Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Meyer and Mayhem wines celebrate outstanding vintages

Photo: Okanagan Falls vintner Jak Meyer
Meyer Family Vineyards has just released Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from the 2022 vintage that are among the best wines yet from this Okanagan Falls winery.
“After dealing with low yields and smoke [from earlier vintages], I am very excited about 2022 for a bunch of reasons!” says Jak Meyer, owner of this winery with his wife, Janice. “It was just a great growing season. Nice early start, good weather, tons of fruit (our biggest yield ever). Normally, if we felt fruit wouldn't ripen, we would have been dropping it, but veraison was early and there was no issue with getting ripe. We had beautiful weather right up till early November.”
Then, as Jak puts it, “a light switch went off. The temperature went from plus 18 C to -10 C in a day. That is where all the winter damage this year came from as the vines hadn't properly shut down yet.” As a result, the harvest in 2023 was much smaller. Fans of Meyer wines will have to scramble for the 2023s. My suggestion is stock up on the abundant and excellent 2022s while they are in the market.
You might also consider the wines from Mayhem Wines, a rising boutique winery owned by Jak, his sister Terry and their respective spouses. Some of the fruits is from Terry Meyer Stone and Andrew Stone’s vineyard on Anarchist Mountain overlooking Osoyoos. Current releases include a big, bold Bordeaux red and a fortified Gew├╝rztraminer – one Okanagan answer to white Sherry and a show stealer. By design, the Mayhem and Meyer portfolios do not duplicate each other. The only time they share a foot print is with their tasting rooms, both of which are on Meyer’s McLean Creek Road estate.
Here are notes:
Meyer Old Main Road Chardonnay 2022 ($32.26 for 766 cases). The grapes for this wine are from a Naramata Bench vineyard planted in 1996. The juice begins a long cool fermentation in stainless steel. It completes fermentation in French oak barrels (25% new) and remains there on the lees for 11 months without stirring. The wine begins with aromas of citrus, apple and a hint of butter. On the palate, tangerine flavours mingle with ripe pear and a touch of toasty oak. The texture is generous. 92.
Meyer Stevens Block Chardonnay 2022 ($27.04 for 542 cases). This appealing fruit-forward Chardonnay was fermented cool in stainless steel with indigenous yeast. It was then aged 10 months on older oak barrels. The wine has aromas and flavours of peach and citrus with a note of butter and vanilla on the finish. The texture is silken and the finish is persistent. 91.
Meyer McLean Creek Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2022 ($N/A for 750 cases). This wine began a long, cool ferment in stainless steel with indigenous and cultured yeast. The must was transferred to French oak barrels (22% new) to finish fermentation and remained 11 months on the lees without stirring. Malolactic fermentation finished in spring. The wine has aromas and flavours of apple, stone fruit and butter with a long, bright finish. 92.
Meyer Anarchist Mountain Dekleva Clone Chardonnay 2022 ($32.26 for 322 cases). This wine is a tour de force. The grapes are from vines planted in 1985 in a high-elevation (518 meters) west-facing vineyard on Anarchist Mountain overlooking Osoyoos. A long cool fermentation with wild yeast began in stainless steel. The wine finished its fermentation in French oak barrels (33% new). The wine remained on the lees for 11 months without stirring, finishing malolactic fermentation in the spring. The wine presents with a light golden hue. There are aromas and flavours of tangerine, ripe peach and butter, with a long, satisfying finish. 94.
Meyer “B” Field Blend Pinot Noir 2022 ($31.39 for 450 cases). The reference is to the “B” block in the McLean Creek Road vineyard (the estate vineyard). There are four clones in this wine (115, 667, 777 and unknown), co-fermented in small open-top fermenters with indigenous yeast. There is a cold soak on the skins before ferment begins. Fermentation with indigenous yeast is allowed to reach 32◦C, with gentle hand plunging. After post-maceration, the wine spends 11 months in neutral French oak. Aromas of spice and cherry lead to vivid fruit flavours of strawberry, cherry and cranberry. The silken texture leads to a long finish. 92.
Meyer McLean Creek Road Pinot Noir 2022 ($37.48 for 705 cases). There are four Dijon clones in this wine (114, 115, 667, 777) and one Pommard clone. The vines are grown on blocks with three different exposures, enhancing the complexity of the wine. A two-week fermentation is done with indigenous yeast in open-top fermenters, with frequent punch-downs by hand. The wine is aged 11 months in French oak (25% new). The wine is full-bodied, with aromas and flavours of cherry, strawberry, mocha. There is a hint of toasted oak in the aroma. The wine should be decanted for early consumption; it has great structure for aging. 93.
Mayhem Anarchy Merlot 2021 ($39.23 for 120 cases). Because of the 2021 heat dome, grapes were smaller than usual but proved to be packed with intense flavours. After destemming the grapes, they were allowed a five-day cold soak in an open-top fermenter before being fermented with indigenous yeast. The wine spent a total of 30 days on the skins and then went into French oak (53% new) initially for 11 months. Then two percent Cabernet Franc was blended in and the wine was returned to barrel for another nine months before bottling. The wine begins with bold aromas of cassis, dark cherry, plum and spice. On the concentrated palate, there are intense flavours of dark cherry and plum mingled with chocolate and spice. 93.
Mayhem Anarchy Fortified Gew├╝rztraminer 2020 ($31.40 for 350 ml bottle; only 70 cases produced). The fruit, which was from a Naramata Bench vineyard, was whole-bunch pressed and allowed to cold-soak three days before being fermented to 24 brix. It was then fortified with 93% alcohol grape spirit and transferred to neutral oak barrels for 23 months of aging. Six months of that aging was outdoors in a hot Okanagan summer, accounting for the Sherry-like character of the wine. The wine presents with light golden hue leading to honeyed aromas of marmalade and quince. The rich and creamy texture delivers more flavours of marmalade with hints of brown sugar, candied fruit and toffee. The wine has a long finish and is so well-balanced that the sweetness is not the least cloying. This is a great wine to pair with blue cheese. 95.

No comments: