Okanagan Crush Pad seems to be coming up with lots of small production wines, trying different things with different grapes, people, and inspiration. This article is about two of their latest wines; Haywire Free Form and Samantha Syrah.
About Haywire Free Form
I was immediately intrigued when I read about this wine as the wine maker’s rolled the dice and tried to see what wine would be produced. Let me elaborate. First off this wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in Summerland. The grapes are fermented with indigenous yeasts (non-commercial) and allowed to ferment in stainless steel on their own, undergo full malolactic fermentation, and curiously 8 months of skin contact. For most white wines, the juice is immediately, or after a few hours of skin contact, pressed off, then fermented. This extended skin contact reminds me of the “natural” wine producers, but this wine does not go as far. There are no earthen pots for fermentation here. Wine makers always take a chance with indigenous yeasts. What will aromas and flavours the yeasts produce in the wine?
About Samantha Cerqueira Vineyard Syrah
“Samantha” is Samatha Rahn, the 2013 Vancouver International Wine Festival Sommelier of the Year in BC. You can find Samantha working at Araxi in Whistler, surrounded by their 11,000 library of wine bottles.
This is the the fourth wine offered by Okanagan Crush Pad Wine Campus, where they invite the Sommelier of the Year to produce a wine of their choice, with money produced to benefit wine education scholarships through the BC Hospitality Foundation. Each wine has it’s own character, and is made from whatever grape(s) variety selected by the Sommelier. For 2013, Samantha chose Syrah, a great choice in my opinion, as I’ve tasted some fabulous Syrah produced in the Okanagan. The grapes come from the Cerqueira Vineyard in Oliver. Samantha notes that her wine is “…medium bodied and robust, yet fairly soft and feminine, a little bit fruity and more than a little bit spicy, layered and complex, sure to continue improving with age.”
The BC Hospitality Foundation raises funds to provide our colleagues in the service industry hope, inspiration, and a helping hand by providing support when they are:
- coping with extraordinary costs arising from a serious health or medical crisis, and
- that cost is not covered by conventional medical plans, EI, or other insurances or benefit plans.
- Haywire Free Form, Natural & Unfiltered, 2013 (BC 29.90) – Medium golden in colour; much more coloured than a typical BC white wine. An interesting nose, with candied red cherries, citrus, yeast, and marzipan, with a hint of herbaceousness (from the Sauvignon Blanc). After a few hours of decanting I tried this wine again and the marzipan aroma had faded, but all the other aromas were still present. I could not tell if this wine was dry or off-dry, but maybe somewhere in between. Soft, round, buttery, light bodied, with a light acidic prickle on the tongue. Flavours of red apples, followed by pears, apricots and candied cherries. There was also a hint of minerality. Medium plus length. Citrus flavour and mouth watering acidity on the finish together with pepperiness on the tongue. With decanting the pepperiness on the finish became more pronounced. This is a geeky wine with bright flavours. Pair it with roast chicken or creamy cheese. I think this wine might evolve into something quite interesting with a bit of aging.
Rating: A geeky wine to fascinate your friends, with bright flavours, but drink as soon as you open it for the most aromas and flavours.
- Samantha Cerqueira Vineyard Syrah 2013 (BC $24.90) – Deep ruby colour, translucent but verging on opaque. Medium intensity, youthful nose, with aromas of ripe, juicy blackberries and blueberries, plums, and vanilla. After a few hours of decanting, there was also some red cherries too. Dry, medium acidity, and softer tannins. Medium bodied, soft and round in the mouth. Very tasty with flavours of juicy blueberries and plums, with lesser amount of raspberries and vanilla. Medium plus length, with a soft berry finish, with the fruits slowly fading. I agree with the tasting notes that characterize this wine as “feminine”; no hard edges and soft tannins. Very enjoyable.
Rating: An easy quaffing Syrah, that is fruity and soft without being a fruit bomb.
You can buy these and other wines online from Okanagan Crush Pad through their website or at various local wine shops.
Past Sommelier of the Year Winners and their Wines
- TNT from Okanagan Crush Pad and More – Terry Nicholas Threlfall is the 2012 Sommelier of the Year
- Celebrating OWEN Cabernet Franc and the BCHF – Owen Knowlton is the 2011 Sommelier of the Year
- Okanagan Crush Pad: The Taste Test – Kurtis Kolt is the 2010 Sommelier of the Year