Saturday, April 23, 2011

Naramata Bench Tasting, April 2010

Imagine a ballroom filled with wine; red wine, white wine, rose, sparkling wine, fruit wine... the list is endless.

   Imagine then, that your job is to taste all of those wines. Yes, you've been paid to taste wine and wow - it sucks to be you doesn't it?

   Well sometimes it actually isn't all fun. I was at a trade tasting last year where all of the wines (with some very limited exceptions) very thin, green tannins, poorly balanced... you get the idea. Tasting a hundred or more wines like that in a row isn't fun, isn't exciting, but becomes a long a tedious day where all you can think of is how good a crisp clean beer is going to be at the end.

   Better then digging ditches for a living though.

   And then there are days like Thursday 21st April 2011. A day that will live in my memory for quite some time with the richness of flavors and nuanced approaches that many winemakers from the Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley DVA have taken with their (mostly) 2010 crop. A truly stunning display of BC fruit and well worth the time of anyone who appreciates a well crafted wine. There are of course some "stars of the show"...

Red Rooster 2009 Chardonnay
$17 CAD   ***** BUY THIS NOW *****
** winner GOLD 2011 Chardonnay du Monde **
  • nose:   clean; big buttery grilled pineapple and exotic fruit
  • palate: crisp vibrant acids with stunningly lush body, great structure and long length on the palate
  • conclusion:   an absolute star for the money - I was stunned at the quality and value-for-money. Buy as much as you can because this will sell out quickly and I'm imagining it will have a reasonably long life in your cellar (if you can keep yourself from drinking it all)

Kettle Valley 2009 Viognier
$24 CAD   **** EXCELLENT VALUE ****
  • nose:   clean; rich bouquet of ripe stonefruit and florals
  • palate:   clean; crisp yellow grapefruit acids with brilliantly executed balance, very good structure and medium+ length
  • conclusion:   this wine still has some development left in the bottle and will be drinking well 2011-2014/15

Nicol Vineyards 2009 Gewurztraminer
$17 CAD    ***Very Good Value ***
  • nose:   clean; rich developed floral notes with ripe stonefruit and a long finish of orange blossom
  • palate:   clean; lively yellow and pink grapefruit acids, Great balance and structure, medium length
  • conclusion:   the concentration of flavor wasn't a match for the nuanced aromas, but still a great value for under $20. Drink 2011 to 2013/14

LFNG 2009 Pinot Gris
* SILVER Medal Winner, LA County Fair 2010

** SILVER Medal Winner, San Francisco International Wine Competition 2010
*** 90 Points - John Schreiner - On the palate, there are layers of flavours of ripe pears, melons and apples, with rich weight on the palate, yet with a crisp finish.
  • nose:   clean; full and developing bouquet of rich florals and ripe stonefruit, soft orchardfruit
  • palate:   clean; beautifully vibrant pink grapefruit acids with a light mineral background and tons of uplifted "Springtime" flavors... Spring in a bottle. Excellent balance and structure with long length

Black Widow 2010 Pinot Gris
$20 CAD   ***** BUY THIS NOW *****
  • nose:   clean; fully intense developing bouquet of layers of perfumed flowers, apricots, peaches, nectarine compote
  • palate:   clean; crisp and extremely well balanced grapefruit/lime acids with a long, layered length to the flavors and superb structure. Truly, one of the best BC Pinot Gris I've had in years

Perseus *(Right Bank Bordeaux Blend)
$unknown (barrel sample)     ***** BUY THIS WHEN AVAILABLE *****  
  • nose:   clean; rich developing aromas of currant and cassis, red and black raspberries, light leathery undertones with slight red meatiness... smells like St Emilion styled Bordeaux blendings (Merlot driven)
  • palate:   clean; palate mimicks the nose superbly with long rich developing flavors, superb balance and structure and an incredibly long length. An absolute star of the show for me - I was speechless, which happens far less then Mrs AStudentofWine would like <>

    Wow. Definitely not a tough job on Thursday... I ran into several colleagues including John Schreiner, who agreed with me that the Naramata Bench 2010 release of white wines is already one of the best showings in recent years... brilliantly developed aromas and well balanced flavors with the structure to support them.

Well done Naramata Winemakers~!

As always, I welcome your questions and comments.

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

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