Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Play Estate's spring 2021 wine release

Photo: Stephanie Bryers in the Play wineshop
These wines represent the second vintage made at Play by Stephanie Bryers. Formerly the assistant winemaker at Culmina Family Estate Winery, she joined Play early in 2019. She is bringing consistency to the portfolio of this Penticton winery after its earlier shaky start. Perched on a hillside overlooking Skaha Lake, the winery is owned by Calgary hotelier Stagewest Hospitality which includes dinner theatres in many of its hotels. The winery, which opened with wines from the 2014 vintage, is supported by the 12-acre estate vineyard as well as with purchased fruit.
Stephanie was born in Ontario in 1988. She acquired a passion for wines while working in a wine shop and taking sommelier training. “I decided I did not want to work in restaurants and pour wine,” Stephanie says. “I liked the idea of making it. We always had a couple of days [in sommelier training] where we would go to a winery and do a couple of punch downs for the fun of it, or help on the bottling line. I liked that so much more, so I went to school.” A 2015 graduate of Niagara College, she made wine in New Zealand, Portugal and Ontario before coming to the Okanagan. The wines reviewed here include six from the core portfolio and four from the winery’s value-priced “Spotlight” series.
Here are notes on the wines.
Play Sauvignon Blanc 2020 ($21.99 for 230 cases). The wine begins with aromas of grapefruit. It is crisp and dry, with flavours of lime and grapefruit around a spine of minerality. 89.
Play Viognier 2020 ($21.99 for 200 cases). This wine is distinguished from the Spotlight Viognier by being made with techniques giving the wine a lush style. Some 35% was fermented in oak barrels; another 11% in stainless steel barrels. Four months battonage on the lees occurred with 46% of the wine. The wine has aromas of apricot mingled with oak. The texture is rich, with a spine of minerality. 90.
Play Saignée 2020 ($25.99 for 350 cases). This is 50% Merlot, 22 Syrah, with the rest of the blend undisclosed. This is made in the dry, Provence style that is fashionably pale in the glass. The wine begins with aromas of strawberry. The palate is fleshy with flavours of strawberry and peach. 90.
Play Cabernet Franc 2019 ($32.99 for 210 cases). The wine shows dark, spicy fruit aromas. On the palate, the flavours mingle black currant and fig with earthy notes on the finish. The wine has been aged on French oak for 16 months. 88.
Play Merlot 2019 ($28.99 for 234 cases). This wine was aged for 16 months in French oak. Dark in colour, it begins with aromas of black cherry, cassis and vanilla. On the palate, the concentrated texture supports flavours of black currant, blackberry and black cherry, with a hint of chocolate. 91.
Play Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 ($28.99 for 145 cases). This wine aged 16 months in French oak. It has aromas of spice and red berries. A hint of spice (white pepper) shows in the flavour along with notes of cherry and black current. While pepper is not typical in a Cabernet Sauvignon, it is appealing all the same. 90.
Play Spotlight Sémillon 2019 ($18.99). Think of a white Graves! The wine is lean and dry, with aromas and flavours of citrus. Some 56% was aged eight months in French oak. 88.
Play Spotlight Viognier 2020 ($18.99). The winery’s Viognier block was picked in two passes, a week apart, with the earlier pick retaining the acidity that gives this wine freshness. The wine has aromas and flavours of apricot with a hint of pineapple. The finish lingers. 90.
Play Spotlight Malbec 2019 ($22.99). Aged 16 months in French oak, this wine begins with bright aromas of spice and plum. These are repeated in the flavours where bright, floral fruit flavours mingle with a hint of vanilla. 90.
Play Spotlight Merlot 2020 ($22.99). Aged in French and American oak, this is a soft and quaffable Merlot with aromas and flavours of blueberry, black cherry, and black tea. 90.

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