Monday, May 31, 2021

Meyer Tribute Chardonnay honors Dr. Bonnie Henry

Photo: Dr. Bonnie Henry
Meyer Family Vineyards has released its 13th Tribute Chardonnay. The release in 2021 honors Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial medical health officer in British Columbia. The tribute tradition began with a Chardonnay from the 2006 vintage. The choice of honorees has been eclectic, ranging from athletes to cultural icons. Dr. Henry is the first public health figure. She was the overwhelming choice when Meyer issued a call for nominations last year. Meyer contributes $5,000 to be given to a charity or a scholarship of the honoree’s choice. Dr. Henry has directed her award to the Food Banks of British Columbia.
Dr. Henry was named B.C. public health office in 2018, after four years as the deputy in that post. She has been directing the British Columbia strategy to fight the pandemic for the past year and a half. Her press conferences to lay out the policies have given her high visibility and, in most communities, a high degree of respect.
According to her biography on Wikipedia, she was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and grew up on Prince Edward Island. She has a science degree from Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB, and a medical degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax. She joined the Royal Canadian Navy while still in medical school. Her career as a naval doctor included 10 years at Esquimalt in Victoria. That was followed by a wide range of public health appointments in Canada and overseas. On reading the biography, it seems like her entire career was preparing her for the challenge of helping a province overcome the pandemic.
Here are notes on the Tribute wine and other releases from Meyer and associated Mayhem Wines.
Meyer Tribute Series Chardonnay 2019 – Dr. Bonnie Henry ($30.52 for 640 cases). This wine aged 11 months in French oak (22% new). The fruit is from the winery’s Old Main Road Vineyard near Naramata. In the glass, it presents with an appealing golden hue and with aromas of mandarin orange mingled with butter and oak. The flavours richly echo the aromas. This is an elegant wine with a lingering finish. 93.
Meyer Chardonnay 2019 McLean Creek Vineyard ($30.50 for 500 cases). This wine spent 11 months in French oak (22% new). The wine has an appealing core of peach and mandarin and lemon framed with very restrained oak notes. The finish is very long. 91.
Meyer Micro Cuvée Chardonnay 2019 McLean Creek Vineyard ($56.61 for 150 cases). This wine was aged in French oak (33% new) for 11 months and had 100% malolactic fermentation. The wine is rich and buttery, with aromas and flavours of mandarin orange and nectarine. The finish just will not quit, revealing complex fruit flavours and cloves. An exceptional wine. 95.
Meyer Gewürztraminer 2020 McLean Creek Vineyard ($16.61 for 166 cases). This is an intense Alsace-style Gewürztraminer. The vines were planted in 1994 and were cropped at just 1.5 tonnes an acre. The wine is rich and spicy with flavours of orange and papaya. The dry finish is persistent. 91.
Meyer Chardonnay 2020 ($19.22 for 1,000 cases). This fruit forward Chardonnay was aged 80% in stainless steel and 20% in neutral oak for just four months. It begins with aromas of stone fruit and citrus. The palate delivers flavours of nectarine and apple. The long fruity finish is refreshing. 88.
Meyer Rosé 2020 ($20.09 for 200 cases). The wine is 100% Pinot Noir. The 12 hours of skin contact have yielded a vibrant ruby hue. The wine was 50% barrel-fermented, 50% stainless steel fermented. Aromas of strawberry and plum burst from the glass. On the palate, there are concentrated flavours of plum, leading to a dry finish with a hint of red licorice. The wine will appeal for those who like a bold and fleshy rosé. 90.
Meyer Pinot Noir 2019 ($22.21 for 2,500 cases). This wine, which was aged eight months in neutral oak barrels, is somewhat rustic, standing apart in style from other Pinot Noirs from Meyer. It begins with cherry aromas mingled with notes of forest floor. On the palate, the fruit is earthy, with notes of plum. The body is robust. 88.
Meyer McLean Creek Road Pinot Noir 2019 ($34.87 for 1,000 cases). Five clones comprise this delicious Pinot Noir. The fruit, after a cold soak, was fermented with indigenous yeast and then aged 11 months in French oak (25% new). Aromas and flavours of cherry, mocha and spice are delivered with a silky texture. Layers of fruit reveal themselves in a persistent finish. 92.
Meyer Micro Cuvée Pinot Noir 2019 ($56.61 for 150 cases). The winery describes this as the most harmonious blend of selected barrels of McLean Creek Road Pinot Noir. The wine has had 11 months in French oak barrels (40% new). There are aromas and flavours of dark cherry mingled with spice and dark chocolate. The wine is unfined and unfiltered. 90.
Meyer Pinot Noir Old Block 2019 ($43.57 for 333 cases). Old Block refers to vines of an unknown clone that were planted in 1994 in the McLean Road Vineyard. The fruit, after a cold soak in open-top fermenters, was allowed to ferment with indigenous yeast. The wine then went into French oak (30% new) for 11 months. Aromas of cherry, spice and oak wrap around a full-bodied core of sweet fruit with hints of forest floor on the lingering finish. 91.
Mayhem Wines is a collaboration between Meyer Family Vineyards principal JAK Meyer and his sister, Terry Meyer Stone, along with their spouses. The current release includes two wines packaged in 250 ml cans – ideal for picnics and alfresco dining now allowed in some parks.
b>Mayhem Sauvignon Blanc 2020 ($20 for 238 cases). This wine was fermented in 76% stainless steel and 24% oak (10% new French barriques). The wine begins with a hint of lime and gooseberry on the nose, leading to a palate of tropical fruit flavours. The finish is crisp and dry. 90.
Mayhem Pinot Gris 2020 ($73.08 for 12 cans with 250 ml in each). This conveniently packaged wine is crisp and fresh, with aromas and flavours of citrus, pear and green apple. 88.
Mayhem Rosé 2020 ($20 for 147 cases). This is 95.5% Merlot and 4.5% Cabernet Franc. The grapes were crushed by foot to extract colour gently before crushing. Some 67% of the wine was aged six months in stainless steel; the rest was aged in neutral oak. The hue is perfect – not too pale, not too dark. It begins with herbal notes on the nose mingled with strawberry jam. There are layers of fruit on the palate – strawberry, cherry – that lead to a lingering, dry finish. 90.
Mayhem Rosé 2020 ($73.08 for 12 cans with 250 ml in each). The wine is similar to the bottled rosé but comes in a convenient package.

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