Let’s Have a Narrative About Riesling Before I Go Haywire With Chardonnay!

Okanagan Crush PadOkanagan Crush Pad has a few different labels that they produce wine under.  I think they like being able to produce different styles of wines through these different labels. Two labels are Narrative and Haywire. They describe Haywire as “Haywire offers pure, lively, wines that reflect the unique cool climate terroir of Canada’s Okanagan Valley.” and Narrative as “Narrative tells the story of what is most exciting about the Okanagan Valley: geological and climatic diversity in a wine region that spans 120km from north to south.”.  None of their wines are large production so if you find a wine you like, you should buy more of it before it sells out.  

I recently tasted their Narrative Riesling 2018 and the Haywire Secrest Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay 2018. They note that the Narrative Riesling came from a warmer site in Osoyoos, and that the wine underwent fermentation using indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks and was followed by 8 months of ageing in concrete egg-shaped tanks. 

OCP’s Secrest Mountain Vineyard they describe is a 50 acre site, that is composed of a 38 acre vineyard situated on a flat south-west facing bench in a high mountain setting at 1,600ft asl. This elevated site is cooler and has a mixed soil of alluvial material along with coarse gravel, and sandy loam with limestone layers. The vineyard was planted in 2000 with Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir. Since 2010, it has been farmed under the direction of Okanagan Crush Pad and starting 2014 has been converted to organic farming practices. The vineyard was purchased in 2018 when the original owners retired and sold it to OCP. 

The Chardonnay that I tasted was whole bunch pressed into two egg-shaped concrete tanks for a long, slow native ferment followed by malolactic fermentation. It was then left on its lees for 10 months to add texture and richness before being bottled sans filtering.  Let’s get into my tasting notes for these 2 wines.

My Tasting Notes

Narrative Riesling 2018 (BC $22.90 for the 2017 vintage) – This wine has a medium-plus intensity lemony gold colour and I noted tiny bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass. It has a medium-minus intensity nose with petrol blended with stone fruits, in particular peach, apple blossom, honey, and with some air you can add lime. With decanting there is slightly less stone fruit aroma. The wine is off-dry and round but these are offset by very high acidity. It is fuller bodied with pronounced flavours of stone fruits, floral, lime, petrol, and honey. This wine also has some salty minerality. Very bright fruit flavours. Acidic tension. With decanting the wine has lighter lime flavour and is a bit more floral.   The mouthfeel also gets lighter from the mid-palate to the finish.  The wine finishes with mouth watering acidity and flavours of honey, peach, lime, and with some air, crab apples . This very high level of acidity plus the fantastic fruit is going to give this wine a long lifespan and will develop into a fantastic wine over the next 4-8 years or longer. It is not a wine to sip on it’s own at the moment.  Try it with dishes, such as grilled lemongrass chicken or a shrimp & papaya salad.

Rating: 4.5 stars  A wine that has a nice mix of stone fruit, petrol and apple blossom aromas.  It has very high acidity and bright stone fruit, lime, and honey flavours.  A wine with great ageing potential.  Buy some for 4-8 years.

Haywire Secrest Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay 2018 (BC $26.90) – has a medium-plus to deep lemon-gold colour in the glass. It has a medium-plus intensity nose with lots of ripe tropical fruit, pineapple in particular, butterscotch, some citrus and toasty oak. I did not notice any major change on the nose with decanting.  The wine is dry but feel off-dry due to the abundance of ripe pineapple, cut apple and pear flavours. It has a medium-plus body and intensity of flavour. A thicker, round, smooth mouth feel, with a very light acidic prickle. The fruit flavours lead to toasty oak that then leads to pepper and butterscotch flavours. Nice texture. With decanting the wine gets a slightly lighter mouthfeel; no change to the flavours. It finishes with lingering roasted pears, tropical fruit, pineapple, butterscotch and pepperiness. A big buttery wine with lots of pineapple and toasty oak.  If you are an unoaked Chardonnay fan, this wine may not be for you, but if you like a bigger, riper oaked style of Chardonnay you will love this one.  I’d grill some pork chops to enjoy with this wine.  I did try this wine with Alexis De Portneuf Capriny Goat Cheese and it made a nice pairing.

Rating: 4.5 stars Bigger, riper pineapple, butterscotch, and toasty oak aromas and flavours.  A thicker mouthfeel. Very smooth.

Okanagan Crush Pad's Narrative Riesling 2018 and Haywire Secrest Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay 2018 with wine in glass
Okanagan Crush Pad’s Narrative Riesling 2018 and Haywire Secrest Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay 2018 with wine in glass

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

You can order Haywire and Narrative wines online on their website. Swirl Wine Store sells Haywire wines and Narrative wines.

Everything Wine does sell some of Haywire and Narrative wines.  Okanagan Crush Pad’s website does provide a web search for private shops and restaurants offering their wines.

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.