Classic BC Bubble from Cipes Ariel 2000

Cipes Ariel 2000 sparkling wine
Cipes Ariel 2000 sparkling wine

What were you doing in 2000?  If it was just before January 1, you were probably worrying about all our computers and anything running with a computer chip and code stops running when the clocks turned to “00”.  Luckily we all survived.  This was a rare event.

Another rare event is vintage Champagne; that is Champagne made with a year on the label and all the fruit coming from that year.  Many Champagne houses only produce non-vintage Champagne so that they can blend from different years and have a consistent house style.  But sticking to one year with Champagne, or other sparkling wine, is making a statement.

My case in point is our very own Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna, BC, who recently released their Cipes Ariel 2000 vintage sparkling wine.  This wine is made with the Champenoise Method with the secondary fermentation and ageing happening in the bottle.  One of the amazing things about this sparkling wine is that it was sur lie (on the lees) aged for 17.5 years till the acidity toned down and the flavours were just right before disgorging and releasing the wine to the public.  This is a very special wine.

How It’s Made

Summerhill’s Cipes Ariel 2000 is made from all organic grapes; 60% Pinot Noir, 38% Chardonnay, and 2% Pinot Meunier.  As I mentioned after spending 17.5 years sur lie ageing the wine is disgorged. When a bottle of sparkling wine is disgorged most times a little sugar is added back to the bottle.  I was told that many trials were undertaken to decide the right amount of sugar and the right type, and in the end the dosage was made from highly rectified organic grape sugar emulsified in the Cipes Ariel to bring the final residual sugar level to 6 grams per litre.

The Label and the Bottle

Cipes Ariel 2000 sparkling wine label
Cipes Ariel 2000 sparkling wine label

This is a very uniquely shaped bottle and label, for a very unique wine.  In the Cipes’ family, one of the brother’s name is “Ari”.  Ari is also the Hebrew word for lion.  And “el” in Hebrew means “of God” and so you see many angels with names ending in el, like Gabriel, Uriel, and Michael. So you see on the label, the head of two lions facing each other and the heads each looking like angel wings. It is a very nicely done graphic.

The Cipes Gabriel 1991 cuvée (another sparkling wine they produce) was the first to be bottled in this cone-shaped glass bottle. The cone shape is evocative of their pyramid. The 2000 vintage was the last time the cone-shaped bottles were used.  All future vintages are in a more traditional sparkling wine shaped bottle.

My Tasting Notes

This wine really shows that it has been aged with a medium-plus ripe pear skin colour.  It has a nice fuller intensity nose showing toast, roasted pears, a hint of ginger and with a little swirling some butterscotch.  The wine is dry with medium-plus body and acidity.  Big depth feel in your mouth. Round and thick.  Toasty, pears, apples, and roasted apple flavours along with a touch of minerality and some butterscotch on the finish. There is also a bit of a sherry tone to the wine, which adds to its complexity.  You get light creamy bubbles that dance on your tongue.  They dissipate quite quickly after being poured. After 17.5 years sur lie you may have thought that this sparkling wine would have very little fruit flavour and more tertiary flavours like hay, lanolin or mushrooms, but you would be wrong.  This is a big sparkling wine with lots of depth of fruit flavours.  You may want to try this wine with pan-seared scallops topped with toasted nuts of your choice as a main course or with a slice of hazelnut torte for dessert.
Rating: 4.5 stars5 stars
Pouring glasses of Cipes Ariel 2000 sparkling wine to taste
Pouring glasses of Cipes Ariel 2000 sparkling wine to taste

Where Can I Buy This Wine?

You can purchase this wine at the winery for $100.  Locally in Vancouver, it is available at Liberty on Commerical Drive, Swirl in Yaletown, Libations in Shaughnessy, and at the Otter Co-op in Langley.
Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.