B.C. Pinot Noir 2010s Panel Reviewed – Okanagan, Similkameen & Cowichan Valleys Vs. Carneros #27
Wines From the Okanagan, Similkameen & Cowichan Valleys Meet One From Carneros
EU: Wild Rose, potpourri, tangerine, sweet spice
AKG: spicy, floral, nasturtium, cherry notes in ending
BG: Very silky mouth feel, floral/violets, plum, cherry
|Name of Wine||Price||Quality||Value|
|#1 Niche Pinot Noir 2010||$25.00||C+ to B- ~ 89||C+ to B- ~ 89|
|#2 Mt. Boucherie Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2010||$30.00||B- to B ~ 91||B ~ 92|
|#3 Kettle Valley Pinot Noir 2010||$33.00||B ~ 92||C+ to B- ~ 89|
|#4 Alderlea Pinot Noir 2010||$30.00||C- to C ~ 85||C- to C ~ 85|
|#5 Herder Pinot Noir 2010||$43.00||C to C+ ~ 87||D+ to C- ~ 83|
|#6 Tantalus Pinot Noir 2010||$30.00||C- to C ~ 85||C- to C ~ 85|
|#7 Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vyd. Pinot Noir Carneros 2010||$45.00||B- ~ 90||C ~ 86|
#1 Niche Pinot Noir 2010 11.8%
Overall Quality Rating: C+ to B- ~ 89 Overall Value Rating: C+ to B- ~ 89
BG: Pale. Ruby/ripe cherry rim. AKG: Cherry. EU: Red Garnet.
BG: Plums, savoury cherry, wood, bit of vanilla, black cherry, savoury caramel. Nice crosscurrents of aromas. Rhubarb, stewed plum fruit. AKG: Citrus, smoky, sour strawberries, apples. EU: Cranberry, black cherry dried and fresh also sweet spice, apple juice and leather.
BG: Fruit savoury, little bit dried out, savoury caramel, some blueberry, vanilla, sweet cherry. AKG: Sharp, nice acidity, savoury fruits, Oak. EU: Acidic, tannin, light cherry, cranberry, spice apple juice, caramel.
Niche Winery is not idly named. It is a small, hands-on family run winery that makes wines exclusively from its own vineyards, perched at over 650 meters on the flatter part of a ridge just North of West Kelowna. The pinot noir vines, part of the Hugh and Mary Vineyard were planted in 1997 and 2007 (and still taken care of) by Kathleen and Jerry Schlosser, the parents of the owners James and Joanna. The two clones planted are 667 and 115. James Schlosser is the winemaker.
The winery first opened in 2011 and the 2010 vintage that we were fortunate enough to taste here was their inaugural vintage. Subsequent vintages have won medals at the Wine Align National Wine Awards Of Canada, the Cascadia Wine Competition, The Pacific Rim International Wine Competition and the All Canadian Wine Championships.
The methodology for their pinot noir typically involves hand picked grapes pressed in a half-ton basket press. The fruit is cold soaked over several days and then fermented in small individual lots and aged for just shy of 12 months in a mixture of French and American oak. Production for this first vintage was in the range of forty cases (two barrels). With the second round of pinot noir vines now mature, the case count for current vintages is currently closer to the two hundred and fifty mark.
#2 Mount Boucherie Pinot Noir Family Reserve 2010 13.7%
Overall Quality Rating: B- to B ~ 91 Overall Value Rating: B ~ 92
BG: Pale, Garnet with some brickiness. AKG: Garnet. EU: Garnet. Red and some brick.
BG: Charcoal, cherry, dried plums, savoury cherry, Kirsch, slightly hot. AKG: Floral, orange oil, sweet, smells like a Sauternes, fresh, toasted Oak. EU: Wild Rose, potpourri, tangerine, sweet spice (cinnamon, cloves) exotic woods, (Rosewood).
BG: Very savoury, prominent acidity and tannins, still fairly close, high alcohol. Somewhat silky. Bit of tar and roses at end main impact is acidic, medium minus intensity, fairly long and. AKG: A bit hot, bit tannic, spicy, floral, nasturtium, cherry notes in ending. Simple in shape, great mouth feel. EU: Wild Rose, exotic wood, cinnamon, light pepper tingle, well-balanced tannin and acid. Good body long finish.
Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery was founded in 2001 by the Gidda family, one of the largest independent grape growers in the Okanagan. Aside from their home vineyard in West Kelowna, they also farm vineyards in Okanagan Falls, the Similkameen Valley and the Golden Mile Bench near Oliver. They produce three tiers of pinot noirs – Estate, Summit Reserve and Family Reserve, sourced from their West Kelowna and Similkameen properties.
Other vintages of their Family Reserve pinot noir have won medals at the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition, the Northwest Wine Summit and the WineAlign National Wine Awards Of Canada.
Closure – cork
See also the tasting notes for the Mt. Boucherie 2009 Estate pinot noir in Tasting #9
#3 Kettle Valley Pinot Noir 2010 14.0%
Overall Quality Rating: B ~ 92 Overall Value Rating: C+ to B- ~ 89
BG: Pale, Garnet rim. AKG: Garnet. EU: Garnet then brick.
BG: Cherry, ripe strawberry, violets, charcoal, interesting dark plums. AKG: Chocolate, coffee, cherry, pepper, alcohol, herbs, cherry. EU: Complex rose water, Jasmine, vanilla, milk chocolate.
BG: Silky, hot, cherry, medium fruit intensity, then charcoal, overripe cherry, medium plus alcohol, long finish but slightly hot, acidity medium minus. AKG: Light bodied rich, some thyme cherry and chocolate, toasted, leather, then cherry. Peppery finish, big fruit, lovely mouth feel EU: Spicy cinnamon, black cherry, pepper, Rose and raspberry,. Balanced but acidity could use more good fruit and intensity of flavor. Light pepper tingle on finish.
The inspiration for the winery’s name came from the Kettle Valley Railway which between 1915 and 1961 ran through Naramata where the winery is based. The railway connected the Southern Interior of British Columbia to the rest of the Pacific Northwest.
There are currently three pinot noir bottlings, a regular, a reserve and their Hayman John’s Block single vineyard (previously known as the Hayman Vineyard). Before 2002, another bottling was produced from grapes sourced from the Foxtrot Vineyard. That vineyard was sold in 2002 and became the basis for a new winery – Foxtrot Vineyards.
The 2010 wine is 100% pinot noir, and is a blend of Pinot Noir grown in the Thibault, and Lerchs vineyards in Summerland, the Elgert vineyard in Okanagan Falls, the Lazy Dog vineyard in Penticton, and the Becker, Cole and Trovao vineyards in Naramata. The winemakers are and have always been, the founders, Bob Ferguson, and Tim Watts.
The grapes were hand picked between October 25 and November 4, 2010 at approximately 24.0 brix. The wine has gone through a full malolactic fermentation and was barrel fermented in French oak for 23 months before being bottled. Total production: 747 cases of 750 ml bottles.
Closure – cork
See also the tasting notes for:
2006 Kettle Valley pinot noir in Tasting #1
2006 Kettle Valley Hayman Vineyard in Tasting #12
Vertical tasting of Kettle Valley wines 1998-2005 in Tasting #25
#4 Alderlea Pinot Noir 2010 12.0%
Overall Quality Rating: C- to C ~ 85 Overall Value Rating: C- to C ~ 85
BG: Pale, Garnet rim. AKG: Cherry – garnet. EU: Ruby, light brown edges.
BG: Touch of VA, French cherry/pomegranate, vanilla, Apple/plum. AKG: Rubber/chemical, kerosene, minty hint of strawberry jam. EU: Dried cranberry and sour cherries, possibly acetone. Citrus (lime), vanilla.
BG: Apple, plum, acidic, acidic cranberry, finish is plum. AKG: Sour strawberries, gorgeous mouth feel, lemon, Oak on finish, great balance, simple but very pleasant, spiciness on finish. EU: Lime, citrus, vanilla Oak, dried cranberry, good acidity, long finish of cranberry.
Alderlea Vineyards is an eight acre vineyard that includes pinot noir, located just North of Duncan in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. It was planted in 1994 by the winemaker Roger Dosman and the winery opened in 1998. All wines are made from estate fruit.
The vineyard is located about three kilometers East of a channel of the Strait of Georgia. It is connected to the Strait through a gap in the surrounding hills in an East/West line along with two other Cowichan Valley pinot noir producers, Emandare and Averill Creek. The vineyards are on a South facing gentle rise about a half kilometer up from Quamichan Lake at height of approximately 60 meters.
Alderlea Vineyards was planted in 1994 and is the fourth oldest winery on Vancouver Island. The pinot noir vineyard has the second oldest plantings of Pinot Noir on the Island with six different Pinot Noir clones including twenty-three year old vines of Alsace clones 93 and 538. The winery also grows Dijon clones 113,115,667 and 777. In exceptional years a Reserve wine is also made.
Alderlea was one of the first to experiment with tenting the vines in the Spring in order to gain a few weeks of ripening time for his grapes in the very cool climate of the Cowichan Valley.
In early 2017 the winery changed hands. The new proprietors and winemakers are Zachary Brown and Julie Powell. Zac is an experienced winemaker whose roots in winemaking started nearly 20 years ago while working with a small family winery & vineyard 80 kilometers from Vienna. His skills were further honed while he lived in Western Australia. He has made his own wine garagiste style for the last ten years.
Julie spent 20 years working in the area of human resources in Canada and abroad for global, multi-national organizations. With a specialization in leadership and learning she will be building relationships with customers, suppliers and seasonal vineyard employees. she also plans to embark upon more formal studies in viticulture and winemaking to complement the hands-on exposure she has had to date.
Closure – cork
Production approximately 200 cases
#5 Herder Pinot Noir 2010 13.1%
Overall Quality Rating: C to C+ ~ 87 Overall Value Rating: D+ to C- ~ 83
BG: Pale, Garnet rim. AKG: Nearly Brown. EU: Brick.
BG: Plums, roses. Dried/stewed plum or strawberry, some tar/charcoal. AKG: Sweet cherry, raisins, tar, photochemical fixer. EU: Savoury dark caramel, dried cherries, strawberry.
BG: Very silky mouth feel, floral/violets, plum, cherry. Bit hot, long fruit relatively simple but rounded silky. Remarkably soft and silky. Intensity medium, body medium minus jammy/raisin. Low acidity. AKG: Spicy, vanilla, pepper, vanilla, raisins, little hot, nice acidity, black tea, blueberries, amazing mouth feel, with lemon and strawberry. EU: Sweet red fruit (candied?), Vanilla, dried cherries, strawberry jam, very silky texture with very low acidity and strong fruit.
This 2010 pinot noir was made my Lawrence Herder, all from Keremeos estate fruit; planted mostly in 2005 by the previous owner Herb Keller. The Herder winery moved from Cawston to Keremeos in 2007 when the original winery in Cawston was sold and became the Eau Vivre Winery. Herder also planted pinot noir on this Keremeos property some time after 2007. The estate vineyard backs directly onto a steep rocky outcropping that absorbs and radiates heat back to the vineyard.
Lawrence Herder was one of the first winemakers to demonstrate the potential of the Similkameen Valley for growing the grapes to make quality wines. He first planted vines for his own winery in 2002 and was also a winemaker or consultant around that time to Stoneboat Vineyards, Jackson Triggs, Golden Mile (now Road 13), Seven Stones Winery and Orofino Vineyards. From 2003 to 2007 he made pinot noir from fruit sourced from the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, including a single vineyard pinot noir from the Bellamy vineyard in the Similkameen.
Unfortunately, Lawrence Herder died in September 2016.
The Herder winery was purchased in 2014 by Corcelettes Estate Winery, a smaller winery also located in the Similkameen Valley. Two vintages of wines already in barrel were included when the winery changed hands. The 2011 pinot noir made by Lawrence Herder was released as Corcelettes Reserve Pinot Noir and will be one of the wines featured in an upcoming panel tasting.
It could be said that the filled vessel of wine, be it a tank, vat, amphora or barrel, that will provide the contents of one individually labeled vintage wine, represents a one time only intersection of fixed lines, changing lines and curving lives. The three fixed lines of latitude, longitude and altitude describe the vineyard’s exact spot on earth and along with the land’s tilt, it’s relation to water, to winds and more, provide the relatively unfluctuating elements. The curving lines are those of that particular vintage season’s rhythm of rain the sun and the resultant changing chemistry of the grapes as the ripening process increases sugar, thickens grape skins and lowers acidity.
The curving lives are those of both the vine and the people who bring the wine forth whether they are in the vineyard or the winery. What have they been through? A vine has a life of stages: seedling, young vine, working vine, old vine and this is reflected in its vigor as well as the quality, quantity and nature of the grape juice it offers each year.
As for the human part of the terroir, their experience, skill, aims, sensibilities and choices will also mark the wine differently this year than last year and it will change again in the vintages to come.
Despite the constant shifting of these elements there are however, sometimes also finalities. Grapevines are ripped up to plant new ones or different varieties. Heavy winter cold, pests or disease can stop the vines. People are subject to change as well and there is sometimes a certain poignancy in tasting a wine that contains an influence that has since vanished.
The production for this vintage was 90 cases.
Closure – cork
#6 Tantalus Pinot Noir 2010 13.4%
Overall Quality Rating: C- to C ~ 85 Overall Value Rating: C- to C ~ 85
BG: Pale, ruby rim. AKG: Bright cherry. EU: Ruby no brown edges.
BG: Blueberry, blackberry. Strawberry, nice complexity. AKG: Forest floor, pine, maraschino cherry, toasted sweet nuts, cherry, roses. EU: Light tar, cherry, strawberry, sweet spices.
BG: As on nose, blackBerry/blueberry. Simple. bit flat. Plastic/rubber notes. AKG: Cherry, blackberry, raspberry, a bit tannic, vanilla notes, blackcurrant. EU: Sour cherry, lime, sweet spice, distinct tannins crisp acidity.
Tantalus Vineyards was established in 2004 by investment dealer Eric Savics when he purchased the previous winery called Pinot Reach Cellars. The property had a lot of history as some of the grapevine plantings went back to 1927. The pinot noir vines on the property include some clone 93 (a Spatburgunder or German clone) planted around 1985 and Dijon clones including 667, 115 and 828 were added between 2005 and 2012. The first pinot noir release was in 2006.
The story of pinot noir at Tantalus has to some degree followed the transition from the German clones to what are generally regarded as the superior French clones. That journey has seen the production of a separate Clone 93 bottling as well as a “Juveniles” bottling that utilizes the younger Dijon vines. Those wines were a great opportunity to taste the separate elements of clone and vine age.
The vineyards face West towards Lake Okanagan some two kilometers away and are just South of Kelowna near three other pinot noir producing wineries – Sperling, Spearhead and Nagging Doubt.
Tantalus is fortunate in having had the same winemaker since 2009, the Vancouver born New Zealander David Paterson. His winemaking experience included time at the renowned Henschke Cellars in Australia.
The 2010 Tantalus pinot noir is made from estate grapes – a mix of Dijon clones 115, 667, 777, 828 and the German clone 93. This wine won a silver medal at the Wine Align National Wine Awards Of Canada in 2013.
Subsequent vintages have won awards at Wine Align National Wine Awards Of Canada, Decanter World Wine Awards, International Wine & Spirit Competition, and the InterVin International Wine Awards
Closure – Composite cork
#7 Clos Pegase Pinot Noir Mitsuko’s Vineyard 2010 (Carneros) 14.8%
Overall Quality Rating: B- ~ 90 Overall Value Rating: C ~ 86
BG: Ruby, touch of purple, pale. AKG: Cherry. EU: Dark ruby.
BG: Cherry/vanilla, medium intensity, some cola, plum, fresh fruit. AKG: Floral, sweet red fruits, orange, vanilla, mineral notes. EU: Smoke, roast meat, brown sugar/caramel, red fruits, strawberry, cherry.
BG: As on nose, silky, vanilla, sweet spice, cinnamon, lovely mouth filling fruit. Still some tannin. Big fruit, long, alcohol medium plus, caramel. AKG: Very sweet, hot, peppery, flavorful, savoury notes, rich. EU: Sweet vanilla, brown sugar, dark cherry, strawberry, good body.
Closure – Stelvin