Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tinhorn Creek Spring Preview

2011 was another tough and intriguing cool-climate vintage for the Okanagan Valley. One that started even later than 2010 which was one of the hardest and coolest growing seasons in 15 years. Through 2011, things were shaping up to be very much the same as 2010 with a late, Indian Summer providing just enough heat and sunshine to ripen the grapes before the onset of frost, which was devastating for the producers who gambled on a longer hang time for their crop. Except, the frost didn't come in 2011. At least, not to the degree it did in 2010 when a sudden drop in temperature in October wreaked havoc for many. The result was a longer than normal harvest with some vineyards leaving fruit hanging well into November and even into January of 2012 for a few Icewine harvests.

Previewing upcoming releases, including the much anticipated and inaugural release of the Oldfield Series Pinot Noir from the 2008 vintage, winemaker Sandra Oldfield and viticulturalist Andrew Moon paced invited media through the range of  the newly bottled 2011 white varietal wines to be released in May.

Cab Franc Block - Black Sage Bench
The backdrop for the preview tasting included visits to the winery's vineyards on the Black Sage Bench and the Golden Mile Bench where the winery is based. The tour was interspersed with the new wines and discussions about the winery's concerted effort to remain a steward of the land from which their product is sourced rather than a profiteer? Few wineries put forth the effort that Tinhorn Creek does to achieve a conscious-appeasing carbon-neutral result from the production of their wines. It's an expensive endeavor but one they seem committed to maintaining and even improving as projects like the winery's on-site composting mature.

Full reviews will be posted on as the wines are released.

2011 Gewurztraminer - $17.99
Hard to improve on the 2010 Goo, but first impressions are they managed to do it. Lower alcohol and slightly drier than previous vintages - a welcomed change. Produced from fruit grown on the Golden Mile property, just up the hill from the winery.
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2011 Pinot Gris - $17.99
Possibly the best Pinot Gris the winery has yet to produce. First impression was the balance of RS-to-acid-to-body seemed absolutely spot on.
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2011 Chardonnay - $17.99
We tasted the new vintage of Chardonnay only a day after it had been bottled resulting in a bit of bottleshock. The acid levels and ripeness seem to be where they should be, but an overall impression was hard to construct.

2011 2Bench Rose - $23
Made from Cabernet Franc grapes with minimal skin contact, the 2011 version does not disappoint. In fact, it's the best one yet. Production is higher this year so you should be able to find this wine a little easier than in the past - look for it, you will not be disappointed.
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2008 Oldfield Series Pinot Noir - $35(est)
Waiting four years before releasing a wine to the consumer is mostly unheard of in the Okanagan Valley as wineries can't afford the cost of holding back product that people are ready to purchase. Tinhorn decided to bite the bullet and hold-out for an extra year for the standard Pinot Noir and two full years for their new Oldfield Series Pinot Noir, much to the chagrin of their finance and marketing people. Alas the wait is (nearly) over and it was worth it. This reserve Pinot is just that much more refined and elegant that the varietal series Pinot Noir. The result is more depth, more character and more presence in the glass. Yum. Look for a June or July release date.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2012

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