May 18 2013
Did you know that SpierHead Winery from South East Kelowna won the “Best New Winery” at the 2012 BC Wine Awards, and that their Pinot Noir was ranked #1 by the judges at the 2012 Canadian Wine Awards? Well now you know. I’ve been in contact with SpierHead for a year now, tasting their wines and telling people about their wines. Recently SpierHead Winery sent me the latest releases of 3 white wines:
- SpierHead Chardonnay 2011
- SpierHead Pinot Gris 2012
- SpierHead Riesling 2012
Something interesting I noted is that this is the first time I believe I’ve seen their Pinot Gris. On their website, and from previous tastings, I have only tried their Riesling and Chardonnay. I’m a fan of BC Pinot Gris and eagerly looked forward to opening the Pinot Gris to see SpierHead’s style.
My Tasting Notes
Doing this review, I tasted the wines twice over a two day period. I do this to see if the wines have changed in aromatics and/or flavour, or maybe softened in tannins (for red wines), due to oxygen contact over the past 24 hours. In some wines there is a notable difference with much more aroma and flavour. So if you have the chance, and self-control, try a bottle of wine after you open it, but save some of the wine in the bottle, put a cork in it, so it doesn’t get contaminated, then wait 24 hours before re-tasting the wine.
For the 3 wines below I tasted them in the order of amount of residual sugar in the wine. The Chardonnay had 1.7 g/L, Pinot Gris 4.5 g/L, and Riesling 8.0 g/L.
SpierHead Chardonnay 2011
The grapes for this chardonnay come from SpeirHead’s Gentleman Farmer Vineyard. The wine is 20% barrel aged for 10 months in 100% new French oak barrels. FYI, 2011 was one of the coolest and wettest summers on record, in BC with harvest starting mid September in the south Okanagan, after 3 weeks of warm weather at the end of August and early September. A challenging year in BC.
The Chardonnay was medium lemon colour in the glass. It had a medium intensity, youthful aroma. I picked up citrus, stone fruit, pear in particular, apple, and some vanilla. It was dry on the palate with a bit less acidity. Medium body, but quite soft and round mouth feel. Flavours of citrus, stone fruit, and almonds or marzipan and light oak on the palate. On the finish I noted some bitter blackcurrant leaf and some spiciness. Besides the fruit flavours I also did pick up on some stoniness to the wine also. Medium length. This is a light and elegant wine that is good to drink right now, but you could cellar it for a while. It shouldn’t age much as it is sealed with a screw cap, so enjoy it when you have a chance. I would pair this wine with a crab & avocado salad, or maybe an oven roasted pork.
SpierHead Pinot Gris 2012
The SpierHead Pinot Gris grapes come from the Golden Retreat Vineyard in Summerland, BC, and are aged for 5 months in stainless steel. No oak on this wine. 2012 was not as challenging a harvest as 2011. There was some rain in June during flowering, but the rest of the summer was sunny, with hot temperatures in August in September and there was no rain until the fall during some of the red grape harvest.
This wine was medium lemon in colour with a light, youthful nose. There was both a bit of lemon and lime aromas, along with stone fruit, and some yeast. The lime aroma became more pronounced after the wine was exposed to air for a while. It is dry with medium body and medium plus acidity. Accompanied with the nice acidity on the tongue I also picked up on some minerality. This wine has layers of fruit flavours, with green fruit and citrus up front, followed by stone fruit, particularly peach. There was also some blossom and honey. On my second day of tasting this wine, lime, pineapple, and red delicious apple flavours popped. Medium plus length with a lifted citrus finish. My favourite wine of the three I tasted. This wine should win medals. Buy it before it sells out. I might want to enjoy this wine with an Indian biryani, or roasted nugget ham.
SpierHead Riesling 2012
The SpierHead Riesling grapes come from the Gentleman Farmer Vineyard, the SpierHead Winery and the View Winery. Another 100% stainless steel fermented wine, aged for 5 months in tank. This wine has the most residual sugar of the three white wines, but tasted nearly dry.
This wine was a bit deeper lemon in colour compared to the other two wines. Light and youthful aromas of mainly stone fruit (apricot), with lesser amounts of tropical fruit, citrus and blossom. Dry to off-dry in sweetness with medium plus acidity. A bit more body and mouth filling, I think in part to the higher residual sugar. I enjoyed the slight acidic prickle on my tongue, balanced with the off dry fruitiness. Flavours I picked up with Citrus and stone fruit, blossom, with and almond or peach pit on the finish. On Day 2 of my tasting, I noticed apricot, lime, and honeydew melon flavours on the palate. Medium plus length with a dry finish. Another really nice wine, which I’d rank as my 2nd favourite of the 3 wines tasted. To this wine, I did pair an Alsatian styled dish I cooked; pan fried pork chops, with fried cabbage, onions, and carrots, which were then slowly roasted in the oven.
The Back Label Story
For those of you who enjoy reading the back label of wine bottles, I’ve included these labels for you to find out a bit more about these wines.
Links to My Previous SpierHead Winery Reviews
Here are the links to my past 2 tasting articles on SpierHead’s wines. Enjoy!