Monday, March 28, 2011

Cedar Creek "Platinum Reserve" Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley VQA

Everything worthwhile in life is a gamble. Everything worth that gamble, worth that risk, is worth working for and work you must if you want to reap the rewards.

   The sentiment is encapsulated by Cedar Creek winery and it's proprietor, Senator Ross Fitzpatrick. The senator bought the winery in 1986; a time in BC winemaking when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was threatening to swallow the infant wine industry in the Okanagan.

View at Greta Ranch, part of Cedar Creek Winery

   True enough, grapes had been planted in the Okanagan Valley (VQA) since the late 1800's in some cases, but the industry was modest to say the least, and quality was... sporadic. The senator was born and raised in the Okanagan, though his work had taken him far from home. I imagine that it was during those travels that he developed an appreciation for the magic that the grape can carry with it. It was a belief in that magic that brought him back to the place he was raised, and an incurable desire to create the same magic at home.

   Since then, Cedar Creek winery has replanted hybrid vines with vitus vinifera, turned a basement cellar into "state-of-the-art" facilities, and brought many awards to their shelves including twice being named Canada's Winery of the Year. It is the adherence to quality with the "temperance of patience and perseverance" which has lead them down the road of success.

   How do I know that Cedar Creek is living it's words and not just mouthing pleasant platitudes? As of 2010 they are separately fermenting separate blocks of Pinot Noir! Perhaps that isn't a revolutionary tactic, but it is most certainly a mark of dedication and shows that Cedar Creek's winemaker Darryl Brooker is willing to put in the extra time and effort to achieve superior results. But did the work pay off?

Cedar Creek "Platinum Reserve" 2007 Pinot Noir
Okanagan Valley VQA, British Columbia, Canada
13.9% ABV, $38 CAD    ** EXCELLENT VALUE **
SOIL       clay, loam and some sandy soil
AGED        17 months in 100% French oak
  • visual:   clean; moderate ruby/garnet core with substantial cherry-brick rim
  • nose:    clean; moderately intense and developed bouquet of red and black cherries, black raspberries, black currant (cassis), old worn leather, light Christmas spices at the end such as nutmeg and clove, soft layers of dried flowers
  • palate:    clean; dry, moderate+ (red currant) acids, moderate+ (slightly grippy) tannins, moderate alcohol, light body, moderately intense and developed flavors mimicking the nose; red and black raspberry and cherry, old worn leather, light vanilla nuances, dried flowers, black irises and roses, an almost buckwheat honey quality. Excellent balance and structure, long finish on the palate
  • conclusion:   Stunning wine and well worth the money. I'm not used to BC Pinot Noir that keeps for 5 years or longer, and this wine will cellar well until 2013 I have no doubt... excellent concentration of flavor still, crisp acids and lively tannin structure
  • PAIRINGS:   Firstly do yourself a favor and please decant a minimum of one hour. At first I wanted just a simple turkey dinner with this, then found myself moving to smoked pork loin as it opened up. After an hour there was so much development on the palate that I wanted - was craving -a classic Steak Tartare; the beef plays off the tannins, the acids play off the fat. Roast some elephant garlic (softer, more subtle) to rub into the crostini you use and that too will invigorate the Pinot Noir
    Senator Ross Fitzpatrick and his son Gordon have a mantra for Cedar Creek Winery:
Respect the land, honour tradition, pursue perfection.
   Apparently, they have succeeded.

Senator Ross Fitzpatrick and son Gordon

As always, I look forward to any questions or comments.

CINCIN~!!!     SLAINTE~!!!     CHEERS~!!!

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