Writer and wine columnist John Schreiner is Canada's most prolific author of books on wine.
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
Osoyoos Larose: Bordeaux excellence in the Okanagan
Photo: Chief operating officer and winemaker Michael Kullmann
Consumers who want Bordeaux red wine in their cellars but cannot afford them should consider the wines from Osoyoos Larose Winery.
Osoyoos Larose is a Bordeaux winery in the Okanagan. Groupe Taillan, a major producer of wines in Bordeaux, was a 50% joint venture partner with Vincor when the winery was launched in 1999. Groupe Taillan purchased the other 50% in 2013. That led to Osoyoos Larose moving its production facilities from the rear of the Jackson Triggs winery north of Oliver.
After a prolonged search, the winery purchased a former fruit packing house at the east end of Osoyoos. That has been renovated to enable the winery to make the 2022 vintage there. Plans to open a tasting room on the highway north of Osoyoos have run into regulatory barriers. However, the winery, several years ago, converted an orchard to a vineyard. The varieties planted there are Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, the primary whites grown in Bordeaux.
Groupe Taillan ensured that there will be a French stamp on the winery from that start, both by having a French consultant involved in developing the vineyard and by sending a succession of French-trained winemakers to the Okanagan.
The current chief winemaker is Michael Kullmann. While he was born in London, he has a master of science degree from a Bordeaux university and experience at two Bordeaux wineries. He became the vineyard manager at Osoyoos Larose in April, 2019, and took over managing the winery and making wine in January 2022 when, Catherine Schaller, his predecessor, moved to another Okanagan winery.
The two current releases from Osoyoos Larose reflect Catherine’s talents. Here are notes on Le Grand Vin and Pétales which, in the style of Bordeaux, is the chateau’s very good second wine.
Osoyoos Larose Pétales D’Osoyoos 2019 ($33.99). This is a blend of 64% Merlot and 36% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged 12 months in medium toast French oak barrels from multiple coopers. The wine begins with aromas of cassis and cherries. On the palate, there are flavours of dark cherries, blueberries and black currants. Bright fruit and long, ripe tannins give this wine appeal for current consumption, but with moderate ageability. 92.
Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2018 ($53.99). The blend is 64.9% Merlot, 14.2% Cabernet Franc, 12.7% Cabernet Franc, 5.2% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. The grapes, after crushing, were fermented in stainless steel tanks, with about 25 days of skin contact. The wine was then aged 12 months in French oak (60% new, 40% one year old). This wine is built for aging for 10 to 15 years, with grippy tannins at this stage. Decant the wine for early consumption. The wine begins with aromas of dark cherries, black currant and plum. On the brooding palate, there are flavours of dark fruits, leather, dark chocolate and cigar box spice. 94.