Le Vieux Pin and La Stella tasting notes

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September 10th, 2014 tasting

I had a chance to try some of the new releases this year and of course I was impressed with the line up. La Stella and Le Vieux Pin have always been very well structured and serious wines for me, this year was no different, in fact more so!

First up was the Le Vieux Pin 2012 AVA; it is a blend of 61% Viognier, 21% Roussanne, and 18% Marsanne sourced just north of Oliver. I didn’t even have to hold the wine close to my nose and I was greeted with a burst of honeysuckle, which had underlying tangerine zest notes with hints of spice. This wine was 45% barrel aged in 500L French Barriques (33% new) for 9 months to give it the extra bit of complexity on the palate. Delicious 8.9

Second was the Le Vieux Pin Syrah “Cuvee Violette” 2012. All of the Le Vieux Pin Syrah have 3% Viognier in them. I was impressed with this wine and its distinctive “feminity”, I love that some vineyards are now making a few distinct styles or expressions of one grape in their vineyard. This wine is the most floral delicate version of Syrah. There was no bottle ageing and about 19% new French oak. On the nose, there was white pepper, violets, deep crimson red fruits and hints of eucalyptus & mint. On the palate, there was a continuation on the theme with beautiful soft fruits of moderate intensity and a long lengthy finish. Definitely a wine to pick up. 9.0

The Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2011 needs no introduction, the flagship wine is the perfect balance. 2011 marks the year of the winemaker’s favourite harvest to date. The grapes for this wine hail from Northern Oliver and the Black Sage Bench. 18 months in barrel and 1 year in bottle before release. I was extremely impressed with this wine, it has super intense earthy fruits and pepper with subtle floral tones. While muscular on the nose with hints of olive, it was very balanced on the fruit side with brambly fruits, a slight herbal nose and is what I consider to be a perfect textbook version of Okanagan Syrah. This wine can age 5-10yrs easily. 9.4

Lastly, the La Stella Maestoso 2011 Solo Merlot was the final wine in the line up. This vineyard property wine composed of 100% Merlot was planted in 1999. The vines for this wine are cropped very low, and the end product is truly stunning. This wine is well structured and elegant, I would call this a masculine Merlot, it had earthy fruits, hints of eucalyptus and cherries and chewy tannins. It was a bit reminiscent of a structured Zinfandel, just in hints. An excellent wine, this is a wine to be shared, cellared, enjoyed, and all of the above. It was truly an experience. 9.3

All in all, and excellent tasting


Hazards of being a Wine Ninja (but not really)

Belle Glos

When you work in the wine industry, you get to taste a lot of different wines which is a definite perk. You also learn very quickly to wear dark colours to tastings and how to properly spit. You certainly don’t want to have a “Sideways” moment with the spittoon!

(Hazard one. You get black teeth. It’s almost worth it to carry a travel toothbrush to a tasting, but careful not to use toothpaste for at least an hour as your enamel gets weakened by the acids in the wine.)

Moderate yourself. There are many amazing wines, but in order to properly evaluate; you must taste in order of flavour profiles and weight. Or if that isn’t possible, cleanse your palate between wines if you are tasting out of order. (Generally it is whites then roses before red, fortified and dessert wines last, lighter bodied wines before heavier, and more youthful wines before cellared or vintage. )

(Hazard two; palate fatigue. Choose the wines you want to try and taste in order to properly evaluate. Spit)

mc notes

If you can, try to properly document your thoughts, I usually carry a notebook at all times. I have found it quite helpful when revisiting vintages or comparing barrel samples. I generally jot down the specifics on the wines, then a brief tasting note, sometimes with a rating.

(Hazard three; your palate evolves. The wine world becomes your oyster and everywhere you look, you find hidden gems. Suddenly you notice that there are so many amazing wines in the world! But alas, they are not imported to your province or country.)

Reach out, talk with fellow industry people, go to tastings and be active in the community. Make a new friend or two!

(Hazard four; you get to explore your own backyard and horizons and make exploration a reality. Also, you meet many amazing people that you might never have met in wine)

Wine is accessible and not to be feared providing that you are of legal age, and if you are striving to learn then you are always moving forward, so sip on!

In Vino Veritas