Meyer Family Vineyards goal is”crafting single vineyard wines of excellence“. This is my fourth review of their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines and each year their wines get better. More complexity, more balance. For this review I received a bottle of the following wines:
- Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay, McLean Creek Road Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, 2010
- Meyer Family Vineyards Tribute Series – Sonja Gaudet Chardonnay, Old Main Road Vineyard, Naramata, 2010
- Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, 2010
- Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, Reimer Vineyard, Kelowna, 2010
- Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, McLean Creek Road Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, 2009
Who Is Meyer Family Vineyards?
Just in case you are not family with Meyer Family Vineyards, they are a winery started in 2006 in the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan by JAK Meyer and his wife, Janice Stevens. They 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 15 year old vines. They have added Pinot Noir grapes and extended their land holdings in the Okanagan. In this release I see Pinot Noir coming from the Reimer Vineyard for the first time. They want to showcase the characteristics of each vineyard and express its place of origin through the wine. JAK and Janice, along with other oenophiles, think that Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are two grapes that really allow place of origin, and terroir to show through their wines.
The first Chardonnay to review is the Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay, McLean Creek Road Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, 2010. The grapes are planted in two separate blocks in the McLean Creek Road Vineyard with slightly different slopes and aspect. This variation in the blocks leads to differences in flavour development, which in turn leads to more complexity in the wine. The grapes were gently pressed and underwent a long, cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks, then transferred to 100% French oak (22% new) to complete fermentation. The wine was left “sur lees” for 10 months without stirring (battonage) to add an additional yeasty flavour component. Lees refers to deposits of dead yeast or residual yeast and other particles that precipitate to the bottom of the barrel after fermentation and aging. Lastly the wine went through a secondary malo-lactic fermentation, where the more astringent malic acids in the wine were converted to softer, more buttery, lactic acids. This wine was a medium lemony gold in colour in the glass. Medium intensity aromas in the glass of citrus, tropical fruit, cinnamon and vanilla. On the palate it was dry with fairly high acidity and quite full body. There was lots of fruit and acidity up front with vanilla coming in mid palate. Lemon, apple, pear fruit flavours as well as butter, vanilla, oak, and some minerality rounded out the palate. Nice round creamy mouthfeel. This wine had a long length. I’d rate it as very good quality. Read to drink but can reward you with aging. A very elegant wine, and maybe the best yet from the McLean Creek Road Vineyard.
The second Chardonnay was the Meyer Family Vineyards Tribute Series – Sonja Gaudet Chardonnay, Old Main Road Vineyard, Naramata, 2010. Each year the Meyer Family Vineyards pays tribute to a Western Canadian for an outstanding achievement in their field. This year the Tribute is to Sonja Gaudet. She is a Bronze, Silver, and Gold National Champion in the sport of Wheelchair Curling, a two-time World Champion in 2009 and 2011, and a two-time Paralympic Gold Medalist in Torino, Italy in 2006 and in Vancouver/Whistler in 2010. The Old Main Road Vineyard faces north which causes the vines to slowly ripen the grapes to produce a great spectrum of flavours while retaining good acidity and minerality. This wine went through the same fermentation process and aging as for the McLean Creek Road Chardonnay. The wine had a lemony gold colour in the glass. On the nose it had a medium intensity with aromas of tropical fruit, pear, vanilla and butter. Dry with medium plus body and intensity of flavour. Round, creamy and buttery with a bit of toast and honey on the palate. Flavours of citrus, tropical fruit, pears, apples, pepper, almond, vanilla, cinnamon and some lees. Quite a gamut of flavours from this wine. Medium plus length. Another very good, high quality wine that you can drink now, but I think will be even better with at least a year of aging.
Pinot Noir Review
The Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, 2010 is the entry level Pinot Noir for MFV. The grapes are sourced from throughout the Okanagan. It does have a screw top, which is different from all the other bottles which come with a cork. A screw cap helps keep in the fruity character of a wine. Medium ruby in colour with a youthful nose with aromas of violets, strawberries, red cherries and vanilla. There may also be a slight hint of cloves. Light bodied, dry, with low tannins and fairly high acidity. It had a bouquet of red currants, strawberries, red cherries, and some violets. Along with a bit of black currant leaf, vanilla and a hint of liquorice. Medium length. This wine is at it’s peak now, and the screw cap should keep it like that for a long time. Enjoy at your leisure.
The Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, Reimer Vineyard, Kelowna, 2010 is the newest vineyard as I mentioned earlier to provide Pinot Noir grapes. This vineyard is located in the more northerly end of the Okanagan in Kelowna, which should give you more of the red summer fruit characteristics compared to a warmer climate Pinot Noir. This vineyard has a northwesterly aspect, which should cause the grapes to ripen longer, giving more intensity of fruit flavour and still keeping a high level of acidity in the wine. The grapes were de-stemmed, with 25% left whole cluster. The grapes were allowed to cold soak to start bringing out the colour from the grape skins. After the cold soak, indigenous and cultured yeasts were used to ferment the grapes. The wines were later gently pressed and transferred to 100% French oak barrels (33% new) to age for 10 months. A natural malo-lactic fermentation occurred in the late spring. This wine had quite a deep ruby colour. Still a youthful nose with medium intensity aromas of violets, raspberries, red cherries, blackberries, vanilla, and a hint of liquorice. This is a fuller bodied Pinot Noir that has lots of fruit and a big bouquet of violets. Red fruit, raspberry, red cherry and raspberry leaf flavours along with vanilla. The acidity in the wine buoys up the violet and red cherry flavours. This wine is dry with a long finish. It’s a really nice wine, but could be aged for a few years for additional complexity.
The final Pinot Noir was the Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, McLean Creek Road Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, 2009. The same fermentation process was used for this wine as was used for the Reimer Vineyard grapes. While the Reimer Vineyard wine was ruby in colour, this wine was medium garnet. It does have a very pronounced nose with developing fruit characteristics. There are red fruits, red cherries, red & black currants, vanilla and oak, with hints of smoke, violets and some herbal aromas. Dry with higher levels of acidity, tannins and body. Red fruit, red cherry, strawberry, black currant and black currant leaf, some sweet spice, vanilla and a tiny bit of violet flavours on your palate. Very dry, long finish. This wine left the back of my tongue very dry, but shows it’s potential now with the good quality fruit flavours and higher acidity. Wait at least a year or longer for the tannins to soften and you should have an outstanding wine. Please note that this wine is not yet released, but will be available in the Spring of 2012.
The previous three reviews I did for Meyer Family Vineyards are: