In 2017, we once again had the opportunity to work with an “old-vine” Pinot Blanc vineyard. This 40 year old vineyard, located in the Mission District of Kelowna, was one of the test-plots for the viability of vinifera varietals in British Columbia. Our exploration of Pinot Blanc was originally inspired by the work of our good friend Barbara Philip, Canada’s first female Master of Wine, who proposed Pinot Blanc as a potential signature variety for the Okanagan Valley. This single-vineyard Pinot Blanc demonstrates that the terroir of the lake-moderated, Northern Okanagan valley is perfect for this variety, producing an exceptionally aromatic and flavourful wine with a round-mouth feel – a style inspired by our favourite Alsatian benchmarks. Pinot Blanc is often a boring innocuous white table wine – we can assure you, this one is not.
Varietal: Pinot Blanc 100%
Awards & Reviews: 90 points, Rick VanSickle; 90 points, Tony Aspler; 91 points, John Schreiner; Silver Medal, Cascadia/Pacific Northwest
- Planted 1978 St. Hubertus Vineyard, Mission, Kelowna
- We wanted to highlight the intensity of the old-vine fruit so we chose a straightforward, de-stem and crush protocol on the crush pad. The grapes were hand-harvested and a sorting table was utilized before the grapes were de-stemmed to ensure that only healthy grapes went into the wine. After de-stemming and crushing, a slow, gentle pressing was utilized via a pneumatic press. The flavourful juice was then gently racked from its settling tank to ferment. The must was inoculated with an ester-forward culture yeast stain, X-16, to highlight the surprisingly intense fruit aromas of this older vine Pinot Blanc, as well as augment its body. A quick 12- to 16-hour settling allowed us to maintain maximum flavour and nutrients in our must before it was racked for ferment. Our glycol cooling system allowed us to achieve a clean and controlled ferment that lasted about two weeks in stainless steel. Sulphur levels were carefully managed to preserve maximum bouquet, added only following a second post-ferment racking, and topped up pre-bottling. The wine was protein and cold stabilized, then filtered. The filtration system used was cross-flow, a medium-free method that is the gentlest of any filter on the wine. We chose a Stelvin, screw-cap closure because we feel it is the best method available to preserve the freshness that is key to this wine.
- A delicate nose of apple skin and mineral leads to an intense palate of ripe grapefruit balanced with beautiful, mouth-watering acidity. The wine has a persistent, juicy finish with flavours of white chocolate on the back end.