Gismondi tasting notes & reviews

Anthony Gismondi | August 8, 2017  | gismondionwine.com

91 Points – Micro Cuvée Pinot Noir 2015

“The Micro-Cuvée is best of the bunch most years, although rivalled by the Old Block in 2015. There is only 110 cases of it, all grown at McLean Creek Road. The Micro Cuvée is winemaker Chris Carson’s personal selection of his best barrels, what he terms the “most harmonious blend” of McLean Creek Road Vineyard. The grapes are Pommard Clone 91. Carson used all French oak, 50 percent new, and it is aged for eleven months. This is unabashed New World pinot eerily reminiscent of Central Otago. The entry is silky, the textures smooth, the flavours are a mix of forest floor, earth, dark plums, cherries and dried sagebrush. Persistent and lengthy. In 2015, mild spring temperatures forced one the earliest ever recorded budburst in mid-April, pushing the prime ripening period into the hottest days of the growing season which was an issue for some producers. Harvest began on the 7th of September. On the upside, the fruit was disease free and ripe.”

91 Points – Micro Cuvée Chardonnay 2015

“No one expected the heat of 2015 and unless you were growing cabernet sauvignon, I’m sure no wants to see it again in the Okanagan. It’s warm years like 2015 that point to the wealth of sites available to wineries to make wine up and down the valley. The Micro Cuvée is only produced in top years and is based on specific barrel selections. In this case winemaker Chris Carson chose one new French oak puncheon from the Troncais forest and one one-year old puncheon from the Allier forest. This chardonnay is on the edge of being Napa-like, with rich, nutty, spicy fruit flavours. It’s a bigger, warmer year but there is enough acidity and texture to keep your interest. Try this with a full-blown piece of brie, or a rosemary scented roasted chicken.”

91 Points – Tribute Series Chardonnay “Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship” 2015

“In 2015 one of the earliest bud-bursts on record heralded what would be a warm year in the Okanagan. The Old Main Road Vineyard, where they have been using organic farming practices since 2013, was perfectly ripe at 22.5 brix, on September 7, some 50 days earlier than the previous year. Only the purest juice is used, again all handled in a minimalist manner and transferred into 100 percent French oak (22 percent new) to complete fermentation. The wine is left sur lees for 11 months without battonage. It’s a bigger style as you might guess, more Sonoma Coast than Burgundy, but still fresh and a lot of fun to drink. The nose is a melange of seashore scents, sweet lemon with toasted notes and rich textures. In the end the acidity keeps it all together. Fine value. The 2015 Tribute will take the shape of a $5,000 bursary to the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Foundation, a Canadian non-profit culinary foundation, the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship, was created in 2013 to recognize and inspire young Canadian chefs, whilst promoting professionalism and culinary excellence within the hospitality industry.”

91 Points – “Old Block” McLean Creek Road Pinot Noir 2015

“In 2015, mild spring temperatures forced one of the earliest ever recorded budbursts in mid-April that pushed the prime ripening period into the hottest days of the growing season. This was an issue for some producers. At Meyer, harvest began on the 7th of September. On the upside, the fruit was disease free and ripe. Chris Carson keep sits simple at Meyer. The fruit is gently de-stemmed via gravity into small open top fermenters and allowed to cold soak, followed by an indigenous yeast ferment peaking at 30C. Gentle hand plunging of the must is performed throughout before the free run juice is transferred to 100 percent French oak barrels (22 percent new) for 11 months. In 2015 the fruit has been deftly handled keeping it fresh and lively with floral undertones and bright dark cherry fruit with flecks of mineral mud. Finesse and length is the holy grail of pinot and it’s apparent here.”

90 Points – Stevens Block Chardonnay 2016

“Oh my, this is the real thing. 2015’s early start backed off in July, and the cooler temperatures have yielded some terrific white wines across the valley. The harvest at Old Main Road Vineyard started September 26 at 23 brix. The one acre Stevens Block was planted in 2006 to the French clones 4 and 5 on the steepest and coolest part of the Naramata Vineyard. It’s been farmed organic since 2013 and like all the winemaking at Meyer, little is done to the fruit. The ferment was long (60 days) and cool and the result is a somewhat tight, linear entry, almost a Chablis cru style with super bright fruit and a vein of electricity from front to back. Super youthful and fresh this should develop well over the next three to five years. Try it now with seafood pasta dish or grilled halibut.”

90 Points – McLean Creek Road Chardonnay 2015

“This chardonnay had been settling into a reliable pattern along the lines of slightly skinny, fresh, complex, and long. In 2015 the warmer weather has added some extra honey and texture to the mix. The nose is still nutty the fruit bright, maybe more red apple than green but with enough acidity to keep it interesting. The finish is all hazelnut, butter and melon fruit flavours. What it has is a sense of complexity and length in the glass. Crab, halibut and lobster all come to mind, but it may surprise you with a steak. The McLean Creek Road Vineyard, owned by the Meyer family, is in Okanagan Falls. It has a steep southerly aspect; the soil is a mix of gravel and sandy loams farmed in two separate blocks. It’s mostly fermented in stainless steel before finishing the ferment in French oak (18 percent new) and then remaining unstirred for 11 months on its lees as it goes through a natural malo-lactic fermentation. It’s bottled unfined and unfiltered.”

90 Points – Reimer Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015

“East Kelowna is home to this juicy, spicy, pinot noir that has mostly survived the heat of 2015. The nose is mix of ripe black cherries sprinkled with mineral notes and just the right amount of toasted oak. There is a touch of that earthy, sour cherry, Oregon thing going on in the back end with enough acidity to make it all work. The vineyard is moderately steep with cool northwesterly aspect, and the soils slightly heavier alluvial and windblown deposits making up a silt loam overlaying a gravel loam. Drink all fall with smoked chicken, grilled salmon or mushroom risottos.”

89 Points – McLean Creek Road Pinot Noir 2015

“A richer version of the 2014, with much darker, blueberry aromas and characters but still with enough acidity to keep it fresh. The attack is firm and relatively dry with a pleasant, savoury, rustic undercurrent and firm but accessible tannins. There is no need to rush to drinking this but it is kind of fun to gulp now. If you don’t cellar this through 2020 try it with barbecue pork. Mclean Creek Road Vineyard is on the home site. Its relatively steep slope faces south, west and northwest and sits over a mix of stony/sandy alluvial and glacial deposits. The vines mix five different Burgundian clones, both Pommard and Dijon, on three distinct blocks. Each block is managed separately using organic principles.”

89 Points – Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir 2015

“This wine is quickly gaining a following for its juicy fruit and price. It’s not perfect in 2015; it’s a bit funky showing some volatility with a touch of Bretty barnyard, but none of it overwhelms the fruit. The minimal intervention at Meyer clearly filters (bad word I guess) down to this entry level pinot. It bears an Okanagan Valley designation and blends fruit from the home property Mclean Creek Road Vineyard in Okanagan Falls, Reimer Vineyard in South East Kelowna and two East Kelowna sites. It’s destemmed and cold soaked before a long, warm fermentation. It is all hand plunged and post maceration it spends ten months in 100 percent older seasoned French oak barrels. Like last year, cran-cherries and raspberry fruit rule the palate with a silky mouth-filling, finish. Perfect with salmon or duck or mushroom pastas. California and New Zealand meet BC.”

88 Points – Fleet Road Riesling 2016

“Fleet Road Vineyard was planted in 2005 on the Naramata Bench. The ferment is wild, the style is skinny and tight with a strong citrus, pear skin flavour and bitter grape fruit finish. The 2016 is fresher than the previous version but the style remains intense and made for food.”

88 Points – McLean Creek Road Gewürztraminer 2016

“A pleasant 13 percent alcohol sets the stage for this southwest-facing heritage block of gewürztraminer vines planted on the estate McLean Creek Road Vineyard 23 years ago. Gravelly sandy loam regulates the vines and the flavours, giving this wine an aromatic aura that doesn’t obliterate its textures and the flavours on the palate. Light litchi, lees, bits of orange with a hint of spice mark what is a tasty ready-to-drink white. Sushi anyone?”

88 Points – Okanagan Valley Chardonnay 2016

“The Meyer Okanagan chardonnay is a mix of estate fruit from McLean Creek Road (1994) in Okanagan Falls and Old Main Road (1996) in Naramata. The winemaking is simple: it’s cold settled for two days then racked of the solids (heavy sediment) to a stainless steel vessel for a month-long ferment followed by a four-month rest on the lees. The methodology of sites, vine age and production methods is designed to create an early drinking, fresh, tasty, regional chardonnay. Like last year, this wine surprises with its richness and flavours for the money, and will have wide appeal. Ready to drink. Try this fresh cracked crab or a lobster sushi roll.”

88 Points – Pinot Noir Rosé 2016

“Ripe and full strawberry, raspberry and orange fills this juicy, medium bodied and silky rosé. This is a saignée from the younger pinot noir vines on their Okanagan Falls estate as well as selected Kelowna vineyards. The Pommard and Dijon clones are fermented wild in barrel, where it rests for four months, undergoing MLF, before bottling. A light candied apple note, ample cinnamon spicing lingers on the finish. Chill and drink this summer.”

For a full list of wine tasting notes and reviews from Anthony Gismondi visit www.GismondiOnWine.com