We have sadly been missing our IWFS events, most recently our 2020 Okanagan Valley wine tour, now scheduled for the weekend of June 10, 2021. So, although the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our lives, we still managed to “visit” the Valley with a Zoom wine tasting featuring Okanagan pinot noir. Coordinated by Dr. Larry Burr and introduced by Sid Cross, our members tasted and commented on a bottle that they had selected from their cellar or from a store. It proved to be an enjoyable meeting, an opportunity to socialise and to hear about the Okanagan and a variety of wines that were tasted.
Following Sid’s summary of Pinot Noir in the Okanagan Valley and the 2019 vintage in particular, the first wine was Jim and Milena Robertson’s 2017 Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée – “pale burgundy red in colour, nose showing some cherry and spice, quaffable wine.” Next came Vince and Zellie Tan’s 2008 Blue Mountain Reserve with the iconic stripe label – “still some structure, more garnet colour, cherry and strawberry, elegant with a soft finish and better the next day”.
We moved away briefly to Ray and Sharon Markham’s 2010 Foxtrot Erickson Vineyard – “last bottle, hints of soft raspberry on nose, some spice and creamy vanilla, chocolate, licorice and a hint of cassis – amazing taste, delicious.” And Larry and Maggie Burr returned to Blue Mountain with the 2010 Reserve wine – “a little dusty mushroom which quickly blew off, raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, full body lots of fruit. A good year”
Nick and Lesley Wright showed a 2014 Martin’s Lane Naramata Ranch, a recent winery addition to the Valley from Anthony von Mandl, 14% alcohol – “dark in colour, pungent, earthy, brooding, will last 20 years easily”. Jim and Karen Esplen tasted their 2017 Quail’s Gate Stewart Family Reserve, an enjoyable but bit more expensive wine and Ruth Grierson brought us back to Foxtrot with the 2015 Foxtrot Foxtrot Vineyard with – “full nose, a bit jammy with some ripe fruit”. Steven and Wendy Hill followed with a 2015 Cassini Pinot Noir which, sadly, was not a favourite with Wendy, not to her liking. Alvin Nirenberg and Kim Meade enjoyed their 2016 Meyer Old Block McLean Creek Vineyard – “dark cherry fruit and some pleasant mineral character.”
The oldest wine was the 2006 Thornhaven Barrel Reserve from Ed and Dorothy Chiasson, their last bottle, unfortunately now past its best and “over the hill” but we were assured that the 2017 vintage tasted just as good as the 2006 did in its early years. Finally, our gurus Sid and Joan Cross showed a 2014 Spierhead (now Spearhead) Pinot Noir Cuvée, a selection of the best barrels in the cellar – “velvety and nicely balanced”.
Our thanks go to Sid Cross and Dr. Larry Burr for organising this event (and sorting out our Zoom glitches) and to all our participants.