A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 892: Naramata’s Roche Wines

“Deep roots in French tradition nourish our shared passion for soils, vines and wine. Dedicated to natural, artisanal farming and winemaking, we strive to reveal the intimate relation of wine and terroir. Each of our wines is the expression of one place, one exceptional Okanagan terroir. Hands-on farming is our first priority, and this artisanal scale is reflected in the very limited quantities produced. We strive to make wines of ever greater clarity and precision.”
—Pénélope and Dylan Roche

Roche Vig Schönburger 2022 (Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley)
Bright, light straw colour; reductive, melon bouquet with a floral note; medium-bodied, dry, aromatic lychee and melon flavours; beautifully balanced, rich mid-palate flavours carried on lively acidity. (90)

Roche Tradition Pinot Gris 2021 (Naramata Bench)
Light straw-yellow in colour; spicy, minerally, lightly toasty, peach pit nose; medium-bodied, honeyed white peach flavour rounded with a touch of oak. Elegant and easy drinking. (90)

Roche Tradition Chardonnay 2020 (Naramata Bench)
Bright, yellow straw in colour; spicy, toasty, apple bouquet with notes of struck flint; medium-bodied, dry, apple and peach flavours with oak spice; lovely mouth feel and great length. Very Burgundian in style. (92)

Roche Vig Gamay 2022 (Oliver, Okanagan Valley)
Ruby I colour; earthy, cherry bouquet with a touch of pepper and a note of violets; medium-bodied, dry, intense, ripe black cherry flavour. Great mouth feel. (91)

Roche Vig Clone 777 Pinot Noir 2021 (Naramata Bench)
Light ruby colour with a tawny hue; spicy, cedary nose of wild strawberries and a touch of tobacco leaf; medium-bodied, savoury, strawberry flavour; elegant and silky on the palate. Burgundian style. (90)

Roche nuances 2019 (Okanagan Valley)
54% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep dark purple in colour; cedary, vanilla, blackcurrant nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, richly textured flavours of black currant, plum and redcurrant with evident but mellow tannins; firmly structured and beautifully balanced. Reminiscent of Bordeaux’s St. Julien. (90–92)

Kalimera 2019 – a sensational wine

August 25th: I pulled this wine out of the cellar to have with a prawn dish for dinner. It was spectacular! I had purchased it at the winery in 2022. Here is my diary note then:

Sunday, June 5th: Meeting in the hotel lobby for a 9 o’clock departure for a winery visit on the island of Ischia – a 50-minue boat-ride away from Naples. Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea that lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 kilometers from the city of Naples. The winery we visited was Cenatiempo Vini d’Ischia, owned by Pasquale Cenatiempo, who explained that Ischia is the largest of the three volcanic islands off Naples.

Pasquale walked us up to the highest point of his vineyards (planted at 450 metres elevation). There are six wineries on the island serviced by many small growers who own, on average, three hectares of vineyards. For white wine, Biancolella and Forastera are planted, and for red, Guarnaccia and Piedirosso (known locally Per’ ’e Palummo or La Zampa di Piccione, which translates as Pigeon’s Foot because of its red appearance). Ischia Bianco was the first wine in Campania to be designated a DOC in 1966. Pasquale produces currently 20,000 bottles in glass-lined cement fermenters.

Here is the review I wrote of his Biancolella Kalimera 2019 in 2022:

Cenatiempo Kalimera 2019 (Biancolella): This wine was an absolute treat! Golden in colour; minerally, floral, herbaceous, peach nose; beautifully balanced, elegant and flavourful with a lovely mouth-feel – the star of the tasting! (93)

Last night I gave it 94!

Other wines tasted this week:

Château Leoville-Las-Cases 1982

Fairview Cellars M2 2014

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