Are you seeing the forest or the trees? An airliner or a bird’s eye view? General or more specific? That is what I wondered as I tasted these two bottles of Pinot Gris by Okanagan Crush Pad’s Haywire Wines from Summerland, BC. that were sent to me to review. The first wine, Haywire Pinot Gris 2019, has grapes sourced from 4 Okanagan vineyards and fermented in concrete, stainless steel, and large oak foudre, and get 6 months of lees ageing. The second wine, Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2018, comes from 1 vineyard, is whole cluster pressed to concrete tanks and fermented with indigenous yeasts. The wine then went through full malolactic fermentation and left on lees for 10 months. What differences will I see between the more general 4 vineyard Pinot Gris and the very specific single vineyard Pinot Gris? Let’s see.
My Tasting Notes
Haywire Pinot Gris 2019 (BC $24.90) – This wine is a medium intensity bright lemon colour. A medium intensity nose with honey and pear aromas primarily along with lesser amounts of peach and some toastiness. Decanting just lessens the aromatic intensity a bit. The wine is dry and round with a thicker mouthfeel and an acidic prickle edge. The wine does have texture to it. Up front you get mainly ripe pears mixed equally with acidic prickle. You can then add some peach, cut apple and toasty oak. It becomes peppery on the mid-palate to the finish. With decanting I caught a whiff of tropical fruits and some minerality, while all the other flavours and textures remained. The wine has a medium length finishing with ripe pears, toast and acidic prickle. A solid quality wine.
Rating: A solid quality Pinot Gris. Deeply ripe pears with a touch of peach and toasty oak. Peppery toward the finish.
Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2018 (BC $26.90) – A deeper bright golden colour in the glass. This wine has a medium intensity nose with developing aromas, showing toasted almonds, ripe, roasted pears and a touch of roast beef. The roast beef aroma is not off-putting. It adds interest and is probably due to the fermentation with indigenous yeasts. You are never 100% sure what aromas and flavours you will get with indigenous yeasts. After decanting the aromas are primarily pears, the roast beef aroma disappears and you now get some apricots. The wine is dry with a creamy thicker mouthfeel. You get a mix of smoothness and acidic prickle to start, then the acidity fades by the mid palate. Deep roasted pear flavour, along with light peach and cut apples as well. With a little air you also get honey flavour and a reduction in the acidic prickle. With further decanting the acidic prickle further softens and you get a touch of oak. It finishes with a mix of stony and steely textures. On the finish you get ripe roasted pears, apples, some bitter stem, and pepperiness. A wine that is making a statement.
Rating: A wine that is making a statement about where it’s from. Ripe roasted pears primarily but has a touch of oak and honey, and an interesting mix of stony, steely, and creamy textures.