Lunessence Winery in Summerland, BC is one of our newer wineries. 2016 was their third vintage. Their philosophy is to create fine wines that showcase the unique terroir of their vineyards. They use sustainable, environmentally sensitive viticulture, treating the vineyard as a living and varied ecosystem. All their wines were partially or fully fermented with native yeasts. Of particular interest is their use of orchestral or symphonic music that plays in the vineyard and in the cellar when making and aging their wines. Music produces vibrations, and everything in the world reacts to certain frequencies of vibrations in different ways. Some music is relaxing while other music you need to help you push through your last set of reps in the gym. From Lunessence Winery, they note “Our winemaking and cellar aging are accompanied by operas composed by Giuseppe Verdi, W. A. Mozart, Gioacchino Rossini, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Pietro Mascagni and others. Each wine requires different technique, music and feeling.”
I have heard of other wineries around the world using music to help age their wines, and they claim that you can taste the difference. One other winery that I do remember visiting was the Montes winery in Chile, where they play Gregorian Chants.
Lunessence Winery sent me 9 wines from their latest release. Today I will cover 5 of the 9 wines and follow it up with a second article with the other 4 wines.
A White and Two Reds
Lunessence Sauvignon Blanc – Muscat 2016 ($22) – These grapes were hand-picked on October 20 from the Slow Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. Fermentation was in stainless steel tanks, with a portion coming from natural yeasts. Although the wine is described as Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat, there are tiny bits of Viognier, Chardonnay and Semillon in the blend as well, which could be a result of the vineyard having a mix of vines. Pale straw with small bubbles accumulating on the edge of the glass. It has a youthful nose, very flowery, together with lime and stone fruit. With decanting, grapefruit aroma become more prominent.This wine is off-dry+, round, medium plus acidity/body/flavour intensity. It has a fairly thick mouth feel. Flavours of flowers, lime, citrus, lychee, apple, and blossom. All flavours are light and invite rather than command your attention. Decanting also brings out grapefruit flavour. The wine has medium length, and flavours of apples, tart & sweet citrus, pepper and lychee at the very end.
Rating: – Upon first opening Muscat is more prominent than the Sauvignon Blanc, but with some air, the grapefruit from the Sauvignon Blanc comes out. An enjoyable wine with friends.
Lunessence Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($30) – Picked on October 10, 2015, this wine was first aged in a mix of oak barrels for 6 months; some neutral, then stainless tanks for another 6 months, and finally 3 months in bottle. This wine and the Merlot below are both unfined and unfiltered, which you do notice when you pour the wine in your glass. The wine is deeply coloured, muddied due to being unfined and unfiltered, and a mix of both ruby and garnet colours. The wine upon first opening has a closed nose, with light aromas of plum, black cherry, and hints of vanilla and oak. With decanting you get a bit more aroma intensity, and also now enjoy some cassis and smokiness on the nose. The wine is dryish, having a sweet entry, medium acidity, tannins and alcohol. The body and flavour intensity are medium plus, but the flavours of plums, red cherries, raspberries, and red fruit are tightly wound together. I tasted this wine 24 hrs after first opening it, and then tasted it a third time later that day and it slowly opened up with more fruit; primarily plum. I think that this wine can really stand a long decant time for your enjoyment. Along with the fruit flavours, I did pick up on some perfume, vanilla and chocolate flavours. The wine has a medium length, but I wish it lasted a wee bit longer. The sweet entry I picked upon did also show up on the finish. Drying tannins and oak on the finish.
Rating: With decanting I give this wine 4.5 stars, as it really does need time to breathe so you can enjoy it. A quality wine, but not as expressive as their Merlot. It could be that some bottle aging will help bring out the aromatics and flavours in this wine.
Lunessence Merlot 2015 ($30) – Picked a few days earlier, on October 6, 2015, this wine, underwent full fermentation, and was then aged in oak, tank, and bottle, as was the Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a deep garnet, muddied colour, as it is unfined and unfiltered. It starts off with a light intensity nose, but after about 1.5 hrs of decanting the aromas become stronger. It is mostly raspberries on the nose, but also some red cherry and plum. Decanting brings out the plums as well as some smokiness. The wine is dry, fuller bodied, round with a firm tannic backbone. Good acidity. Heavier mouth feel. Flavours of plum and lesser amounts of raspberries, peppery spice and vanilla. Decanting brings out the raspberry flavour. The wine has a medium length, and finishes with bitter oak and pepperiness.
Rating: This is a wine with a firm mouth feel. The plums and raspberries are enjoyable on the nose and palate, but you need to decant this wine to really enjoy it.
Winemaker’s Cut is the first attempt by the winery to show a wine that the winemaker has produced that is as close to the grapes that came out of the vineyard. A moment in time captured. There are two wines that made the Winemaker’s Cut.
Lunessence Winemaker’s Cut Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($24) – The grapes for this wine were hand-picked at Colin and Mike Stevens’ vineyard in Osoyoos on September 15, 2016. After destemming and crushing, the juice was kept in skin contact for 24 hours to help draw out the flavours from the grape skins. A partially wild ferment took place in stainless steel tanks, then 20% of the wine was aged in Slovakian barrels for five months. This wine is a pale lemon green in the glass. It has a medium plus intensity aromas of ripe stone fruits and melon, with some green herbal hiding behind the fruit. I also picked up some Mandarin orange notes. On the palate the wine is Dry to off-dry, with light mouth feel, semi round, and has a light acidic prickle in your mouth. There are a mix of fruit flavours; citrus first, including lime and mandarin orange, followed by stone fruits. You also get some herbal character, but it is not very strong, as well as some chalky minerality. With decanting the green herbacousness comes out more. The wine has a medium length, finishing with mouth-watering acidity, pepperiness, tart green fruit and some bitterness.
Rating: An elegant wine that doesn’t bludgeon you. A nice mix of fruit flavours that transitions subtly.
Lunessence Winemaker’s Cut Syrah 2015 ($32) – These grapes were also handpicked from Colin and Mike Steven’s vineyard in Osoyoos, on October 12, 2015. Fermentation was 100% natural, and took place in stainless steel tanks. The wine was aged in a variety of oak barrels for 14 months. Medium plus intensity ruby. Translucent but almost opaque at the core. It has a medium intensity nose, showing violets, raspberries, and plums with smoked meat later on. An intriguing nose. With decanting the floral component reduces, and you pick up some nutmeg aromas. The wine is dry and round, a bit silky, with medium tannins and a lighter mouth feel. The wine is fuller bodied with fuller flavour intensity. More ripe plums and black fruit, followed by ripe raspberries. You also get a hint of smokiness, black pepper and light oak touch. Medium length, finishing with flavours of cherries and plums, along with some bitter oakiness.
Rating: A quality, understated Syrah. A nice balance of fruit and mouth feel. Drink or, or wait 2-3 years.
As a side note, the corks used by Lunessence are top quality.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
As this is a small winery, their production of wines is quite small; all around 250 cases, some more and some less, so the wines will likely sell out fast as they are good quality wines. The wines can be purchased online, or by visiting the winery at 5716 Gartrell Rd. Summerland, BC. Everything Wine also does carry some of their wines.