Since Bartier Scholefield started producing their wines in 2011, in the Okanagan, BC, I have been fortunate to try them and write about them for you. They have been keeping to their “Wine As Narrative“, telling us a story about the terroir, from where it was produced. Their wines are produced as much without wine maker intervention, so that you get the most authentic expression of the grapes. So with each year and each vintage, that expression in the bottle, in the glass, can be different. Was the growing season hot, cool, wet, or dry? These things all impact the grapes and the final wine produced. In the Okanagan in 2011 the weather was cool. How would that affect the vintage? Coolness typically would result in higher acidity in the grapes, with the white grapes producing more of citrus or stonefruit flavours, rather than tropical fruit. Red grapes may tend more toward red fruits. But of course all this depends on if the weather was cool throughout the season, the beginning or end. If the weather is cool to start but very warm toward harvest, grapes may pick up much of the flavours and phenolic ripeness, giving you richer, riper flavours. How did the Bartier Scholefield wines express themselves this vintage?
Bartier Scholefield White 2011
Their B.S White 2011 is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Gris grapes fermented in stainless steel tanks; never seeing a sliver of oak. It had medium intensity aromas, with ripe pears first, followed by a hint of white flower blossoms, some lees, lemon, lime, and almond. Dry on the palate with a slight prickle on the tongue. It has a heavier, rounder mouthfeel than you may expect for an unoaked white. Again pears are the first fruit I picked up, together with light stone fruit, red apples, blossoms, and lees. It had some steeliness, spiciness and puckering acidity on the finish. A really tasty wine with lots of fruit and a fairly long length. I think this wine should be quite food friendly with the acidity and its round mouthfeel. I might try this with lobster, or a chicken dish with a cream sauce.
Bartier Scholefield Rose 2011
The B.S Rose 2011 is 100% Gamay Noir. I have felt that BC’s Okanagan does Gamay Noir quite well, and should not be overlooked. It is typically lower in tannins, higher in acidity and quite fruity, which gives it lots of potential for food pairing. This wine has a very youthful nose with light red fruit, raspberries and baby powder aromas. Dry with medium acidity and tannins. Full of red juicy cherries followed by candied cherries and light red berry flavours. I also noted a hint of red apple. For this wine and all the others I taste and review from home, I try a wine after opening it, then retry the wine again after 24 hours. This rose seemed to get bigger in body and flavour intensity at the second tasting, making me like it more than in the initial tasting. So sometimes letting a wine get exposed to the air is a good thing. This wine is not overly complex, but it is very enjoyable with its fruit flavours and medium acidity to keep it interesting. Maybe I would try this with roasted pork belly or a goat cheese tart.
Bartier Scholefield Red 2011
My last wine, the B.S Red 2011 is a blend of mostly Merlot, with lesser amounts of Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Gamay Noir. This wine was noticeably dark to opaque ruby in the glass. Lots of sweet, purple fruit aromas, along with raspberries, plums, vanilla and a hint of chocolate. Quite enjoyable to nose. Wow, lots of layers of juicy fruits on the palate. Ripe raspberries, red cherries, red and black fruit, and plums. I also picked up vanilla, sweet spices, and milk chocolate flavours. This wine has medium body and is soft and silky, coating your mouth. The juicy fruit flavours were dragging my tastebuds all over the place. The tannins were not too strong, but there was enough to support the fruit. On my second day of tasting I noted aromas of violets, and a hint of blueberries on the palate. An outstanding wine expressing an exuberance of youth in my opinion. I might try this with some bbq’d baby back ribs.
I don’t think the cooler 2011 season had a negative impact at all on this wine or the other two that I tried from Bartier Scholefield. Give these wines a try this spring or summer. You will be glad you did.
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