Recently I tasted six wines from a new winery in the Naramata Bench. This is the way their website describes them:
Moraine is a family-owned winery and vineyard overlooking Okanagan Lake, located just minutes from the city of Penticton. From its shelf-like location above striking clay bluffs, Moraine peers over the landscape and water. These iconic glaciated white clay cliffs comprise the breathtaking Naramata Bench and inspire the winery’s land-formed name.
The winery owners are the husband-wife team of Oleg and Svetlana Aristarkhov, who, at a time when they were ready to make a life change, were enchanted by Moraine’s setting. The couple believes that wine offers one of life’s most simple, enjoyable, and accessible pleasures; and this philosophy spurred their leap into the wine industry. They relocated from Alberta, where they had lived for 15 years, to make premium Okanagan wines.
Here are my notes:
- Moraine Cliffhanger White 2018 (Okanagan Valley): 51% Gewurztraminer, 49% Pinot Gris. Pale straw colour; aromatic, minerally nose of lychee and grapefruit with a light rose petal note; medium-bodied, dry, rich lychee and green peach flavour prolonged by zesty, citrus acidity. A beautifully balanced wine. Great tension between ripe fruit and fresh acidity. Drink now. (90)
- Moraine Reserve Riesling 2018 (Okanagan Valley): Pale straw colour; minerally, citrus zest bouquet; light-bodied, crisply dry, green apple an lime flavours with a crab apple note on the finish. Drinking well now but will reward cellaring for 3–4 years. (89)
- Moraine Viognier 2018 (Okanagan Valley)
Very pale in colour; light honeysuckle and peach aromas on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, classic Viognier character – white peach and lemon flavours lifted with a floral note. Fresh and lively on the palate. Drink now and through 2020. (90)
- Moraine Pinot Noir 2018 (Okanagan Valley): Deep ruby in colour with a violet rim; black raspberry bouquet with an undergrowth note; medium-bodied, dry and savoury, black cherry flavour carried on lively acidity; firmly structured with an uptick of ripe tannins on the finish. Hold 1–2 years. (89)
- Moraine Red Mountain 2016 (Okanagan Valley): 46% Cabernet Franc, 29% Malbec, 25% Merlot. Deep ruby colour; lightly cedary nose of black fruits enriched with oak spice; medium to full-bodied, dry, well-extracted juicy cherry and plum flavours; well-balanced with nicely integrated oak and a firm finish. Drinking well now but deserves a year or two in your cellar. (90).
- Moraine Syrah 2017 (Okanagan Valley): Dense purple colour; savoury-herbal, blackberry bouquet with oak spice and a floral grace note; full-bodied, dry, opulent mouth-filling flavours of mulberry and black cherry with a tobacco note; well-integrated oak and a firm satisfying finish. Drink through 2020–21. (91)
Last week I was invited to Flat Rock Cellars for a unique tasting. Owner Ed Madronich had taken out of his wine library a bottle each of Flat Rocks sparkling wine from the first year of production – 2006. One was bottled under the traditional cork, the other under crown cap. Ed had wanted the entire production to be under screwcap, like the rest of the winery’s portfolio, including Icewine, but his mother, Nadja, had insisted that five cases of the bubbly be bottled under cork.
We tasted them blind, side by side to see how they had both aged.
Wine A was deep golden in colour with a bready nose; it was dry, bright and lively with lemony acidity.
Wine B was more mature with just a touch of oxidation (“le gout anglais”) and not as effervescent.
Wine A was livelier and fresher tasting. This turned out to be the wine under crown cap.
Gérard Bertand Crémant de Limoux Brut Rosé 2017 ($22.95, Vintages #648618): Flesh pink in colour; raspberry bouquet; light-bodied, dry, cherry and raspberry flavours with a floral grace note. Delicious! (89)
Tom Gore Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (with 2% French Colombard, California – $19.95, Vintages #515114): Bright, light straw in colour; mango and peach nose with an aromatic note from the French Colombard; medium-bodied, dry, fruity, peach and mango flavours (90).