A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 808: Tightrope, Checkmate and More

Some wines we tasted with Thomas Bachelder

Tightrope Winery on the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley is owned by Graham and Lyndsay O’Rourke. Balance is everything in their wines (pun intended).

Tightrope Winery Riesling 2019
Pale straw in colour; minerally, slightly smoky, lightly floral nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry with lime and grapefruit flavours; fresh and lively on the palate, beautifully balanced with a long finish. (90)

Tightrope Winery Chardonnay 2019
Straw colour; lightly toasty, apple nose; medium-bodied, dry, spicy, apple and lemon flavours with a fresh lemony finish; well-integrated oak. (89)

Tightrope Winery Pinot Noir Fleet Road 2019
Deep ruby colour; lifted, cherry nose with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, a touch volatile; firmly structured, sweet cherry flavour. richly extracted. (87)

Tightrope Winery Vertigo 2019
37% Merlot, 34% Barbera, 28% Cabernet Franc. Opaque purple colour; cedary, spicy, vanilla nose with a floral top note; medium to full-bodied, dry, black cherry flavour; firmly structured, well-integrated oak, with a dark chocolate finish, carried on lively acidity. (89)

Tightrope Winery Cabernet Franc 2018
Deep ruby in colour; cedary, lightly floral blueberry bouquet; medium to full-bodied, dry, blueberry and plum flavours; firmly structured with ripe tannins. Needs time. (90)

Tightrope Winery Syrah 2018
Opaque purple in colour; blackberry, pepper and vanilla oak on the nose; full-bodied, dry, firmly structured with an elegant, herbal finish and a delightful floral note. (92)

Friday, August 13th: Thomas Bachelder invited us and our houseguests Aina and James over to his house in Fonthill to taste a series of Checkmate wines from the Okanagan he had received from Anthony von Mandl, plus other wines – to be followed by bavette steak and frites (and Deborah’s peach cobbler). It was a riotously raucous evening outdoors. I began making notes but gave up, so here is a list of the wines we tasted (including the Alvear Solera 1927 PX I brought along for the dessert):

  • Checkmate Little Pawn Chardonnay 2014
  • McHenry Hohnen Calgardup Brook Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 (Margaret River)
  • Domaine Drouhin Chardonnay Arthur 2015 (Dundee Hills, Oregon)
  • Bachelder Mineralité de l’Oregon 2015 (Willamette Valley)
  • Checkmate Fool’s Mate Chardonnay 2016
  • CedarCreek Platinum Chardonnay Block 5 2016
  • Checkmate End Game Merlot 2013
  • Checkmate Silent Bishop Merlot 2014
  • Checkmate Black Rook Merlot 2015
  • Château Haut Segottes 2015 (Saint-Émilion)
  • Checkmate Opening Gambit Merlot 2016
  • Laughing Stock Merlot 2016
  • CedarCreek Platinum Merlot Desert Ridge 2016
  • And tasted blind: Cascina Luisin Barbaresco 2015
  • With Deborah’s dessert: Alvear Solera 1927 PX

An extraordinary evening of wine tasting!

Other wines tasted over the week at home:

Alvear Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927

Alvear Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927 (Montilla-Moriles, $19.95, 375 mL)
Deep brown in colour; a nose of molasses, brown sugar and nuts; full-bodied, sweet, fig and date flavours with honey. Beautifully balanced, great length. (92)

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre 2017

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre 2017 (Veronese)
Deep purple-ruby in colour; cedary, tobacco, cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted cherry and plum flavours with a nutmeg note; beautifully balanced; well-integrated oak and a long, lingering finish. (91)

Feudo Antico Terre di Chieti Pecorino 2019

Feudo Antico Terre di Chieti Pecorino 2019 (Abruzzo, $15.95, Vintages #644930)
Pale straw in colour; minerally, peach pit nose; medium-bodied, dry, white peach and pear flavours with a light floral note. Good value. (88.5)

Wending Home Pinot Gris 2020 (Creek Shores, Ontario; $28)
Pale gold colour; pear bouquet with a spicy, honeyed note; medium-bodied, peachy-pear flavour with a light floral tone. (88.5)

Wending Home Rosé 2020

Wending Home Rosé 2020 ($25)
A Chardonnay-Pinot Noir blend. Pale pink in colour; strawberry nose; medium-bodied, dry, crisp yellow cherry flavour with a lemony finish. (89)

Château Saint-Roch Chimères Grenache Syrah Carignan 2018

Château Saint-Roch Chimères Grenache Syrah Carignan 2018 (Côtes de Roussillon-Villages; $19.95, Vintages #119354)
Deep purple in colour; lightly floral nose of blackberries and white pepper with oak spice; medium to full-bodied, dry,  richly extracted blackberry flavour; well-balanced. (89)

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