Date: Jan 16/13, Wed Time: 04:30:00-07:30:00 Style: Drop-In
Iconic BC Wines - Le Vieux Pin and La Stella We were pleased to present to our members two of BC's most Iconic estates - Le Vieux Pin and La Stella Winery.
Le Vieux Pin Winery - Le Vieux Pin, named after the majestic old pine tree on the northwest corner of their vineyard is situated on the East Bench of Oliver, in the South Okanagan Valley of beautiful British Columbia. The winery takes its design cues from both an old French barn and an old French railway station. Le Vieux Pin operates on a very simple philosophy: small batch production of grapes sourced from the best vineyards. Everybody is chasing that elusive quality called complexity. They pursue this by subdividing the fruit in very small batches, so they can use two, three, and sometimes four different yeast strains. Similar to spontaneous fermentation where multiple yeast strains are responsible for fermenting the wine, they believe that by using multiple yeast strains they can bring more complexity to the final wine that would not be there with a single yeast strain.
Le Vieux Pin wines sampled at this tasting included:
2008 Le Vieux Pin Petit Rouge, $29.95, 90 Points John Schreiner: This is an 800-case blend with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch of Pinot Noir. The wine is juicy and appealing, with sweet berry aromas and flavours of black currants and plums. Score - 90.
2011 Le Vieux Pin Ava (Viognier/Roussanne/Marsanne), $40 + hst, 91 points David Lawrason: This is a ground-breaking blend (for the Okanagan) of viognier, marsanne and roussane Rhone varieties that do well in the dry, sunny climate of southern France. It has a lifted, engagning nose of rosemary, persimmon, starfruit and spice from partial ageing in French oak. It's medium weight, racy, warm and very spicy. The finish is somewhat bitter; the length is excellent to outstanding. Tasted December 2012. (91 points)
91 points - John Szabo, MS: A very classy and improved version of the Ava over the 2010, an intriguing, Rhône-inspired blend of viognier-roussanne-marsanne that's partially aged in oak (barrels and puncheons, 500l). The nose is an elegant mix of sweet and savoury herbs, cinnamon-tinged orange and orchard fruit notes, essential oil of violet and other nuanced and complex notes that make this well above the mean in terms of interest. The palate is fullish but well balanced, with seamless oak and very good to excellent length. Amazing to pack so much flavour into a wine with just 12.3% alcohol - that's good viticulture. A wine made with both confidence and savoir-fair. Tasted December 2012. (91 points)
2010 Le Vieux Pin Syrah, $49 + hst, 92 Points - David Lawrason: This is an excellent, firm yet well-appointed syrah that nicely balances fresh, lively currant fruit, great pepper, nutmeg and Okanagan sage. It has fine tension, energy and structure if not the greatest length. This is a very honest, authentic and focused syrah. No over-extraction, no over-oaking, no attempt to seduce through artifice. Some sourness and tannic grit suggest you age it for awhile. Best 2015 to 2020. (91 points)
92 points - John Szabo Le Vieux Pin's syrah 2010 is a wine of remarkable freshness for the Okanagan, with a lovely lifted, white pepper, sagebush, cranberry-red currant, vibrant raspberry flavour. The palate is mid-weight, balanced, with nicely integrated wood and moderate alcohol (13.5%); tannins are firm but sufficiently enveloped in fruit extract to compensate, and ensure future development. Here's a wine of refinement and class to be sure, better in 2-3 years. Tasted December 2012. (92 points)
2010 Le Vieux Pin Retouche, $85 + hst, 91 Points - David Lawrason: “This is a fine example of sturdy, balanced yet restrained southern B.C. red. I like the way the Syrah fills out the middle of the Cabernet, without really altering the Cab flavour profile. It's full bodied and fairly dense with some alcohol, but the tannins are nicely refined and customary southern Okanagan heat is dialled back. Excellent focus and length. Best 2014 to 2020.” Tasted February 2012.
La Stella Winery - LaStella is situated at Osoyoos lake in the South Okanagan valley of beautiful British Columbia. LaStella has some of the lowest yields and most concentrated fruit found in the valley. At any given time during harvest you will find as many as 14 people working at our two sorting tables. All the fruit that arrives in 30lb micro picking bins are double sorted and gently de-stemmed (rarely crushed) with around 80-90% whole berries getting slowly gravity fed to the fermentation tanks in the lower level. In the vineyards, they call their practice 'non-interventionism'. Along with their sister winery; Le Vieux Pin, they have around 50 acres of small parcel, prime vineyards in Oliver's Golden Mile and Black Sage Bench as well as vineyards at Osoyoos lake. They also contract grapes from quality minded growers who grow organically and sustainably. They practice low input viticulture and employ deficit irrigation.
La Stella wines sampled at this tasting included:
2010 LaStella Fortissimo, $45 + hst, 91 points - John Szabo, MS: The Fortissimo is a blend of mainly merlot (41%) with proportionately less cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and 8% sangiovese. The nose shows more lift and elegance than its more expensive stablemates, a prime example of a 'lesser' wine delivering more of what makes wine pleasurable: balance, freshness, florality, drinkability. Tannins are firm and grippy and dusty in the Italian style, which I presume is the goal of the estate, nicely delivered in this wine. Lingering finish; "fortissimo", not really in style, but certainly in quality. Tasted December 2012.(91 points)
2009 LaStella Maestoso "Solo" Merlot, $110 + hst, 93 points - John Schreiner: "LaStella Maestoso 2009 ($100 a bottle for 148 cases). This is 100% Merlot, a big, ripe wine with 15.2% alcohol buried in a plush texture of concentrated berries. The wine begins with a luscious aroma of sweet fruit, with flavours of black currant, plum and blueberry jam. This is truly a sybaritic wine. 93 points
2009 LaStella La Sophia Cabernet Sauvignon, $100 + hst, 93 Points David Lawrason "This might just be one the greatest cabernets ever made in Canada. It could be cabernet sauvignon from Margaret River, Coonawarra or Alto Maipo. There is as blast of blackcurrant, framed by mint, sage, chocolate and some animal notes. It is medium-full bodied, tense, deep and riveting on the palate. Yes, there's some greenness on the finish, with chewy tannins, but this has great penetration and vitality. It will drink at its best from 2015 to 2022 and beyond. (tasted 28 June, 2012)"
Le Vieux Pin website
La Stella website