This is my third time to review Meyer Family Vineyards’ wines, and I am always impressed with them. Each vintage I think is getting better as the wine maker gets a better feel for the terroir of their vineyards. For this review, I tasted the 2009 vintage of 3 of Meyer Family Vineyards’ Chardonnay, plus a new wine for me, simply called Meyer Pinot Noir 2009. The Pinot Noir is produced from grapes sourced throughout the Okanagan, rather than from a single vineyard, such as their McLean Creek Road Vineyard Pinot Noir.
If you have not heard of Meyer Family Vineyards, here is a bit of background. In 2006 JAK Meyer and his family purchased a small 1.62 ha vineyard on the Naramata Bench and in late 2008 they purchased a 6.9 ha property in Okanagan Falls. From these two small vineyards, they produce less than 2000 cases from mature 14 year old vines. Their wine maker, Chris Carson spent eight years in New Zealand, California and Montrachet (Burgundy, France). He especially loves the heartbreak grape, Pinot Noir. He is a graduate of Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand with his Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology. Chris has in my opinion very good experience in the New World (NZ) style of producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as the Old World, working in the famous Montrachet area. (BTW, in the pronunciation of Montrachet, do not pronounce the letter ‘t’.)
As I have been doing in other sit-down tasting reviews, where I can control the timing of the tasting, I taste the wines two times. The first time is shortly after opening the bottle, and the second time is 1-2 days after the initial tasting, so I can see if or how the wine has changed with exposure to air.
The first wine for this review is the Meyer Family Vineyards McLean Creek Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2009 ($35). This vineyard is located in Okanagan Falls, which is south of Naramata in the Okanagan. The vineyard slopes slightly to the south and is slightly warmer than their Naramata vineyard, which in theory should make for riper, more tropical fruit aromas and flavours in this wine. Medium lemon colour in the glass. It has a youthful nose with medium intensity of aromas. Tropical fruit, citrus, vanilla, butter and yeasty aromas. On the palate it is medium plus in body, dry on the palate, smooth mouth feel, with medium plus flavour intensity. For flavours I picked up tropical fruit, citrus, vanilla, honey, butter, oak and almonds. On the second day of tasting, I also noted dried fruit flavours as well. There was a hint of spice on the finish with quite a long length. This is a very elegant wine. Not too oaky. Good fruit. It is ready to drink, but can be aged for a few years.
The second wine was the Tribute Series, Kenny McLean, Old Main Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2009 ($35). This is the vineyard located in the Naramata Bench. The Tribute Series recognizes a western Canadian for an outstanding achievement in their field. This year they paid tribute to Kenny McLean, considered by many to be the greatest ever Canadian cowboy. Kenny was a World Champion Bronc rider and Canadian Rodeo titleholder from the Okanagan. He was inducted into the American National Rodeo Hall of Fame, the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, the BC Hall of Fame, and is the only cowboy to ever receive the Order of Canada. This wine is a medium lemon colour in the glass. The nose is showing some developing characteristics. Medium intensity aromas. There were aromas of citrus, pear, vanilla, butter, honey and bit of tropical fruit. It was dry on the palate with medium acidity and body. Flavours of tropical fruit, apple, butter, vanilla, and a hint of lime, and some minerality. Some cinnamon spice with a long finish. This wine is also quite nice. You can drink it now but it can age a few years. Good acidity to balance the fruit and the butteriness of the wine.
The last chardonnay is the top tier wine from Meyer Family Vineyards; their Micro Cuvee, Old Main Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2009 ($64.90). According to MFV, “…this is the most complex, balanced, textured Chardonnay wine made of three barrels selected from their “Old Main Road” vineyard. This wine was put together to age and will reward cellaring. The new oak component is identical as the Tribute Chardonnay (33% new French oak) but at this stage the oak is more pronounced than in the Tribute. The new oak component will integrate with the fruit components wonderfully with time in the cellar. The remaining two barrels consisted of a one year and two year old French oak barrel…” This wine is a deep lemon colour. Medium intensity aromas that show some developing characteristics. Tropical fruit, apple, yeast, oak, vanilla, butter and honey aromas. It is dry on the palate with medium plus level of acidity. Very pronounced flavours and quite full bodied. Citrus, tropical fruit, dried fruit, oak, vanilla, butter, honey and some minerality. Lots roundness in the mouth, but has that higher level of acidity to balance it out. There is a tiny hint of spice. The oak is very integrated with the wine. It’s there in the background. I rate this as an outstanding wine and can be aged for further complexity.
The last wine for this review is the Meyer Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir 2009 ($25). As mentioned earlier, this wine is produced from grapes sourced throughout the Okanagan. It is medium garnet in colour in the glass. It has medium intensity aromas in the glass. Upon first swirl, there is a vegetal character to the wine followed by aromas of red currant, raspberry, red and black cherry, and vanilla. It is dry on the palate, with medium levels of acidity and tannin. It has lots of violets and red fruit flavour, along with raspberry, red cherry, blackcurrant leaf, oak, and a bit of spice. Medium plus length, with a good tannic structure. This is a very enjoyable Pinot Noir, but some people may not like the vegetal character. If you are one of those people, try not to swirl the wine too much in the glass or aerate it in your mouth. I think that this wine is good to drink now. I might suggest aging it for one year, but I think better to drink it younger rather than older.
If you would like to order any of the above wines, I reviewed, here is the Meyer Family Vineyards online order form link.
The previous two reviews I did for Meyer Family Vineyards are: