With every season, there is either grape growing, harvesting, vinification, aging, or bottling of wine. Recently I was happy to do some tasting in Vancouver of recently bottled wines from Le Vieux Pin and La Stella wineries. These two wineries from South Okanagan offer different styles of wines; Le Vieux Pin being produced in a more restrained French style, while La Stella in a more fruity and exuberant Italian style. But both done with upmost care to quality. In addition to tasting some of the latest bottles, media were also offered a comparison of syrahs from around the world, including from Le Vieux Pin. So let’s start with my review of Le Vieux Pin and La Stella’s wines.
My Reviews of Le Vieux Pin’s Wines
Le Vieux Pin Ava 2011. Primarily Viognier with some Roussanne and Marsanne (a Rhone Valley blend) from vines around the winery. A nice baking spice aroma with some floweriness, pine needles, and oranges. Medium minus body, orange and pine needle flavours. Medium acidity, dry with a mouth watering finish.
- Le Vieux Pin Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Comes from 3 separate vineyards, with a portion of the wine being oak aged. Light pine needle nose with a hint of vanilla. Light body, dry with pine needle flavour which changes to citrus on the finish.
- Le Vieux Pin Vaila Rose 2012. Grapes are from 4 different vineyards. Very light nose of candied cherries and some strawberries. Soft, round and dry, with more candied cherries and strawberry flavours. Behind those flavours, there is some citrus fruit.
- Le Vieux Pin Violette Syrah 2011. It has a very pronounced nose with violets, nutmeg, allspice, and red fruit. Medium plus body, with flavours of blueberries, red fruit, red cherries, and violets. Soft tannins with a medium plus length. A very nice, very flavourful wine.
My Reviews of La Stella’s Wines
La Stella LaStellina Rosato 2012. Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc blend for this rose. Very light aromas of strawberries. Medium minus body, off-dry, with strawberry flavour. Behind the strawberry there is some sweet cherry flavour. This is an easy sipper.
- La Stella Leggiero Un-Oaked Chardonnay 2012. Light citrus nose with some tropical fruit too. Slightly off dry, medium body with a bit of roundness on the palate. Light stone fruit flavours and medium length.
- La Stella Maestoso ‘Solo’ Merlot 2010. This wine is 100% Merlot aged in a blend of 85% large neutral oak barrels, 10% in new French oak, and 5% in 2nd fill French oak barrels. Medium ruby colour. Licorice on the nose with dark fruit and vanilla too. Very tasty, full bodied, round and dry. Very mouth filling. Lots of really ripe purple fruit, plum, cherries, some bitter blackberry leaf, long length with cinnamon spice on the finish. An excellent wine.
- La Stella Moscato d’Osyoos 2012. 85% Moscato Bianco and 15% Moscato Ottonell. Definitely has an orange bouquet combined with some floweriness. Sweet on the palate, quite mouth filling, syrupy feel upfront, followed by an acidic prickle on your tongue. Orange and citrus flavours, with a herbal edge to the wine. A fun, nice balanced wine.
- La Stella Vivace Pinot Grigio 2012. It has a herbal, citrus, and grapefruit skin aromas. Medium minus body, with lots of grapefruit flavour. Good acidity and dry on the palate. I really like this wine.
A Global Syrah Comparison
Why would you want to compare your wines to other wines from around the world? Why not? What makes a comparison like this interesting is how the difference in climate and terroir affects the same grape, syrah in this case. It is up to you to choose which you prefer; fruity, exuberant, restrained, dark and brooding. The syrahs we sampled:
- Nichol Syrah 2010 (BC)
- Le Vieux Pin Syrah 2010 (BC)
- Le Vieux Pin Syrah 2008 (BC)
- Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2010 (BC)
- Church & State Winery Syrah 2006 (BC)
- Jackson-Triggs Cabernet Sauvignon – Syrah – Viognier 2007 (BC)
- The Ojai Vineyards Syrah 2003 (Santa Barbara, California)
- Domaine Joël Champet Côte-Rôtie La Viallière 2005 (Rhone Valley, France)
- Burrowing Owl Syrah 2002 (BC)
- Okahu Estate Kaz Shiraz 1998 (New Zealand)
The majority of the wines were from BC. From my notes, I noted that the BC wines were typically medium bodied. There were aromas and/or flavours primarily of violets, coffee, smokiness, and dark fruit. I noted blueberries on the California Ojai Vineyards as well as the Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah. Lastly I noticed that some of the BC syrahs did show some minerality on the palate which I did not get on the other wines. The wines in this flight ranged from 1998 to 2010. The most aged, from New Zealand, still was very pleasant to drink, and probably at it’s peak. I think the BC syrahs showed up quite well against the other syrahs in this flight and we should be proud of our BC wines.