Sunday, March 10, 2013

Novas wines by Emiliana organic vineyards

Recently, I've been focused on the concept of terroir, and it's preservation. So much so, that I sent an idea for a lecture about this critical theme to the North American Wine Blogger's Conference. They have taken my idea, melded it with another theme, and will be re-packaging it into a 2.5 hour panel-lead discussion on Saturday 08th June. I'm pretty giddy about that!

But why? What's all the commotion about you say?

There is an evolution happening not only in the wine industry in general, but in our province of British Columbia in specific. Many readers know that in 1986 there were only 33 wineries in BC, and by 2011 that number had grown to over 240. We are growing faster then even the greatest wine gurus of Canada can reasonably keep up with.

But it's not just growth in numbers of wineries, or volume of production, that is so exciting to me and many others. It's the proliferation of truly world-class wines that are coming from our extreme wine region. We here at the most northerly edge of the wine-world are releasing sparkling wines rated as some of the finest anywhere. We produce truly unique and high-caliber Pinot Noir, ultra crisp, clean Chardonnay, bone-dry and fully intense Riesling... I even know a winemaker who produces small quantities of a brilliant Tempranillo

But will we always?
vineyard at Emiliana

As much as there is fantastic development in organics and bio-dynamics, and BC is one of the regions that is leading the foray,  there is another side to the industry. New winery owners are still being told, by some people, that it's ok when building a new winery - to bulldoze the land and then plant what is needed or wanted. There is still a proportion of the industry that doesn't believe that a natural ecosystem, well-preserved, is absolutely necessary to create a full and complete expression of terroir

It is that expression that creates uniquely beautiful wines. I also believe, as do many others, that it allows for greater life-span in the wines as well.
Emiliana organic vineyards ( is a brilliant example of these principles at work. I remember vividly the Vancouver Wine Festival of 2012, and be able to sit (in awe) and listen to the fantastically passionate Alvaro Espinoza (consulting winemaker). This man bristled with dynamic energy as he spoke of the investment of time, energy and passion into the land and the people who were producing Emiliana wines. 

There are so many things to list that Emiliana is doing well, that I would be remiss to even start the process - for you and I would be here for a long, long time. Better for you to read the company website and absorb from them directly the whats and hows of what this premium winery has done and continues to do. But let me tell you about the wines if you haven't tried them.

2010 Novas Chardonnay-Marsanne
DO Valle de Casablanca
89 points

vine age: 20 years
altitude: 370 m
vineyard yield: 6 tons/HA
maturation:  30% aged 4 months in new French oak
production: 9,350 cases

  • visual:   clear; pale gold core with light watery rim, silver highlights
  • nose:   clean; medium+ intense and youthful aromas; ripe pineapple, exotic floral notes, slate-like minerality, peppery finish
  • palate:   clean; dry, medium+ green apple/lemon acids, medium body, medium+ ABV (14%), medium+ intense and youthful flavors that mimick the nose with a keen line of mineral throughout, starts with the lush fruit/floral and finishes with a clean light citrus tone. Very good balance and structure, medium length
  • conclusion:   brilliant wine for the money. Drink now, drink often! Will not develop appreciable but can be held until 2018 or potentially longer
  • FOOD PAIRING:   crisp lemon acids with love a fat roast chicken or duck! Consider poulet au quarantes l'ail (the chicken of 40 garlic) where you put generous wedges of garlic in little cuts in a whole chicken and slow-roast...divine!!
2010 Novas Cabernet-Sauvignon Carmenere
DO Valle de Colchagua
90 Points

vine age:   20 years
altitude:   245 m
soil composition:   colluvial; stoney with clay-loam
yield:   8 tons/HA
maturation:   12 months, 40% new French oak, 30% American, 30% stainless steel
production:   13,250 cases

  • visual:   clear; deep garnet core with slightest cherry rim
  • nose:   clean; fully intense and youthful aromas; pungent savory herbs; tomato leaf/bay leaf, ripe dark  plums, strawberries, bell peppers, rich dark chocolate
  • palate:   clean; dry, medium raspberry acids, medium+to full chalky/chewy tannin, medium+ body, medium to medium- ABV(14%), medium+ to full intense and youthful flavors expressing deep earthy tones, savory dark chocolate, bright red berries, hints of tobacco and leather. Excellent balance and structure, medium+ length
  • conclusion: whilst this is already drinking quite well, this will reward patient cellaring. Enjoy 2013-2020
  • FOOD PAIRINGS:   dimension, elegance, this wine over-delivers and pairs handsomely with prime rib, but also consider seared venison flat-iron steak with maple glaze, steamed spaghetti squash and rainbow chard, "raz-el-hanout" spiced quinoa... very specifically the maple and the Arabic spices both play well off the wines dark cocoa notes and the nuttiness of quinoa will enhance the tobacco/leather tones

Though for this article I'm writing about the Novas line, I must mention the great jewel of Emiliana which is the Coyam Bordeaux-style blend. I will never grow tired of that wine! Truly elegant in it's production, it follows the principles of a left-bank Bordeaux-blend with it's high proportion of Cabernet-Sauvignon whilst creating a flavor-profile that is entirely it's own. It is unabashedly Chilean with it's richness of bouquet; the depth of the savory earth-tones, the dark floral aromas... I have never scored it less then 92 points and was un-surprised to discover that it had earned the prestigious title of "Best Wine of Chile" in 2003.

Alvaro Espinoza
This is what happens when a winery treats their land as it deserves. This is the direct result of a terrific investment of both finances and energy into allowing a natural landscape to evolve into a thriving vineyard. These ideals don't just exist on paper for wine-lovers: these ideals exist in the bottle, and the glass. Alvaro Espinoza understands and shares these ideals. He has brought the story of his land, his valleys and his people to my very distant part of the world and I will always be grateful to him for that. I look to this winery as one of the best examples of how our industry can be leaders in organics, in bio-dynamics and carbon-neutral business and can do so with heart, and spirit while building a truly prosperous business.

Well done Emiliana! I would have loved your wines enough for what was in the bottle - the back story is icing on the cake. Now I get to drink great wine and support a worthwhile company at the same time. Where are you investing your consumer dollars???

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.

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

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