Have you tried the Quill series of wines from Blue Grouse Estate Winery on Vancouver Island. Their Quill series grapes come from vineyards on the Island. The winery can pick and choose and blend the wines from these grapes to bring out the best of Vancouver Island. I received two Quill wines from the winery to review, their Blue Grouse Estate Winery Quill Pinot Gris 2021 and their Quill Pinot Noir 2020. Both wines are vegan-friendly. Let me tell you about them and bonus material on wine glasses.
My Wine Tasting Notes
Blue Grouse Estate Winery Quill Pinot Gris 2021 (BC $23.99)
From the winery, “The Pinot Gris grapes came from three Cowichan Valley vineyards, each with a different soil type, combining to deliver a unique terroir driven wine… This wine was fermented in three separate stainless-steel tanks. One tank went through malolactic fermentation naturally, whereas the other two did not. The three tanks were blended prior to bottling.” The winery is using an “Eco Series” wine bottle that is lighter (better for transportation) and made with up to 75% recycled glass (using less energy than making glass from raw materials).
Appearance: A lighter pear skin colour and has small bubbles at the bottom of the glass.
Nose: Medium intensity aromas of pears and apples, along with touches of white blossom, lees, peach, and orange with air. The stone fruit aromas predominate with decanting, but you still get the white blossoms and a hint of orange aromas.
Palate: Slightly off-dry, mouth-filling, round but balanced off by a significant acidic prickle. Stone fruits in particular pear, with a touch of not quite ripe peach flavours to start. Stoniness and steeliness toward the finish. Touches of grape stem and orange with some swirling. The wine has a lighter acidity when decanted, but is still quite high. The stoniness in the wine becomes more obvious. There is now some floral component but now no orange on the palate.
Finish: A medium-plus length finishing with drying grape stem tannins, pears and peach flavours and some steeliness. A bit hot at the very end. More stone fruit flavours on the finish with decanting and less grape skin tannins.
No need to decant this wine. It softens the acidity a bit but also you get less expressive fruit.
Rating: – A lighter, bright pear skin colour. Medium intensity aromas of pears and apples with a touch of peach, lees, and floral. Slightly off-dry, mouth-filling but has significant acidity that counterbalances the thicker rounder mouthfeel. Stone fruits along with a touch of orange, grape stems, stoniness and steeliness on the palate. A medium-plus length finishing with some grape skin tannins, pear and a touch of peach.
Blue Grouse Estate Winery Quill Pinot Noir 2020 (BC $28.99)
This wine is a blend of 88% Pinot Noir and 12% Gamay Noir. There are no winemaker’s notes on the website, but I think a portion of the grapes have gone through a semi-carbonic maceration, which has a distinct ultra-fruity aroma and flavour. Beaujolais Nouveau wines are made from full carbonic maceration. I’ve put in a question to the winemaker about the production method and once I find out, I will update my notes.
Appearance: Medium intensity garnet, translucent to the core.
Nose: Medium-plus nose showing lots of red fruits, vanilla, red cherries, nutmeg and cinnamon spices, and raspberry aromas. The aromas are about the same after decanting.
Palate: Dryish, soft with a medium-plus body. Lower acidity and very soft, light tannins. Candied fruits, red berries, red cherries, vanilla, and a strong floral flavour. Similar flavours and flavour intensity with decanting. But, there are now some oak and cedar flavours and the tannins become a little stronger.
Finish: Medium-plus length finishing with a mix of red fruit, candied fruit, and vanilla. Tart finish, with light tannins and some bitterness at the very end. The same fruit flavours with decanting on the finish, plus medium intensity oak plus cedar flavours.
Not much change with decanting other than more oak & cedar and stronger tannins, so open and enjoy, but probably finish by the next day.
Rating: A medium translucent garnet colour to the core. Medium-plus aromas with lots of red fruit, red cherries, vanilla, nutmeg, and raspberries. Dryish, soft with a fuller body. Lower acidity and very light tannins. Candied red fruits, red berries and cherries and a strong floral flavour. Medium-plus length finishing with red fruit and candied fruit, light tannins and some bitterness.
My Pinot Noir Tasting Glass
I use Riedel glasses when I taste wine and have glasses for different types of wine, such as Bordeaux Reds or Burgundy Pinot Noirs. These glasses may be a little expensive for some people, so I began looking for more value-priced glasses with similar performance to the Riedel glasses. I purchased Trudeau Splendido 21 oz wine glasses that are made in the Czech Republic, in the Bohemia region, which is renowned for its centuries of high-level craftsmanship. The glasses are made of lead-free crystalline reinforced with titanium, to add more resistance and brilliance to the glasses.
This glass is not quite as rounded as the Riedel glass. The bottom of the bowl is a bit more flared and the mouth is about 2mm wider than the Riedel glass, but it allows me to more easily fit my nose in the bowl and get more of the wine’s aromas. The rim is laser cut and fire polished to allow the wine to easily flow out of the glass. With the titanium-reinforced glass, the manufacturer notes that the glasses are dishwasher safe. That is a bonus. I will try washing one glass in my dishwasher to test that assertion.
I will do a separate article and tasting comparing the aromas and flavours of two Pinot Noir wines with the Trudeau and Riedel glasses.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
Both wines are available through the Blue Grouse Estate Winery website:
The Quill Pinot Gris is available in very limited quantities in select Everything Wine stores, but not sure if it is this vintage or the past vintage as it is not listed on the website.