According to Greek mythology, the Three Muses were the Greek goddesses of poetic inspiration, the adored deities of song, dance, and memory, on whose mercy the creativity, wisdom and insight of all artists and thinkers depended (greekmythology.com). The three Pinot Noirs from Spearhead Winery inspire me. Winemaker, Grant Stanley, is a great Maestro. He has created three beautiful Pinot Noirs for us all to enjoy coming from three different vineyards in the Okanagan. All three wines come from the 2019 harvest, which was cooler than the previous years, plus had rain in September. The result I was told by winemakers are wines that should have had high levels of acidity, but instead, the grapes still reached phenolic ripeness and produced balanced wines. Indeed, these three wines show excellent ripeness and balance.
There are of course the selection of Pinot clones and vinification methods involved in making these wines, which I will go into below. If you don’t know much about the differences in Pinot Noir clones, here is an article I’ve written about Pinot clones at Spearhead Winery, but for now let me tell you about these three beauties.
My Wine Tasting Notes
These wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, so you are getting as close to a barrel sample as possible, and what Grant Stanley would be tasting before bottling.
Spearhead Winery Coyote Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019 (BC $36)
The grape clones used and fermentation process from the winery, “Pinot Noir clone 115 was hand-harvested, destemmed into small batches and cold-soaked for 5-7 days before fermentation by indigenous yeasts. The total time on skins is 16 to 21 days. After gentle pressing, the wine completes malolactic fermentation in barrel and is aged 13 months in French oak (25% new).” Only 1 clone used.
Appearance: Deep garnet, 85% opaque, translucent to the core.
Nose: Very light sweet spices and red fruits with some floral with swirling. The aromas stay light with decanting; you can add candied red cherries.
Palate: Off-dry, soft and round, silky mouthfeel with lower acidity and softer tannins. Floral with red fruits, and candied red cherries mid-palate. A touch of oak and plum. Quite floral with decanting, but remains off-dry, silky with the red fruit and cherry flavours.
Finish: Medium length with firmer tannins. Nutmeg, sweet cherries, and candied cherries. Tart red fruit at the very end. With decanting you get tart red fruits, cherries, and pepperiness. Not much nutmeg spice. A longer length.
This Pinot does not change much with decanting so open and enjoy. 4-6 years of ageing is ok.
Rating: Very light aromas of sweet spices and red fruits. Off-dry, soft and round with lower acidity and softer tannins to start. Floral along with red fruits, candied cherries and light toasty flavours. Firmer tannins on the finish. Sweet and candied cherries, tart fruit flavours, and nutmeg on the finish.
Spearhead Winery Golden Retreat Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019 (BC $36)
The Golden Retreat Vineyard is located in Summerland. The grape clones used and fermentation process from the winery, “Pinot Noir clones 667, Pommard, 115 and 777 are each hand-harvested as ripening is reached. The cold soaking occurs for 5-7 days before wild fermentation begins. Time on skins is 16 to 21 days. After gentle pressing, the wine completes malolactic fermentation and is aged 13 months in French oak barrels (25% new).” 3 clones used.
Appearance: Clear, about 50% translucent garnet.
Nose: Medium-minus intensity with a mix of sweet spices, red fruits, candied cherries, and touches of toast, floral, and vanilla. The aromas become lighter with decanting, and I could only pick up red fruits and sweet spices.
Palate: Dry, medium-bodied, round, very silky and soft mouthfeel. Medium acidity with softer tannins. Floral, red fruits, red cherries and candied red cherries, plus some red plums, and touches of vanilla and oak flavours. The flavours and texture of the wine remain unchanged with decanting.
Finish: Medium-plus length with a soft finish with light fine-grained tannins. Red fruits then red cherries and sweet spices and lingering light pepperiness. Candied cherries and floral flavours with decanting.
A very pretty wine, but I advise not to decant this wine as you lost many aromas. 4-5 years of ageing ok. I was a bit surprised by the lighter aromas after decanting. I will retry this wine after another 24 hours to see if the aromatic intensity rebounds.
Rating: – A delicate wine. Pleasing aromas of red fruits, red cherries, candied cherries, floral and sweet spices. Medium body, soft and silky mouthfeel. Floral, red cherries, plums, and candied cherries on the palate. Soft finish with fine-grained tannins, red fruits, red cherries, floral and sweet spices.
Spearhead Winery Gentleman Farmer Vineyard Saddle Block Pinot Noir 2019 (BC $36)
The grape clones used and fermentation process from the winery, “Pinot Noir clones 115, 777, 828 & 667 are separately hand-harvested, destemmed and kept cold for 5-7 days before fermentation by indigenous yeasts commences. The time on skins is 16 to 21 days. After gentle pressing, the wine is matured in French oak barrels for 13 months (25% new).” 4 clones used.
Appearance: Deep garnet colour, 80% opaque, translucent to the core.
Nose: Light aromas of nutmeg, floral, dark chocolate, black cherries, and plums. With decanting the wine becomes slightly more aromatic and dark fruit aromas predominate. I still get some nutmeg and black cherry aromas.
Palate: Dry with a thicker mouthfeel. Round with a medium intensity tannic backbone. Ripe raspberries then ripe black fruit flavours along with floral, light oak and vanilla flavours. The tannins and acidity become softer with decanting. The wine still has a thicker, round mouthfeel. Flavours are a mix of plums and black fruit, with a touch of oak, vanilla and dark chocolate.
Finish: Medium-plus length finishing with floral and black fruit flavours, plus sweet cherries and sweet spices. Slightly firmer tannins on the finish. More dark fruit, floral, vanilla, sweet spices and vanilla flavours with decanting.
Decanting or not is OK. This wine overall has deeper aromas and flavours, and you may say is more masculine in profile. Can age 4-5 years.
Rating: – A deeper garnet colour. Light aromas of nutmeg, floral, dark chocolate and black cherries. With decanting you get primarily dark fruit aromas. Dry, medium-plus body. Round with a medium intensity tannic backbone. Dark fruit flavours, with touches of oak and vanilla. Firmer tannic finish, with dark fruit, floral, vanilla and light pepperiness.
How did adding more clones change the wines? The Spearhead Winery Coyote Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019 has only one clone, 115, which produced an excellent wine, but the other two wines with 3 and 4 clones, adds a bit more aromas and flavours, and rounds out the profile of the wines, bumping up their rating with me.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
These are top-quality Pinot Noir wines and I highly recommend buying any, or all of them. The wines are available online from the Spearhead Winery website. The SpearHead Winery Gentleman Farmer Vinyard Saddle Block Pinot Noir has a few bottles at the EverythingWine store in Vancouver.