Red, white, and rose wines, newly released from Okanagan Crush Pad reached my door for tasting. Just in time for our spring and upcoming sunny summer weather. The wines in question I received:
- Mike B Riesling Cabinett 2014 ($24.90)
- Haywire Gamay Noir Rose 2014 ($22.90)
- Haywire Pinot Noir 2013 ($24.90)
Mike B Riesling Cabinett 2014
This wine is the result of Okanagan Crush Pad’s Okanagan Wine Campus Program. Mike Bernardo is Vancouver’s Sommelier of the Year for 2014. Each yearly winner is offered to make a small lot wine using the grape variety and style of wine that they wish. Mike chose to make a Riesling that was fermented part in stainless steel and part in concrete eggs. The stainless steel helps keep the bright acidity in the wine, with the concrete egg offering complexity to the wine.
What is Cabinett? Kabinett is part of the German QmP Quality designation, which has different levels. Kabinett is the first level and means wine of reserve quality to be kept in the vintner’s cabinet. The wines would come from fully ripened grapes from the main harvest and typically semi-sweet with crisp acidity. The higher levels in the QmP quality designation tend to have higher concentrations of sugar. I enjoy Cabinett German Rieslings. I assume then that Mike wanted to follow this style when he produced his Riesling from Okanagan grapes.
The wine was lighter straw coloured in the glass. Medium intensity youthful aromas of tropical fruit (similar to juicy fruit gum) together with a hint of lime skin. It was off-dry, but had a higher acidity to balance out the sugar. Full body with pronounced tropical fruit and kiwi fruit flavours. I enjoyed that it had minerality which was woven together with the fruit. In many cases, to me, minerality feels/tastes like a separate layer in the wine, but in this wine the minerality and fruit were tightly bound. Big round mouth feel with medium plus length. Tropical fruit and some bitter leaf, together with mouthwatering acidity on the finish. This wine does finish dry thanks to the higher level of acidity. A very tasty wine to enjoy now, or maybe put away a few bottles and see how this wine evolves.
Rating: Very vibrant tropical fruit flavours, with higher acidity to balance off the off-dry sweetness in the wine. Enjoy with stuffed pork tenderloin, grilled citrus shrimp or grilled sausages.
Haywire Gamay Noir Rose 2014
The grapes for this wine come from their Secrest Mountain Vineyard in Oliver, BC. To me, Gamay Noir, is a very versatile grape, and one that grows well in BC and produces very good wine that more people should enjoy. This wine had a nice salmon skin peachy colour in the glass. It had a strong candied red fruit, strawberry and rhubarb aromas when first opened, together with a hint of some herbal/spearmint. After a few hours of air, the candied fruit aromas subdued a bit. This wine is dry with a higher level of persistent light acidic prickle on your tongue combined with a streak of minerality. It has medium plus body and mouth feel, but still soft due to the subdued tannins of being a rose wine. Strong candied strawberries and other red fruit, together with rhubarb and blackcurrant leaf on the palate. Medium plus length. Mouth watering acidity and some leafy bitterness on the finish followed by a bit of hotness. I think this is a nice straight forward rose to open and enjoy at a picnic lunch with sandwiches made with Italian cold cuts, or slices of chicken and duck, and a garden salad.
Rating: A nice, straight forward rose with bright acidity and a nice balance and red fruit and rhubarb flavours, which would be nice with a picnic lunch this summer.
Haywire Pinot Noir 2013
This is a very interesting, complex wine; one that I quite enjoyed straight from opening the bottle. No need to decant. The Pinot Noir grapes for this wine come from a higher elevation, cooler climate vineyard site in the Oliver area. The wine was fermented in concrete tanks then transferred to age in older French oak barrels, which imparts a hint of oak, but is meant more to slowly add oxygen to the wine. This wine is medium garnet in colour, translucent from rim to core. Smoky strawberries with some bacon in the background, together with red cherries and a hint of vanilla. Dry with medium plus body, and soft tannins. The wine first greets you with flowers and perfume, followed by pepperiness and smokiness, and finally by strawberries, cherries and vanilla. The fruit flavours play a supporting role in this wine, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You get to enjoy the flowers, pepperiness and smokiness of the wine, which I think may make it more interesting to try pairing with different foods. This wine has a medium plus length, and is very peppery on the finish. Upon my second tasting of this wine about 4 hours later, the tannins were a bit more prominent on the finish and more of the fruit flavours came out on the palate. As mentioned, I think this is a very interesting, complex wine.
Rating: A four star wine, and maybe 4.5 if you taste the wine first without decanting. I think the flowers, pepperiness and smokiness make this wine quite interesting and would be nice with bacon stuffed mushrooms, lamb chops, or cedar plank grilled salmon.