Progress is well underway in the BC Pinot Noir Review, although you may not see things happening. Working diligently, I have been tasting and writing detailed notes on the BC Pinot Noirs you see below, and many more to come. In addition, I am tasting many of these wines with Sam Hauck, @Sam_WineTeacher on Twitter, who belongs to the BC Guild of Wine Judges. I think that it is very useful to have two people tasting these wines together, as there is the extra complexity that comes with red wines; having both skin contact in the fermentation process, as may use oak barrels in the fermentation process or in ageing.
I would like to thank Sam for working with me on reviewing the wines. It is quite interesting as we did note differences in groups of bottles, such as some having detectable residual sugar, while others may show minerality or cedar aromas. If you find a bottle(s) description that sounds interesting to you, please go to your local BC liquor store or private bottle shop to buy it and try it. Enjoy these notes, and more to come.
BC Pinot Noir Wine Notes
Tightrope Pinot Noir 2014 – Lighter, translucent mixed ruby and garnet colours in the glass. Light, youthful aromas of baby powder, red cherry, ripe raspberries and red fruit, together with some smokiness and sweetness on the nose. It is slightly off-dry, with medium body, tannins and acidity. Round with red cherry flavour that builds to the finish, along with raspberries and other red fruits, and a hint of plum. Violets on the mid-palate, and a hint of nutmeg. With decanting you get some black currant leaf and chocolate. The flavours are less intense with decanting. It finishes with mouth-watering acidity and the tannins & flavour drops off quite quickly. Decanting is recommended for this wine.
Rating: with decanting.
50th Parallel Estate Pinot Noir 2014 – Medium garnet in colour. Translucent to the core. Medium intensity nose, with aromas of smoky raspberries, red fruits, red cherries, and a whiff of vanilla. The same aromas continue with decanting. Dry, with medium mouthfeel, medium body and acidity, but medium-plus acidity. Light minerality on the tongue. Mostly raspberries and other red fruits, with lesser amounts of red cherry and red plums. A hint of violets, black currant leaf on the mid palate and also some tobacco to the finish. With decanting you get more smokiness on the palate. Smoke, sour red cherries, and black currant leaf on the finish. Fine tannins. Some hotness. With decanting you also get some pepperiness on the finish. Decanting recommended.
Rating: with decanting.
Nk’Mip Cellars Pinot Noir 2014 – Medium plus garnet with a purple tinge. Translucent to the core. Slightly less than medium intensity, with aromas of red and black cherries, vanilla, black pepper, and light sweet spice and milk chocolate. With decanting the black pepper aroma decreases and milk chocolate aroma increases. Dry, round, with heavier mouthfeel. Fine tannins. Violets followed by red cherries and plums, other red and black fruits, together with light vanilla and nutmeg. With decanting you also get raspberries on the palate. Medium length. Very smooth finish, but finishes a bit too soon. With decanting you get some pepperiness and floral on the finish.
See Ya Later Ranch Pinot Noir 2013 – Lighter, translucent garnet in the glass, with medium intensity, youthful aromas of sweet, smoky raspberries, nutmeg, red fruit and sweet red cherries. The red cherries providing support from behind the raspberry aroma. Dry, very light mouthfeel with fine tannins, which do increase toward the finish. The wine is quite perfumed with violets and/or roses. Raspberries, and other red fruits, plums, nutmeg, and a hint of chocolate. It also has a mineral feel to it. Medium length with a bit of sweetness, together with chocolate and black cherries on the finish. A light, elegant wine.
Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Private Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 – Quite translucent, lighter garnet in colour. Medium intensity nose, with lots of fruits: red currants, cranberries, sour and sweet cherries. Whiff of vanilla and baby powder, which disappears with decanting, and is replaced by floral and smoky components. Dry, medium body with a silky mouthfeel. Very soft tannins. Sweet fruit flavours of red fruit, raspberries and plums, with hints of bramble and smoke. With decanting you also get perfume, sweet spices, and crisp red apple. Medium length, finishing with pepperiness, some bitter leaf and residual sugar. The sweetness in the wine is present from start to finish.
Fort Berens Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2013 – A deeper intensity mix of ruby and garnet colours in the glass. Medium intensity nose, with aromas of flowers, red fruits, raspberries and cherries, and a hint of oak. With decanting, you get pronounced baby powder aromas, and overall a very pretty, feminine nose. Dry, with medium acidity, body, and intensity, and light tannins. It has a salty minerality to it. Quite mouth filling but has a wonderful slippery, silky feeling to it. A mix of softness and tartness to the wine. Red cherries and raspberries with some darker fruit flavours. Hints of pepper, spice, perfume and tar. With decanting the tartness decreases and is more floral. It has medium length, with pepperiness, some bitterness and oak on the finish. Also a bit hot. With decanting the pepperiness and hotness decreases. The wine really opens up nicely with decanting.
Rating: with decanting.
Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir 2013 – Pale garnet in colour. Completely translucent. Medium minus intensity nose, with pronounced acetone on the nose, together with red fruit, raspberry, red currant and a hint of strawberry. With decanting the acetone aroma decreases, and you get some smokiness. It is dry, angular, with a lighter mouthfeel. The acetone aroma continues to the palate but does decrease with decanting. Medium-bodied, but medium-plus intensity of flavour. Red cherries, red fruit, red currant, with a hint of raspberry and perfume. You also get salty minerality in this wine. Medium length, with tart red fruit, sour cherries, some heat and pepperiness.
Black Cloud Altostratus 2013 – Medium plus garnet red in colour. Pronounced nose with developing aromas. Red fruit, minerality, sweet spice, leather, cedar, perfume, and hint of meatiness. It also had a very interesting and unique, light turmeric/curry spice component. The turmeric/curry spice component goes away with decanting and you get candied sweet red cherries. It is dry, but has a hint of residual sugar. Light mouthfeel, but very intense, upfront fruit flavours. Sweet fruits consisting of raspberries and red fruits, together with lesser red cherries. Perfume, sweet spice and hints of cedar, leather, earth and meatiness. Also some minerality. With decanting you get red candied cherry and nutmeg. Medium-plus length, with some astringency. Firmer tannins and some residual sugar on the finish. Ready to drink but maybe get a bottle or two extra and age for 3-5+ years.
Rating: Less complex aromas with decanting, but you get nice candied cherries on the nose and palate.
Meyer Family Vineyards Reimer Family Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 – Medium garnet in colour. Medium, developing aromas with matchsticks and smokiness, together with raspberry leaf, raspberries and red fruit and a hint of cedar and meatiness. The matchstick smokiness dissipates quickly in the glass. It is slightly off-dry, round, with medium-plus mouthfeel and flavour intensity. Sweet fruit flavours of raspberries and red cherries. Light pepperiness and smokiness, with a streak of minerality floating above the fruit. You also get light toast, meatiness and raspberry leaf. Medium-plus length with red cherries, pepperiness and light tannins. It becomes less peppery with decanting. The wine feels thinner with decanting, so I would recommend drinking this wine as soon as you open it.
Rating: without decanting.
Meyer Family Vineyards McLean Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 – Medium-plus depth of garnet colour in the glass, but still translucent to the core. The nose is pronounced; rich and layered. All aromas are in balance. You get raspberries, red cherries, fig, dried fruit, perfume, nutmeg, oak, cedar, sweet spices, nutmeg and more! The wine is dry but you do get a hint of residual sugar. Heavier mouthfeel, quite round and very fruity. The aromas on the nose follow to the palate. Fruit dominates with other flavours, like leather and earth are more in the background. Long length with the flavours getting stronger toward the finish. Medium tannins on the finish together with sour cherries and smoky raspberries.
Rating: An excellent example of BC Pinot Noir.
Bench 1775 Pinot Noir 2013 – Medium ruby-red intensity in colour. Medium intensity nose with developing aromas. It had some funky odours at the very start but they went away quickly. You get red cherries, raspberries, strawberries red fruit, sweet spice and vanilla with light perfume. With decanting the strawberry note disappears. Dry, medium acidity and body. It does have medium-plus tannins. Round, with some minerality. Red fruit, red currant, strawberry, oak and perfume, with light black currant leaf flavours. Between medium and medium-plus length. Fine tannins and cherries on the finish. You can enjoy this wine now, or give it a few years in the bottle.
Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery Pinot Noir 2013 – Medium-plus intensity garnet coloured. Clean, medium-plus nose. Delicate with aromas of red cherries, red currant, sweet spice, and hints of vanilla, earth and meatiness. With decanting you get the same aromas, but they were noticeably accentuated. Dry, but still has a hint of residual sugar. Round, with medium tannins, and heavier mouthfeel. Lighter acidity. Red cherries, plums, dried fruit, sweet spices, and hints of perfume and vanilla. Medium length with firm tannins on the finish, and flavours of sweet spices and black cherries. Decanting also intensifies the flavours of this wine.
Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery King’s Ransom Pinot Noir 2012 – Deep ruby in colour. Nearly opaque from core to rim. Medium intensity nose, of raspberries and blackberries, red fruit and red currants, together with pepperiness and sweet spices, and a hint of smoke and oak. Dry, medium-bodied, with medium acidity and lighter tannins. Round mouthfeel. Red fruit, raspberry and blackberry, plum, and toward the finish you get perfume and cedar. You also get light oak and chocolate flavours. Medium-plus length, with firmer tannins on the finish and some hotness. Needs some more fruit to balance out that hotness.
Gehringer Brothers Private Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 – Medium garnet in colour; translucent to the core. Medium intensity nose, with bright red fruit, raspberries, red cherries, bramble, and sweet spices, with light vanilla, perfume and smoky oak. Dry, with medium acidity/tannins/body. Quite fruity flavour. More red fruit and raspberry, followed by red cherry. Also perfume and sweet spice, and a hint of oak. Light minerality and a hint of residual sugar as well. Medium length with mouth-watering acidity and fine tannins on the finish. Some bitter leaf on the finish.
Rating: A light, elegant Pinot. Nice to sip leisurely.
Haywire Canyonview Vineyard Pinot Noir, Raised in Concrete, 2012 – Medium garnet in colour. Medium intensity, with aromas of red fruit, red cherries, sweet spices, smoke, earth, and hints of perfume, candied cherries, and meatiness. With decanting you can add a strawberry scent to the nose. Dry, medium body/tannins/alcohol, but quite round and silky. Also has a salty minerality to it. Sour cherries, dried raspberries, red fruit, smoke and hints of violets and earth. Medium-plus length with fine tannins and tart cherries on the finish. With decanting the wine becomes more peppery on the finish and less sour cherries. This wine goes very nicely with dark chocolates.
Rating: A bigger, rounder Pinot Noir from BC.
Moraine Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2013 – Medium plus garnet with ruby tones in the glass. Medium nose, that has both youthful and developing components to it. Aromas of red fruit, raspberries, red cherries, and light matchstick/toasted oak, smoke, bacon, earth and meatiness. Dry, but has a bit or residual sugar on the entry. Medium-plus acidity and body. Fuller mouthfeel. Red fruit, raspberries and red cherries, together with sweet spices on the palate. This wine gets peppery toward the finish, together with smokiness and sour cherries. Medium-plus length. Smokiness and candied cherry flavours are also more evident with decanting.
Rating: An outstanding wine that will only get better as it ages. Buy several bottles.
Niche Wine Co Pinot Noir 2014 – A medium-plus garnet coloured wine. Translucent to the core. An intense darker nose that did have some funky notes at the start but went away with decanting. Raspberry jam, red cherry, a hint of nutmeg and some dustiness on the nose. Dry, round, smooth, with a heavier mouthfeel. Fruit forward with bright acidity on the palate. Red fruit, red and black cherries and a hint of smokiness on the palate. With decanting you get some perfume, vanilla, raspberries and red candied cherries. Medium-plus length with fine tannins on the finish, and flavours of tart red cherries, smoke, pepperiness and vanilla. Heavier mouth feel on the finish.
Rating: A solid Pinot Noir.
Cedar Creek Estate Winery Platinum Block 4, 2013 – Medium garnet in colour, with a duller colour to it, which with backlighting, looks like it comes from being unfiltered. Medium intensity nose, with deep and brooding aromas. Ripe black cherries and other black fruits, pepper, plums, and hints of allspice, cedar, sweet spices, chocolate and earth. It is dry, round, and heavier in the mouth. With pronounced ripe black fruit, and intense deep, dark fruit flavours. Together with plums, red fruit, raspberry and hints of roses, chocolates and earth. With decanting you get more red fruit coming to the fore, along with some violets. Long finish. Firm tannins and ripe cherries on the finish. Should be able to age at least 5-10 years.
Rating: A deeper, dark fruit flavour Pinot Noir. Decanting gives you more red fruit character.