerri, now handle much of the management at Burrowing Owl.

Stephen, who once trained as an airline pilot, got into wine as part of the construction crew that built Burrowing Owl. Then he spent a number of years in the cellar there, including three as winemaker, before he and Michelle decided to strike out on their own.

Very quickly, they have reached a production of about 4,000 cases a year, supported by contracts with several Osoyoos growers and by rising production from their young vines. The Young & Wyse vineyard grows Gew├╝rztraminer, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, with just a little Malbec. (Frost damage a few years ago decimated Stephen’s Malbec, sadly.)

The winery has the volume to make its wines available widely in VQA and other wines stores, as well as in restaurants, and at reasonable price points.

Here are notes on the two current releases.

Young & Wyse Collection Merlot 2010 ($19.90 for a production of 1,400 cases). The wine still has the firmness one expects of a young wine; decant it if you don’t have the patience to cellar it. The wine begins with spice and berry aromas (raspberry, blueberry, cherry). On the palate, the wine has good concentration with flavours of plum and black currant, with a long finish. 89.

Young & Wyse Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 ($26.90 for a production of 1,848 cases). This is a late-ripening variety but the grapes were fully ripe when picked at the very end of October and into the first few days of November, yielding a wine with 13.3% alcohol. The aromas begin with an intriguing note of spearmint (to the expected in an Okanagan Cabernet), along with nutmeg and red fruit. On the palate, there are flavours of black currant, blueberry and blackberry. The texture is concentrated with ripe tannins. Even though the wine is drinking well, it will definitely reward anyone who cellars it for about five years. 90

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