Wednesday, June 9, 2021

1 Mill Road Pinot Noir 2019

Good news and bad news about the second release of a Pinot Noir from 1 Mill Road Vineyard, the Naramata boutique launched by David and Cynthia Enns. The 2019 Home Block Pinot Noir is, in my judgement, even better than the 2018 vintage. The bad news is that the production, at 219 cases, is half the volume produced in 2018, due to some bud damage in the cold 2018-2019 winter. Most of the 2019 release was sold out in the first week of June. The quality of the wine, however, suggests that fans of Pinot Noir need to get on 1 Mill Road’s mailing list for the next vintage.
David and Cynthia are the former owners of Laughing Stock Vineyards, which they launched in 2003 and sold to Arterra Wines Canada in 2017. Laughing Stock’s production had grown to 12,500 cases a year. “After almost two decades of making wine in the Okanagan Valley, this time we are going deep with one varietal from one place, the Naramata Bench,” the couple explain their apparent decision to step off the fast lane to focus just on Pinot Noir. 1 Mill Road, the name of the winery, is taken from the address of the property, located at the northern edge of the village of Naramata. David and Cynthia bought the five-acre property in 2012, planted vines in 2013, and moved there in 2016, after having a house built. “We went looking for a property, mainly to move away from the winery property because we were trying to get some balance in life,” Cynthia says.
1 Mill Road’s vineyard, which is on a bench about 50 feet above Okanagan Lake, was a former organic pear orchard that was semi-abandoned when they bought it. They planted a little more than 1 ½ acres of Pinot Noir vines, all clone 115. “When we sold Laughing Stock, we knew we wanted to keep working with this little vineyard,” says Cynthia, who is the grape grower. “We stare at that vineyard from our dining room table. It is very immediate, more so than at Laughing Stock, the way we experience the vineyard. It is small enough that I have been able to tackle the farming without too much difficulty.”
Here is a note on the wine.
1 Mill Road Pinot Noir 2019 Home Block ($50). The fruit – 20% whole clusters – was fermented in large French oak tanks and was aged in these tanks and in neutral oak barrels. This elegant wine begins with aromas of cherry and spice. The palate is sensuous, with flavours of cherry and blackberry mingled with vanilla and mocha. The finish is persistent. 94.

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