Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvée 2018 – A Pretty Pinot with a Light Touch

Spearhead Winery produces very nice Pinot Noir wines that I have had the pleasure of reviewing over many years.  I received a bottle of their latest release the Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvée 2018 to review.  They used Pinot Noir clones Pommard, Dijon Clones 777, 828, 667, and 115, and Mt Eden in the production of their Cuvée blend.  The exact percentages by clone are 28% Pommard, Dijon Clones 30% 777, 18% 828, 8% 667, and 8% 115, and 8% Mt Eden.  Each clone offers different attributes such as colour, tannins, fruit flavours, or particular aromas.  Let me tell you about the clones and then my wine tasting notes.

What Flavours and Aromas Do These Clones Offer?

A selection of Pinot Noir clones (Image courtesy www.princeofpinot.com)

Pinot Noir clones (Image courtesy www.princeofpinot.com)

Dijon Clone 115 – strong colour with a purplish hue, superior bouquet, elegant rich aroma, well structured, tannic, long, suitable for keeping. Juicy raspberry essence.

Dijon Clone 667 – strong colour, high-tone and quality aromas, dark cherry, raspberry, strawberry. Rich, spice flavours, fleshy, firm, with sweet tannins.

Dijon Clone 777 – strong and intense colours, strong aromas, round, tannic, and has ageing potential.

Dijon Clone 828 – provides colour and complexity to Pinot Noir while also adding acidity, full-flavoured with blackberry, plum, and red fruits. Because of its roundness and completeness, it has been said that this clone can make an excellent stand-alone wine.

Pommard 4 – expressive aromatics of wild strawberry with a woodsy perfume of sandalwood, pine and cedar. Plush texture and flavour concentration. Perfumed red berry fruit flavours and sometimes known for having a meaty, gamey edge.

Pommard 5 – firm tannins, deep colour and dark plummy flavours.

The top two clones used in this wine are Pommard and 777 so I would expect firm tannins, strong colours, and aromas and flavours of red fruits. Or, did the other clones make themselves more apparent in this wine?  Let’s check my tasting notes.

My Tasting Notes

Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvée 2018 with wine in glass
Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvée 2018 with wine in glass

Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvée 2018 ($40) –  the grapes for this wine were sourced from the Golden Retreat Vineyard in Summerland and their estate grapes in South East Kelowna. All Pinot clones were separately hand harvested, destemmed to small batches and cold soaked for 5-7 days before fermentation by indigenous yeasts. The total time on skins was 16-21 days.  The grapes were then gently pressed and the wine was aged for 13 months in French oak barrels (40% new barrels).  The wine did also undergo complete malolactic fermentation to convert the tarter malic acids into softer lactic acids. 

This wine has a lighter clear translucent to the core garnet colour, at least 60% translucent.  A medium plus intensity nose that is quite pretty.  I enjoyed the mix of tea leaves, sweet spices, red fruits, raspberries, blueberries, and plums, and maybe a touch of smokiness.  With decanting the smokiness because more prominent which I liked.  The other aromas stayed about the same except for the blueberries, which diminished. This with is dry, but round and soft, with a lighter mouthfeel.  Lighter acidity along with very light fine tannins that are more a suggestion than being a prominent aspect.  The wine is more on the red fruits, raspberries and light perfume aromas, but also has some blueberries, plums, oak and vanilla touches. With decanting the wine felt lighter, you get more red fruits and also some candied cherry flavours. It has a medium plus length finishing with flavours of raspberries, red fruits and floral.  Light oak tannins and some bitterness.  There is more acidity than tannins on the finish.  The wine gets some pepperiness on the finish with decanting. Overall a Pinot with an overall light touch.  No need to decant, but it doesn’t hurt if you do decant.

Rating: 4.5 stars A Pinot Noir with a light touch on the nose and palate.  Pretty red fruits, sweet spice and tea leaves aromas.  A light, soft mouthfeel, and flavours of red fruits, raspberries and a touch of floral.

From my notes I don’t think Pommard and 777 provided too many tannins, and maybe the other clones like 828 and 115 provided more of the nice fruit flavours. One reason for this could have been the growing season.  2018 was a cooler season, in particular August (which did have forest fire smoke) and September, which overall delayed the start of harvest around 2 weeks.  So this could reduce the amount of colour extracted from the grapes, while still allowing the ripe red fruit flavours to come through.  Tannins come from both grape skins, stems (if any are put in fermentation vessel), and oak barrels.  Depending on the winemaker’s undertakings for this vintage, the time on skins (16-21 days) plus time in old and new oak barrels (40% new oak. 13 months ageing) can affect the intensity of tannins in the wine.  So a bit of a complicated answer.

Where Can I Buy This Wine?

You can buy this wine online through SpearHead’s website. There is also quite an extensive list of retailers across most of BC.

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.