Tinhorn Creek Vineyards has just appointed Argentinian-born, European-trained Leandro Nosal as its head winemaker.
This is likely the first time that South American winemaker has taken over the cellar at a major Okanagan winery. Leandro, however, is familiar with the Okanagan. He started working in the valley in 2014 at LaStella Winery before moving the Mission Hill group of wineries.
He was assistant winemaker at CedarCreek Estate Winery from February 2016 to May 2017; then assistant winemaker at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery for a year; and then assistant winemaker at Checkmate Artisanal Winery for the last three years.
“It is a great move for Leandro,” CheckMate winemaker and general manager Philip McGahan said in an email. “I’m sad to see him go.”
“I am a winemaker in one of the most promising wine regions of North America,” Leandro writes at his LinkedIn page. “The Okanagan valley, in British Columbia, is coming of age showing all its greatness and I am proud to be crafting wines here.”
The previous senior winemaker at Tinhorn Creek was Andrew Windsor who left there in April 2020 when he and partner Jan Nelson bought Maverick Estate Winery. The 2020 vintage at Tinhorn Creek was handled by Ross Wise MW, the senior Okanagan winemaker for Andrew Peller Ltd., with Korol Kuklo, Tinhorn’s long-time assistant winemaker. Peller owns Tinhorn Creek.
Leandro was born in Mendozo, the wine capital of Argentina, and describes himself as the fourth generation of his family active in the wine industry.
He brings an impressive resume of education and international experience to Tinhorn Creek. He has an Agricultural Engineering degree from Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, as well as a Master of Science in Viticulture and Oenology, earned while studying abroad in Montpellier in France and Torino in Italy. He also has a business management certificate from the University of Toronto School 0f Continuing Studies.
He steps into a job with one of the South Okanagan’s most accomplished wineries. Tinhorn Creek was established in 1993. Almost until the company was acquired by Peller in 2017, the head winemaker was California-trained Sandra Oldfield. The winery’s reserve wines are released under the Oldfield Reserve label.
Two recent releases indicate the strength of the portfolio that Leandro will now be in charge of.
Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Rosé 2020 ($21.99). This bold rosé is 100% Cabernet Franc which was allowed to soak on the skins for 24 hours before fermenting in stainless steel. The result is a deep-hued rosé with a dramatic presentation in the glass. The wine begins with aromas of strawberry and watermelon. On the palate, there are flavours of strawberry and cherry with a hint of anise on the lingering finish. 91.
Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Cabernet Franc 2018 ($34.99). This is 88% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. It begins with aromas of blueberry, blackberry, black cherry mingled with spice. There is brambly dark fruit on the palate echoing the aroma. The texture is concentrated, with long ripe tannins giving the wine length and elegance. The spice persists on the long finish. 92.