Thursday, December 19, 2013

Adega on 45th and friends: a medley of wine reviews

Photo: Adega on 45th owners Alex Nunes and Fred Farinha

What follows are notes on wines reviewed in recent months. Finishing a book and other activities interfered with reporting on them promptly.

However, most of the wines are readily available, either in wine stores or directly from the wineries. The reality is that B.C. wines are not selling out as quickly as they have in the past. The reason: there is so much more choice.

The owner of a major winery told me recently that he believes that the current surplus of B.C. wines amounts to a year's supply of VQA wines. That might be extreme but there is something to that. Just look at the price reductions this fall from some producers of VQA wine.

It may not be the best of times to be a wine producer but it is not a bad time to be a consumer.

Here are wine notes. 

Adega on 45th Viognier 2012 ($20). The wine begins with fruity aromas of pineapple and apricot. On the palate, there are flavours of peach, apricot and guava. The finish is crisp and dry. 89.

Blasted Church Gewürztraminer 2012 ($17.50 for 1,738 cases). This is a serious Alsace-style Gewürztraminer (to distinguish it from the off-dry aperitif versions). It has that almost oily texture I associated with Alsace, with aromas and flavours of citrus, lychee and anise. The finish is dry. Consider this with turkey.  88

Blasted Church Hatfield’s Fuse 2012 ($18.50 for 9,000 cases). The production volume suggests this has become the winery’s flagship white. The 2012 is a nine-grape blend, with the blend based on aromatic varietals. Consequently, the fruity, floral and spicy aromas jump from the glass. The palate is a fruit salad that includes tangerine, grapefruit, lychee and pineapple. The texture is juicy and the finish lingers. 90.

Blasted Church Mixed Blessings 2012 ($18.50 for 607 cases). This is something of a clone of Hatfield’s Fuse, with four aromatic varietals in the blend and a touch more residual sweetness. Aimed primarily for sales to restaurants, the wine is sold out. It is a fleshy and juicy white with aromas of peach and tropical fruits which are echoed on the palate. 89.

Blasted Church Pinot Gris 2012 ($20.50 for 4,000 cases). This is a wine with focussed purity of fruit aromas and flavours – citrus, apple and pear. The wine has good weight and a long finish. 90.

Blasted Church OMG 2011 ($27 for 1,000 cases). This label means Oh My God … and that kind of was my reaction on tasting this delightful sparkling wine. The cuvee is 45% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Blanc. In the flute, the wine puts on a terrific display of fine bubbles. It begins with clean aromas of apples. On the palate, there are fruity apple flavours with a toasty note from the lees. The wine is crisp; the bubbles give a creamy texture. 91.

Blasted Church Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($19.50 for 642 cases). This wine begins with aromas that are both herbal and herbaceous and continues to deliver flavours of grapefruit and grapefruit rind. The bright acidity gives the wine a crisply dry finish. 89.

EauVivre Riesling 2012 ($20). The wine begins with aromas of fresh apples, continuing to flavours of lime and lemon. There is a good backbone of minerals and brisk acidity balanced by a touch of residual sugar. 89.

EauVivre Cabernet Franc 2011 ($22). This is a classically brambly varietal, with aromas and flavours of raspberry and cherry. The wine has a personality of rustic vivacity. 88.

Gray Monk Pinot Auxerrois 2012 ($16.99 for 5,600 cases). This is an excellent white varietal but, strangely, championed only by a few producers. It would be hard to find a better champion than Gray Monk. This is such a delicious and refreshing white, with aromas and flavours of melon, apple and apricot. The alcohol is only 11.7%. It was pretty easy for two of us to finish the bottle and look around for more. 90.

Gray Monk Pinot Blanc 2012 ($15.99 for 2,852 cases). This wine begins with aromas of apples and grapefruit. On the palate, there are flavours of apples, melons and grapefruit. There is a hint of residual sweetness on the fruity finish. 88.

Gray Monk Riesling 2011 ($14.99 for 3,895 cases). Here is a superbly balanced Riesling, with nine grams per litre of acidity and 22.9 grams of residual sugar. As a result, the wine seems less sweet than it actually is and it projects aromas and flavours of citrus and peach, with the tiniest hint of petrol adding complexity. The acidity leaves the wine tangy and refreshed. 90.

Gray Monk Unwooded Chardonnay 2012 ($16.99 for 4,882 cases). This is a delightful wine, beginning with aromas of peach and citrus leading to flavours of peach, pear and apple. The texture is full and the finish is clean and refreshing. 90

Nagging Doubt Chardonnay 2012 ($19.50 for 150 cases). Nagging Doubt is still a virtual winery selling through its website. It is establishing its own winery in East Kelowna. This was just released. I got a bottle from Andrew Meyer and Terry Meyer-Stone who grew the grapes on their Anarchist Mountain vineyard. This is a powerful Chardonnay, with 15.3% alcohol but with such rich and intense fruit that there is no heat to speak of on the palate. It begins with aromas of citrus and butter and a toasty note from subtle oak. On the palate, there are flavours of tangerine and stone fruit. 91.

Nk’Mip Cellars Winemaker’s Riesling 2012 ($17.99). Here is a classically disciplined Riesling, with a slight touch of petrol and citrus on the nose and with concentrated flavours of  lemon and lime wrapped around a backbone of minerals and bright acidity. The finish is crisp and dry. 90.

Nk’Mip Cellars Winemaker’s Pinot Noir 2012 ($21.99). This is a light-bodied quaffer with cherry flavours and with a silken finish, but not much length. 87.

Nk’Mip Cellars Talon 2011 ($22.99). This is a blend of  33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32.4% Syrah, 17% Merlot, 10.7% Cabernet Franc, 6.3% Malbec and 0.5% Pinot Noir. It is designed to be an early-drinking red with the sophistication that comes from blending and aging for 18 months on barrel. The wine begins with aromas of vanilla and black cherry, leading to flavours of plum, chocolate and spice on the finish. 89.
Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Syrah 2009 ($34.99). A bold, ripe and satisfying wine, this begins with aromas of vanilla, white pepper, black cherry. On the palate, there are flavours of black cherry, plum and pepper. The soft ripe tannins give this a generous, mouth-filling texture. 91.

See Ya Later Ranch Belle 2011 ($19.09). This is one of the SYL wines name for one of the dogs that belonged to a former owner of the property. The wine, a blend of 85% Viognier and 15% Pinot Gris, is anything but a dog. It is crisp and refreshing, with aromas and flavours of apricot and apples, with a touch of citrus on the lingering finish. 88

Synchromesh Riesling 2012 Thorny Vines Vineyard ($18.90). The vineyard is on the Naramata Bench, where a few other wineries have a track record for good Riesling. This wine begins with a hint of petrol and grapefruit on the nose. The favours explode on the palate – lime and grapefruit, popped by a generous amount of residual sugar very nicely balanced with acidity. Close your eyes and you think you are in a good German wine region. 90.

Synchromesh Riesling 2012 Storm Haven Vineyard ($31.90). This is the Okanagan Falls vineyard beside the winery – a rocky terroir that screams Riesling. I won’t even try to top the winery’s own notes: “Ripe crab apple, pineapple, mango meat, coconut, banana, lemon and apple sauce are all prevalent.  In the mouth the wine shows the same, adding Asian and anjou pear, honey, sweet apple blossom, lime, rose petal, lemon curd and banana.  The finish is an endless balance of honeyed sweetness teetering on a broad range of acids and stoney minerality.” Suffice it to say, I also think this is a very fine wine. 92.

Synchromesh Pinot Noir 2011 Palo Solara Vineyards ($24.90). Still youthful in personality, this wine should be cellared for a year or two; or at least decanted if impatient. It has spicy aromas of cherry and raspberry which are echoed on the palate. The bright acidity gives this wine a tangy leanness. It has the promise of fleshing out with some age while retaining its lively vivacity. 88-90.

TNT Chardonnay 2012 ($22.90 for 150 cases). This is the latest release from Okanagan Crush Pad of a wine made under the hand of sommelier of the year. The sommelier involved here was Terry Threlfall, the 2012 Sommelier of the Year. The name of the wine is taken from his initials. This wine was fermented in one of the concrete eggs that OCP uses and which seem to add texture to the wine. The wine has aromas of apples and citrus leading to flavours of of citrus, apple and apricot. The bright acidity and the minerality give the wine a nicely defined backbone. 90.

Unconventional Wisdom “I Told You So” Viognier 2012 by Elephant Island ($22.99). Better known for its fruit wines, Elephant Island added a red and a white grape wine in 2010. In my mind, it established itself as one of the Okanagan’s premier Viognier producers. Fruity and floral on the nose, this wine has flavours of peach and tangerine. As the wine warms up, the fruit flavours add a honeyed note, with a touch of sweetness on the finish. 90.


Ed S. said...

Was there a score for the
Blasted Church Gewürztraminer 2012?

JohnSchreiner at Goodgrog said...

It was scored 88. I guess I overlooked it. Thanks for asking. It is added now.