2015 was a sunny, hot summer leading to an early harvest. How would BC’s Pinot Noir grapes, which prefer cooler weather, weather this vintage? I have an answer to that question with the tasting of 3 Pinot Noirs from SpierHead Winery I received to review.
SpierHead Winery is located in the Kelowna area, which is cooler than the South Okanagan, but still experienced warmer weather over the summer. Over-ripe Pinot Noir grapes can taste much like Merlot to me, at a higher price point. Would the beautiful floral and red fruit aromas and flavours I appreciate from this grape, greet me in the glass? Let’s find out.
The three Pinot Noirs that I received to taste are:
- SpierHead Pinot Noir 2015 ($25)
- SpierHead GFV Saddle Block Pinot Noir 2015 ($30)
- SpierHead Pinot Noir Cuvee 2015 ($38)
SpierHead Pinot Noir 2015 – is a blend of grapes from Dijon clones 115, 667, 777, and 828, coming from SpierHead’s estate vineyard plus from the Golden Retreat vineyard in Summerland. These clones were individually fermented then aged for 10 months in French oak before bottling. This wine comes in screwcap, while the other 2 wines are both under cork, so I take this as a message from winery to enjoy this wine sooner, and hold on to the latter for aged enjoyment. I did notice that the corks were of very good quality; a single piece, very solid, with few holes.
This wine is pale garnet with an orange tint; translucent to the core. Medium intensity, youthful nose, with aromas of roses and red fruit primarily, along with sweet spices, strawberry and light oak treatment. I really enjoy these aromas from Pinot Noir. With decanting the wine loses a bit of the floral component. The wine is dry, soft, and has some roundness to it. Lighter acidity, tannins and body, but above average flavour intensity. Roses/flowers and red fruits up front. Spice and red cherry flavours mid palate onward. With decanting you get more tart cherry flavour. It has a medium plus length with a firming up on tannins on the finish. Tart red fruit and spice. Decanting reduces the spiciness on the finish. I would recommend not to decant this wine to get the most on the nose and palate. Drink this wine within 1-2 years.
Rating: A light, red fruit and floral delight in the glass. An easy to enjoy wine that would go nicely with grilled vegetables, or a goat cheese, greens and walnut salad.
SpierHead GFV Saddle Block Pinot Noir 2015 – is from their home Saddle Block site in their Gentleman Farmer Vineyard. The wine consists of 3 clones; 46% Dijon 777, 27% Dijon 115, and 27% Dijon 828. It is not mentioned but I assume that the clones were individually fermented, but it was stated that the fermented wines spent 10 months in French oak barrels.
This wine is medium garnet in the glass. It has a lighter nose, with both youthful and developing aromas. I initially detected an earthy/mushroom component, which soon went away, leaving me with red fruit, sweet spice and oak aromas. With a bit of air, I also detected some aroma. With more decanting, a red cherry became more evident on the nose. The wine is dry, and overall lighter in acidity, tannins, alcohol and body. it is very soft and round with a light mouth feel. Red fruits and violets to start on the palate, followed by candied red cherries, then red spice. With decanting the “candied” part of red cherry dissipated, leaving red cherry. I also picked up some plum and a salty mineral component in the background. Medium plus length, with mouth water acidity, fine dry tannins, and flavours of red fruit and light sweet spice. I think this wine can be enjoyed over the next 3-5 years.
Rating: – Another delicate floral Pinot from SpierHead. More complex than their white label Pinot Noir, this wine would pair nicely with seared salmon or maybe Chinese bbq pork.
SpierHead Pinot Noir Cuvee 2015 – is made in limited quantity and is blended each year from selected barrels that stand out to the wine maker. The grapes are hand harvested, whole berry fermented and aged in French oak. The wine is made from a selection of clones: 30% Pommard, 21% Dijon 667, 21% Dijon 777, 14% Dijon 115, and 14% Dijon 828.
Deeper garnet in the glass, but still is translucent to the core. Medium intensity nose with aromas of flowers, red cherries, red fruit, and sweet spice, along with light oak. There was less floral on the nose with decanting. The wine is very floral flavoured, together with raspberries, red fruit, sweet spices and vanilla. The wine is quite round and silky, with a heavier mouth feel. Also picked up a hint of minerality. With decanting the raspberry and minerality became more evident in the glass. The wine finishes peppery, along with ripe red fruit, sweet spices and firmer tannins; but not overly drying. Decanting reduces the pepperiness in this wine. For most enjoyment, I suggest not to decant this wine.
Rating: A bigger Pinot Noir of excellent quality; Ripe fruit flavours and good tannic structure to make this wine an excellent companion to a special dinner (roast duck breast or rack of lamb), and can be aged at least 4-5 years.
Did the hotter 2015 growing season harm BC’s Pinot Noir grapes? From these 3 wines, I have to say “no”. The wines are still showing wonderful red fruit and flowers.
Where Can I Buy These Pinots?
SpierHead Winery does have an online store, and as well has their wines available at many restaurants including: Burgoo (all 3 locations), Cin Cin, Hart House on Deer Lake, Araxi, and many more. Here is the full list of restaurants. There is also a long list of retail locations, such as Firefly, Legacy, Liberty (all locations), Village Wines plus more. Here is the full list of retail locations.
Do you want to learn a bit more about SpierHead Winery and the Dijon clones? Please read my past article: Excited By Terroir – Spierhead Winery Pinot Noir Trio