Thursday, June 3, 2021

Noble Ridge wines: dress to impress

Photo: Leslie and Jim D'Andrea
The spring sample pack from Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery was a bit like opening a clothes closet to find a tuxedo, a Harry Rosen suit – and something casual from Lululemon.
The tuxedo is the winery’s Champagne-style sparkling wine, The One. Leslie and Jim D’Andrea, who opened this Okanagan Falls winery in 2005, have released several vintages of this wine. The quality has always competed well against Champagne but the price makes it more affordable.
The Harry Rosen suit is the fine King’s Ransom Meritage 2017. Noble Ridge made its first King’s Ransom Meritage in the 2006 vintage. The tradition is to release a King’s Ransom wine only when the vintage is exceptional. If my records are accurate, this is the fourth King’s Ransom Meritage. There have also been two Pinot Noirs and one Chardonnay under this designation. In my experience, the Meritage has always been a superb wine to lay down for some time. In my book, Icon – Flagship Wines from British Columbia’s Best Wineries, it was suggested that the 2006 should be consumed by 2020. Since just 100 cases were made, good luck finding one today.
The Fizzy One is the Lululemon wine in this collection. It is an easy drinking frizzante at a modest price. It can take its place in the same wardrobe as the other two wones because it over-delivers for the price. Here are notes on the wines.
Noble Ridge The Fizzy One NV ($21 for 301 cases). The grapes are from the 2020 harvest even if there is no vintage on the label. The blend is 60% Pinot Gris, 40% Viognier. Whole cluster pressing and cool fermentation promoted refreshing fruit on the nose and the palate. A bit of skin contact with the Pinot Gris gave the wine a slight, but appealing, blush and a hint of raspberry on the palate. The bubbles make this a festive wine looking for a picnic. 90.
Noble Ridge “The One” Sparkling Brut 2016 ($39 for 275 cases). This is 69% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir. The grapes were whole cluster pressed and the primary fermentation was cool. The wine was en tirage 42 months during its secondary fermentation. These are the classic grapes and classic method for making Champagne. This wine is crisp and fresh with citrus and green apple mingled with brioche on the nose and palate. 93.
Noble Ridge King’s Ransom Meritage 2017 ($64.99 for 290 cases). This is a blend of 57% Merlot and 43% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged 24 months in French and American oak (75% French, 25% American – and 75% new). Any wine from Noble Ridge called King’s Ransom is assured to be best of the best. This is a powerful, concentrated wine with aromas of cassis, dark fruits, chocolate and vanilla. There are layers of flavour, mingling black cherry, cassis, chocolate and spice. The finish is persistent. 95.

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