We are well into Spring, spot prawn season is almost here, halibut season is here, and fresh white BC wines are being released for us to enjoy with them. A case in point is Spearhead Winery‘s Pinot Gris and Riesling 2020 that I have to review for you. Excluding COVID, the 2020 growing season had a delayed spring/summer, but then an excellent Fall, until it snowed Oct 23. Overall smaller yields, but I think the white wines came out with good acidity and fruit flavours. I am not too sure about the reds yet. Let me tell you about these two white wines from Spearhead. But first, let me introduce you to Spearhead’s winemaker.
Grant Stanley is the winemaker at Spearhead as well as the General Manager. You may remember Grant as the winemaker at Quails’ Gate in the past. One of Grant’s experiments at Spearhead was to make a white Pinot Noir. It has been a great success the first two vintages, but unfortunately none for 2020. Why? Read on.
Along with the wines that were sent to me to review, I also received a note from Grant about our upcoming growing season, which I thought I’d share with you.
“In the vineyard, the fall of 2020 transitioned nicely into a mild winter, meaning our vines had a better chance of survival and we experienced no major winter damage. Mother Nature has blessed us with a smooth spring transition and with the gradual temperature increase we should have a nice recovery after what was a tough 2019 winter. As a result of that prior winter, our 2020 volume is about 10% less than expected. For that reason, there will be a hiatus on the White Pinot Noir.“
Hopefully, we have a perfect spring, summer, and fall this year.
My Wine Tasting Notes
Spearhead Winery Golden Retreat Vineyard Pinot Gris 2020 (BC $20++)
10% of the Pinot Gris goes into neutral oak barrels to add texture to the wine.
Appearance: A medium intensity bright lemon colour with a hint of green colour.
Nose: Medium-plus intensity nose with mandarin orange, ripe stonefruit, honey, and bramble leaf / nettle aromas. You can add lime aroma to this wine after decanting.
Palate: This wine is a little off-dry, fuller-bodied with a thicker mouthfeel. Pronounced flavours, offering ripe stone fruit, citrus and touches of orange and honey. A distinct mineral streak. Medium-plus acidity upfront that softens mid-palate and gives you a nice round mouthfeel. You get prominent ripe stonefruit and honey flavours with decanting.
Finish: A longer finish with ripe stone fruits and tart citrus, bright acidity, touches of pepperiness, bramble leaf and honey. A little stronger honey note with decanting on the finish.
Lots of ripe BC fruits. No need to decant or rush to drink.
Rating: Lots of ripe stone fruit, mandarin orange and some bramble leaf on the nose. Off-dry, fuller-bodied and a thicker mouthfeel. Ripe stonefruit, citrus, minerality and a touch of honey. Bright acidity.
Spearhead Winery Riesling 2020 (BC $21++)
They decided to keep 50% of the fruit whole bunch and foot stomped to provide texture and ripe fruit flavours.
Appearance: A bright lemon colour; medium intensity.
Nose: Medium-plus intensity nose with very distinct lime and spearmint aromas, together with tropical fruit and some bramble leaf. With decanting this wine has a much stronger tropical fruit nose.
Palate: Slightly off-dry, medium-plus body, round with a medium intensity acidic backbone. A mix of sweet and tart citrus fruit, along with tropical fruit (most), lime, peach, and some spearmint flavours. The tropical fruit flavours are stronger with decanting.
Finish: A medium-plus length finishing with mouthwatering acidity and tropical fruit, tart citrus, a touch of orange and spearmint flavours.
A fresh and lively wine that should age nicely over the next 3-4 years.
Rating: – Quite aromatic; lime spearmint, tropical fruit and some bramble leaf. Medium-plus body, round with an acidic backbone. A little off-dry with tropical fruit, lime and other mixed sweet and tart citrus fruit flavours.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
These two wines are not yet available to the public. The existing 2019 Pinot Gris and Riesling need to be finished first. The 2019s are both tasty. Here are my tasting notes for them.
Spearhead Pinot Gris Golden Retreat Vineyard 2019 – with decanting. Bright fresh citrus and stone fruit aromas. Medium body, dry with a light acidic prickle A mix of citrus and stone fruit, then some pepperiness and honey on the finish.
SpearHead Winery Riesling 2019 – A solid Riesling with lots of tropical fruit and citrus aromas and flavours. Minerality adds some complexity on the palate as well. Buy some now but should age well for at least 5 years.
You can buy the 2019 wines online through SpearHead’s website. There is also quite an extensive list of retailers across most of BC.
Once travel during reduced COVID is allowed, hopefully this summer, you can visit Spearhead’s wineshop, which is offering visitors seated wine flights between 11am and 5:30pm.