Creating Wines to be Late Bloomers
...and a battle of... wit?
Typically, Okanagan rosés are made in small quantities with the hope that the vintage runs out before the wine gets ‘tired’.
In 2010, we created enough Haywire and Bartier Scholefield Rosé so that the supply would last, and the wine could be given an opportunity for bottle aging.
“When we released the wines, we were excited about the quality and the potential for aging,” notes our wine advisor David Scholefield. “They were both delicious and outstanding in their own way. Now,” he continues, “we are very impressed with how they have matured and rounded out and both are sound examples of how patience pays off.”
There are less than 200 cases of each wine at this point and the plan calls for the 2011 rosés to be released in the summer of 2013, starting the cycle of withholding release dates. Our consulting Italian winemaker, Alberto Antonini, agrees with this strategy, and now there is a policy developing at Okanagan Crush Pad.
“We have been building inventory and are not going to rush wines to market,” shares owner Christine Coletta. “Now, we just need to get the marketplace to start thinking differently about Okanagan whites and rosés. Perhaps some of the aromatic varieties made in a ready- to-quaff style are suited to an early release,” she continues, “but we have seen that Michael Bartier’s wines really come into their own when they have some bottle aging.”
Okanagan Crush Pad's chief winemaker Michael Bartier agrees. “There is a serious misconception about Okanagan whites and rosés that I personally aim to tackle,” he notes. “Over the years I have made wines that when revisited several years later, are really showing outstanding character. The reason we can do this is based on two key principles: a conscious winemaking style, and the natural acidity found in Okanagan Valley grown fruit.”
Since the release of the two 2010 rosés, Bartier and Scholefield have revisited the wines frequently. Each has their own personal favourite, but votes from others tend to be split down the middle.
“We all know that wine is a very personal experience, so it is not surprising that one of the two rosés is preferred over the other,” says Scholefield. “There is no right or wrong answer, and no real contest, as clearly the Bartier Scholefield Rosé is superior in all aspects.”
Bartier agrees there is no real contest, and notes, “If you have spent your life living in dry work camp in Northern BC, you likely prefer the same wine as Scholefield. If, however, you are a discerning, educated palate, and a worldly person, the Haywire is in every way superior.”
Following are updated tasting notes on each wine that outline the evolution the wines have taken since the inaugural release.
Michael Bartier's Thoughts on the Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé 2010
“I remember this wine so well when it was freshly bottled: cranberry, bright red fruit, tangerine, and CRISP! Two years on it now has all of these, but magnified.
And WOW, how is it possible that acidity can have the texture of VELVET? I'm not kidding.
We're talking about very pronounced acidity that is neither sour nor tart, but absolutely smooth and mouthwatering. Sure, the flavours are remarkable on this wine, but the real story is in the TEXTURE which is driven by this acidity.
I had this wine with Mrs. Bartier's chicken stew recently (which as it turns out is the one perfect match to the wine) but I realized actually, no, there are a whole bunch of one perfect matches to this wine because of that lush, VOLUPTUOUS, velvet acidity. I believe this wine is still on the upwards curve, but man, it's tough not to drink it now.”
David Scholefield's Thoughts on the Bartier Scholefield Gamay Noir Rosé 2010
“When we first contemplated the 2010 Gamay fruit from magnificent Secrest Mountain vineyard at McIntyre Bluff, Mike and I had a Big Idea – this is a godsend, a perfect chance to make a statement about the uniqueness of the Okanagan: we will make the quintessential BC Gamay, it will be crunchy and crisp and earthy and lip-smacking, it will be poised upon a delicate balance between fresh natural acidity and ripe berry fruit, it will be raspberry tart, not cherry pie sweet, it will be irresistibly gulp-able and fresh air worthy, and naturally, it will be pink.
We wanted to show that the Okanagan is outside-the-box, that one of the things we can do as well as anyone else anywhere is make great bone dry pink wine that destroys the old ‘if-it’s-pink-it’s-sweet-and-simplistic’ stereotype.
We made a pure, fresh, juicy, lively wine that was a bit of a risk because it was challengingly tangy, but we believed that was its essence, and we were proud of it. That was then, this is now. And guess what: it is more minerally, but still rainwater fresh, and it is has acquired the sleek, velvety, mouth filling texture that the greatest rosés (Sancerre, Bandol, Tavel) have, and we are more proud than ever. We are delighted that our ‘nice little rosé’ expresses a profound truth about Okanagan wines – they’re great for early drinking, but they’re age worthy too.”
Whose side are you on?
Clearly the two are putting up their dukes, but at the end of the day, we ask you to judge both wines and give us your thoughts.
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