Wine for Christmas and the Future

There are two new vineyards on the block. The first is Meyer Family Vineyards, which is located under this Coyote Rock in Okanagan Falls, on deep gravels and sands that appear to have been deposited in a fast ghost river flowing along the edge of the ice in the last gasp of the last ice age.

Coyote Rock at the Confluence of the Okanagan and Mclean Creek Valleys

Meyers Family Vineyard soaks up the heat below.

Meyers make a truly exceptional world class Rose, or did, because they tore out those grapes to plant more pinot noir. Personally, I think the pinot noirs of the Willamette Valley in Oregon are the ones to match, with their complex structure built on the tenderest of foundations.

Young Vines at Meyers’ Preparing their First Vintage

October, 2011

Meyers’ 2009 Pinot Noir is an Okanagan pinot noir that shows the potential to meet that standard. Just decline the invitation to taste their exquisite candies and chocolates at the same time. They’re not well matched to the complexity and lingering strength of this wine (Chose your pinot with both eyes open. In the topsy turvy world of Okanagan wine-making, some are sourced in the far north, in Okanagan Mission, albeit on similar soils and with more direct sun exposure.) Here it is among a list of its sisters, and here it is below:

Two Bottles in Search of Wine 

After the solstice fire. A fine choice for Christmas.

A totally different wine is the Fort Berens 2008 Cabernet Franc. Fort Berens is not located in the Okanagan, but in that other hot area of British Columbia, Lilloet in the mid-Fraser River grasslands. I was intrigued as to what that land, also with its high cliffs to absorb incredible amounts of heat, might achieve. Here’s what “Wine Diva” has to say about it. That was a year ago. Maybe all that complexity has aged out of the wine by now. Still, for the real story, though, we’ll have to wait. So far, this is an Okanagan wine. What we’re really tasting is Black Sage sand, south of Oliver. Black Sage is hot, Lilloet hot, make you dance hot, so it’s a good place for Fort Berens to start. What does this wine really have to speak of? Not much, so far. It’s very drinkable, young, fresh, and solid. It’s all fruit, this one, all ripe berries beaten up by incredible amounts of sun, tasting as if they were picked early in the season, without the benefits of cold nights to keep their acids up and tease deep waters out of deep soil. It’s such a hot wine, you’d expect a Spanish or Italian variety to have been a far better choice for its soil. A Cabernet Franc is a cool climate red, and the good Cabernet Francs of the Okanagan come out with complex stem, root, and leaf flavours. This one is just juice. Still, it’s very cleanly done, and remarkably integrated. Most BC Cabernet Francs separate in the mouth into a story of great seasonal change and cool, late season fermentation that will take years in the bottle to bring together into a note as smooth as Meyers’ pinot noir. Fort Berens is unified right from the start. If that’s going to be the style of this winery when they bring out their first Lilloet vintage in 2012, we can expect something exciting. In the meantime, we have an untold story of a hot piece of vineyard soil in the South Okanagan that could, perhaps, find its grape, as Meyers have found theirs.

Note: Although the Meyers’ site can produce a fine pinot noir, it can also produce this remarkable rose. Get it quick. When these are gone, that’s it forevermore. This is a rose that could meet duck with grace.

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