2 Classy Chardonnay from Spearhead Winery

Beautiful and elegant are two words that I would use to describe the two Chardonnay wines that I received from Spearhead Winery in the Okanagan. Winemaker, Grant Stanley, has outdone himself with such excellent wines. One wine is from grapes from their Saddle Block estate vineyard, with a mix of Chardonnay clones 76, 95, and 548, and the other is from the Duncan Vineyard on the Naramata Bench made exclusively from Clone 95. Both were fermented and aged in French oak barrels, 25% new oak, underwent partial malolactic fermentation (MLF) and spent 10 months on their lees.

The differences between the two wines would come from:

  • the different clones used,
  • the vineyards’ soils, and
  • geographic location.

as the method of vinification is the same. 

Chardonnay Clone 95 is one of the more popular clones in Burgundy.  It makes a full-bodied, intensely flavoured, relatively low crop-level Chardonnay.  Clone 95 is also popular in Oregon and in Chile. Both wines from Spearhead Winery are fuller bodied, with a thick round mouthfeel. Clone 76 is also a popular clone from Burgundy that also produces full-bodied wines.  Clone 548, from Burgundy, has the highest ripeness and quality, and lower yield with slightly looser bunches. Clone 95 has a higher yield.

As the Clone 95 Chardonnay is from the Duncan Vineyard on the Naramata Bench, 44 km further south in a warmer climate, I assume it will be the bigger wine with riper fruit flavours.  Let me tell you more about these two wines.

My Wine Tasting Notes

Spearhead Winery Saddle Block Chardonnay 2020 (BC $30)

Appearance: A deep, bright lemon colour.
Nose: Medium-plus intensity aromas of honey, caramel, ripe and roasted pineapple, ripe pears and other dried fruits. Same aromas after decanting.
Palate: Dry, medium-plus body and flavour intensity. Lower acidity. A very smooth, creamy, round and thick mouthfeel. Roasted apples, pears and pineapple flavours, along with touches of vanilla, oak and caramel along with some pepperiness toward the finish. Medium body and lighter mouthfeel; not as thick with decanting.  Medium flavour intensity as well.  Fruit flavours stay the same.
Finish: A medium-plus length finishing silky smooth. Ripe and roasted apples, pears and pineapple flavours, plus touches of oak and pepper on the finish.  I pick up a touch of coconut on the finish with decanting and the pineapple flavour appears more prominent.

An elegant wine that feels substantial in your mouth.  Decanting lightens up the wine a bit, but no major differences.

Rating: 4.5 stars5 stars A deep, bright lemon colour.  Medium-plus intensity nose with a mix of ripe and roasted pineapple and pears, plus honey and caramel aromas. Dry, round and thick with a silky smooth, creamy mouthfeel.  Roasted apples, pears and apple flavours with pepperiness toward the finish.  A silky smooth finish with the ripe and roasted fruit flavours persisting, plus touches of oak and pepperiness.

Spearhead Winery Saddle Block Chardonnay 2020 and Clone 95 Chardonnay 2020 with wines in glasses
Spearhead Winery Saddle Block Chardonnay 2020 and Clone 95 Chardonnay 2020 with wines in glasses

Spearhead Winery Clone 95 Chardonnay 2020 (BC $30)

Appearance: A bright medium lemon-green colour.
Nose: Light, subtle aromas of citrus and pineapple, along with touches of oak, roasted pears, and almonds. The aromas are about the same with decanting.
Palate: Dry, round, and silky, buttery smooth, medium-plus body and flavour intensity. Mouthfilling. Soft flavours of ripe and roasted pineapple and pears, citrus, and apricots, with touches of caramel and nutmeg.  I think the wine is a little lighter-bodied and has a softer mouthfeel with decanting.  Same fruit flavours, but maybe some brioche as well.
Finish: Medium-plus length finishing with the same thicker mouthfeel. Pineapple, medium pepperiness and hints of nutmeg and caramel.  A lighter mouthfeel with decanting, but the same length and flavours.

An elegant wine with a lighter touch than the Saddle Block.  Not as much difference between the undecanted and decanted versions compared to Saddle Block.

Rating: 4.5 stars5 stars A bright medium lemon with a green tint.  Subtle, light aromas of citrus, pineapple, roasted pears and oak, and a touch of almonds. Dry, fuller body, very silky, with a round and thick mouthfeel.  Fresh and roasted pineapple and pears, plus a touch of apricot, then caramel and nutmeg toward the finish.  Medium-plus length finishing with a thick mouthfeel, pineapple, plus pepperiness, and touches of caramel and nutmeg.

You cannot go wrong with purchasing either of these two wines.  The Clone 95 on its own from the Duncan Vineyard, although being further south than their estate vineyard, does not have a bigger, heavier, riper mouthfeel and flavours.  I think the mix of clones for the Saddle Block is a bigger-bodied wine.  These two wines should win many wine awards, so buy them as soon as they come on the market.

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

The 2019 vintages of these two wines are available through the Spearhead Winery website.  At some point, the 2020 vintages will also be available there. 

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.