Aasha Wines from the Naramata Bench says that “Every bottle tells a story“. I am interested to taste their wines, learn more about their story, and tell you about it. Aasha Wines is a new winery for me. I had not heard of them until this month. They sent me over their “3 Bottle Winter Mixed Case” to review; a Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Rosé wine.
Gaurav Puri and Tracy Rook are the couple who own Aasha Wines. Gaurav is a physician and Tracy a nurse, who met and fell in love slowly over the ins and outs of emergency room life in Toronto. Living apart from the winery location, they needed a winemaker, viticulturist, and oenologist that they could trust would do the best with their 2.8 acre vineyard grapes. So they picked Pascal Madevon. He comes originally trained in Bordeaux, and brought his knowledge from France with him to Canada, but did not impose strict rules on wine production. He told Gaurav and Tracy that the grapes would tell their story, and he would listen. Wonderful! You may know Pascal from the wines he produced at Osoyoos Larose and at Culmina Family Estate Winery.
Some of their first vintages are produced at Okanagan Crush Pad under the winemaking skills of Matt Dumayne. Gaurav and Tracy now have a new micro-winery on the property, built in 2020, but continue to make their wines with the support of Okanagan Crush Pad.
The vines were originally planted in 2007 before Gaurav and Tracy purchased the vineyard. They also purchase Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Mariposa Vineyard in the neighbouring Similkameen Valley. Their winery is very small production. For example, the Little Monster Rosé wine only has 344 bottles produced, 1500 bottles for the Palolem Chardonnay, and 1405 bottles for the Two Nights Pinot Noir.
The wine labels are also notable. They had Reena Mistry, a Toronto-based illustrator, design the labels from hand drawings. Each label tells a story related to Gaurav and Tracy. “Little Monster” for example is about their cat and how she likes to trick her humans into feeding her again although she recently ate. I can relate!
My Wine Tasting Notes
Aasha Wines Palolem Chardonnay 2018 (BC $30)
This wine was produced at Okanagan Crush Pad by Matt Dumanyne. Fermented in barrels, aged for nine months in a stainless steel tank and 33% received new oak barrel ageing. I am guessing that there was a secondary malolactic fermentation in the barrel.
According to Wikipedia, “Palolem Beach is a stretch of white sand on a bay in Goa, South India. It’s known for its calm waters and for its nightlife, including “silent discos” where partygoers wear headphones. Lined with palm trees and colorful wooden shacks, the beach faces Canacona Island, known for its resident monkeys.”
Appearance: A clear, bright, medium-plus intensity lemon colour in the glass.
Nose: Medium-plus intensity nose with deep ripe aromas of pineapple and apple, and touches of butterscotch, lees, oak and pears. No difference with aromas after decanting.
Palate: Dry, medium-plus body, round, buttery, with light pepperiness and a touch of acidic prickle. More pineapple flavour together with ripe apple, and then lesser amounts of butterscotch, sweet spices, lemon zest, pears, and oak. The wine gets a lighter mouthfeel on the mid-palate. The toasty oak was a bit stronger with decanting and the mouthfeel was a tad lighter. I was also picking up stronger apple and less pineapple on the palate.
Finish: A medium-length finishing with a light mouthfeel. Pineapple and butterscotch, baking spices and light pepperiness. same finish after decanting.
If you ever heard the term “Less is More”, it fits this wine. It is not over the top in body and flavour, but gives you great satisfaction. It reminds me of some nice white Burgundies I’ve tried in the past. No need to decant.
Rating: – Medium-plus bright lemon colour. Medium-plus deeper aromas of ripe pineapple and apple, with lesser amounts of lees, butterscotch, and pears. Medium-plus body, dry, buttery and round with a pleasant acidic prickle. Pineapple and apples with light butterscotch, lemon, pears, sweet spices and oak on the palate. An elegant wine.
Aasha Wines Two Nights Pinot Noir 2017 (BC $37)
Appearance: A pale translucent garnet colour in the glass.
Nose: Medium intensity aromas of red fruits, nutmeg, light toast, candied black cherries, vanilla, and with swirling some floral. With decanting I picked up a more smoky raspberry aroma, along with the red fruits, vanilla and floral. I did not notice the candied black cherry aroma.
Palate: Slightly off-dry, soft and round. A medium-plus body but does feel light in your mouth. Lower acidity and light very fine tannins. Red fruits, raspberries, floral, with a touch of oak and sweet spice, plus red cherries toward the finish. The wine tasted drier with decanting and had a lighter mouthfeel. The flavours stayed the same, but the raspberry flavour may be a bit stronger. I also picked up some minerality and the acidity bumped up to medium intensity.
Finish: A medium-plus length finishing with red cherries and sweet red fruits, and touches of black pepper and oak. Very light tannins. The same flavours on the finish with decanting, but with slightly stronger tannins.
A wine with a light touch. Decanting makes the wine slightly nicer, but it is very subtle. If you decant or not, you will enjoy this classy wine.
Rating: – Pale translucent garnet colour. A medium intensity nose with toast, red fruits, nutmeg, vanilla and a touch of floral with air. Dry to slightly off-dry, round with very subtle tannins and acidity. Red fruits, floral and raspberry flavours with touches of red cherries, oak, and sweet spices. Some sweet red fruit and black pepper on the finish.
Aasha Wines Little Monster Syrah Rosé 2019 (BC $23)
Made at Okanagan Crush Pad by Matt Dumanyne using the Saignee method, where you bleed off the grape juice after a few hours of skin contact to give you the rose colour you desire. Aged for five months in stainless steel.
Appearance: A medium bright clear tawny orange colour.
Nose: Medium-minus nose that has some lees that quickly burns off. You then get more toast, along with lesser amounts of dried stone fruits and strawberries. The aromas are similar after decanting except that the aromas are a little lighter and I picked up a hint of orange.
Palate: Dry and round with a thicker, medium-plus body and a viscous mouthfeel. This wine also does have an acidic bite to it to balance the roundness and viscosity. A wide range of flavours with toastiness and dried stone fruit to begin. You also get strawberries, red cherries and a hint of orange and citrus with swirling. And a mix of stoniness and salty minerality. The wine has a slightly lighter body and acidity after decanting. I still get the stoniness but no longer the salty minerality. The remaining flavours stay the same.
Finish: A medium-plus length finishing with some bitterness, citrus and dried fruits, a toasty edge and light pepperiness.
Rating: A bright tawny orange colour. Medium-minus nose with toast, red fruits and dried stone fruit aromas. Medium-plus body, round with a viscous mouthfeel and acidic bite. Primarily toast and dried stone fruit flavours with touches of citrus, orange, strawberries and stony minerality.
The toastiness on the nose and palate is interesting to me as this wine is fermented in stainless steel. No oak contact. There is something in their terroir that is bringing out this component. The fruit flavours are also hard to pick apart and describe as they are very tightly meshed together with the toastiness.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
The 3 Bottle Winter Mixed Case can be purchased through Aasha Wine’s website. You can also purchase these wines individually through their website.