Two Concrete and Amphora Aged Red Wines, Pinot Noir and Malbec, from Okanagan Crush Pad

Haywire and Narrative wine labels
Haywire and Narrative wine labels

This summer has gone haywire with all the forest fires. I hope they get under control soon. But Haywire wine is something we can all enjoy now. I received a bottle of Okanagan Crush Pad‘s Haywire Garnet Valley Ranch Pinot Noir 2018 and their Narrative Malbec 2018 to review. Both are wines that age in concrete or clay amphora and do not see any oak treatment. And both are vegan-friendly wines.

My Wine Tasting Notes

Haywire Garnet Valley Ranch Pinot Noir 2018

The Garnet Valley Ranch Vineyard, located in Summerland, BC, is certified organic.  According to the winery for this wine, the “Grapes were destemmed with our revolutionary Oscillys and placed into concrete and open-top stainless tanks for native yeast fermentation. Gentle punchdowns twice daily allow the soft sensual tannins to evolve delicately. After four weeks on skins the wine is basket pressed and gravity-induced to concrete tanks for ageing on lees for 10 months before being bottled unfiltered.”

Appearance: A deeper garnet colour, about 60% opaque and translucent to the core.
Nose: Pronounced aromas with lots of leather, followed by red fruits and red cherries. There is less leather aroma and more sweet red fruits and raspberries with decanting.
Palate: Dry, lean with medium-plus bright acidity that leaves a prickle on your tongue. Pronounced flavours of red fruits and red cherries along with some sourness and a strong leather plus iodine component on the finish. The wine generally has the same flavours and mouthfeel, but the leather & iodine is less and I picked up some tea leaves on the palate.
Finish: Medium length finishing with tart red fruits, some pepperiness, and higher acidity.

A wine that tastes better with some decant time to reduce the leather aroma and flavour.

Rating: 4 stars with decanting.  A unique / distinct Pinot Noir with a mix of leather and red fruit aromas.  Dry with a lighter mouthfeel.  Lean with bright acidity and prickle on your tongue.  Tart red fruits and red cherries flavours, with leather on the finish.

Haywire Garnet Valley Ranch Pinot Noir 2018 and Narrative Malbec 2018 with wines in glasses
Haywire Garnet Valley Ranch Pinot Noir 2018 and Narrative Malbec 2018 with wines in glasses

Narrative Malbec 2018 (BC $34.90)

According to the winery, “This Malbec was sourced from the Cabana Vineyard on the Osoyoos lakefront. Fermented in Nico Velo concrete tanks and aged on its lees in concrete for 10 months has led to this minimally intervened wine.”  The back label mentions a stainless steel ferment then 9 months of lees ageing in a clay amphora. So I am not sure which is correct.  I have not yet heard back from the winemaker.  When I do, I will update the info.

Appearance: Opaque ruby from the core almost to the rim. Tears on the glass with swirling.
Nose: A medium-intensity nose that reminds me a bit of Lambrusco. I get raspberry and blackberry aromas, plus some candied cherries and a touch of sweet spices. Same aromas with decanting, but a little lighter in intensity.
Palate: This wine is slightly off-dry (listed as 0.2 residual sugar, but has a sweet taste), soft, and lean with a lighter mouthfeel. Very light acidity. Again some reminder of Lambrusco to me. Raspberries and blackberries along with a rustic component. The wine softens a bit with swirling and you get a touch of violets. The violet flavour is more evident with decanting.  The wine still has the ripe berry flavours and light acidic prickle, plus the rustic component has gone.
Finish: A medium-length finishing with fruit and some light pepperiness. Violets on the finish with decanting.

The decanted version is better in my opinion.  You get more violets and less rustic flavours.

Rating: 4 stars with decanting.  An interesting wine with Lambrusco-like aromas, with raspberries, blackberries and a touch of sweet spices. Slightly off-dry with a lean mouthfeel, and light acidity.  A reminder of Lambrusco with the raspberry and blackberry flavours, plus violets with air.

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

The Haywire Garnet Valley Ranch Pinot Noir 2018 is not yet available for sale at the winery’s website. I do see the 2016 vintage available online. The Narrative Malbec 2018 is available for purchase online. These wines may be available at your local wine shop, but you need to ask.

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.