BC Pinot Noir for summer sips

My earlier post was on BC pinot gris/grigio in the $15-$25 range for enjoying this summer. This post will be on BC pinot noir in the same price range. Pinot noir is nice slightly chilled, with not too much tannins to make it enjoyable on the patio. Plus with it’s summer fruit flavours and aromas of strawberries and raspberries in many cases, also makes it a good fit. I think BC makes very nice Pinot Noir. As an aside, there are several either New Zealand trained, or New Zealand wine makers here in BC. New Zealand is very well known for their New World style Pinot Noirs, and are making Burgundy take notice.

A quick check on the EverythingWine website, came up with 17 BC Pinot Noirs:

Arrowleaf Pinot Noir 750 mL Pinot Noir $22.99 More information about Arrowleaf  Pinot Noir 750 mL
Ganton & Larsen Prospect Pinot Noir 750 ml Pinot Noir $15.99 More information about Ganton & Larsen Prospect  Pinot Noir 750 ml
Gray Monk Pinot Noir 750mL Pinot Noir $16.99 More information about Gray Monk Pinot Noir 750mL
Inniskillin Okanagan Pinot Noir 750 mL Pinot Noir $24.99 More information about Inniskillin Okanagan  Pinot Noir 750 mL
Kalala Organic Estate Winery Pinot Noir Rose 750 mL Pinot Noir $21.99 More information about Kalala Organic Estate Winery Pinot Noir Rose 750 mL
Kettle Valley Pinot Noir Reserve 375ml Pinot Noir $23.99 More information about Kettle Valley Pinot Noir Reserve 375ml
Lang Vineyards Pinot Noir 750ml Pinot Noir $22.99 More information about Lang Vineyards Pinot Noir 750ml
Mike Weir Pinot Noir 750 mL Pinot Noir $21.99 More information about Mike Weir Pinot Noir 750 mL
Mission Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards Pinot Noir Bin 88 750ml Pinot Noir $16.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards  Pinot Noir Bin 88 750ml
Mission Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards Pinot Noir 750 mL Pinot Noir $17.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards Pinot Noir 750 mL
Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 750 mL Pinot Noir $21.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve  Pinot Noir 750 mL
Mt Boucherie Pinot Noir 750ml Pinot Noir $24.99 More information about Mt Boucherie Pinot Noir 750ml
Neck of the Woods Winery Blanc de Noir Sparkling 750 mL Pinot Noir $24.99 More information about Neck of the Woods Winery Blanc de Noir Sparkling 750 mL
Paradise Ranch Whistler 2005 Pinot Noir Icewine 200 ml Pinot Noir $24.99 More information about Paradise Ranch Whistler 2005 Pinot Noir Icewine 200 ml
Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir 750ml Pinot Noir $24.99 More information about Quails' Gate Pinot Noir 750ml
See Ya Later Ranch Unleashed Pinot Noir 750ml Pinot Noir $21.99 More information about See Ya Later Ranch Unleashed Pinot Noir 750ml
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir 750ml Pinot Noir $18.99 More information about Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir 750ml

You may have noticed a sparkling wine and an ice wine in the mix. The Pinot Noir grape is one of the classic varietals in Champagne. It also is being used to make more ice wines here in BC. One of my favourite BC Pinot Noir, is the Quail’s Gate Pinot Noir. From previous tasting notes that I have for Quail’s Gate Pinot Noir 2007: Silky with flavours of strawberries and cherries, and a bit of spice.

Enjoy summer!

Le Mondial du Pinot Noir – 2009

Le Mondial du Pinot Noir is a yearly competition strictly for the Pinot Noir varietal. 2009 was the 12th year of the competition. The competition is held and hosted by Switzerland. Wineries from around the world are invited to compete.

I did not know that Switzerland produced many Pinot Noir wines, but I guess this is in part to these wines not reaching British Columbia. The Pinot Noirs of western Switzerland and Neuchatel, I have read are of good quality.

This past year the Mondial du Pinot Noir set a new record for participation, with 1,144 wines being tasted. Switzerland, being the host country, offered 60% of the Pinot Noir wines for tasting. Germany was represented by 140 wines and France with more than 100. Other countries participating also included Hungary, Austria, Australia, Argentina – for a total of 24 countries. 50 judges from Canada, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Luxemburg, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, Romania, Spain, Greece and Lebanon tasted and graded the wines. The event was organized in accordance with regulations set down by the Paris-based governmental body the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).

The big winners, taking the Grande Médaille d’Or, are a Spanish Pinot Noir from the cellar Cortijo Los Aguillares in Ronda and a Valais Pinot Gris from Cave de la Madeleine (André Fontannaz in Vétroz). Of the 95 Or (gold) medals, 30 were awarded to wineries outside of Switzerland with 17 medals to Germany. I was amazed to read that a Spanish Pinot Noir won the Grande Medaille d’Or as you typically don’t think of Spain as a powerhouse for Pinot Noir. I now have a wine on my “to find and try” list for 2010!

Before going into more of the prizes, how did Canada do? We did win two prizes:
Arrowleaf Cellars, Arrowleaf Solstice Pinot Noir 2007 won a Bronze Medal,
Mission Hill Family Estate, Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2007 also won a
Bronze Medal.
Congratulations to Arrowleaf Cellars and Mission Hill Family Estate!

Some of the major prizes awarded are as follows:
World Champion of Pinot Noir Producers
Offered by the Fondation l’Homme et le Vin, Chamoson
Urs Pircher
Eglisau Zürich

Univerre Pro Uva prize, Sierre
Weingut Thomas Marugg
Blauburgunder Barrique 2007, Fläsch, Grisons (Blauburgunder is a German word for Pinot Noir.)

Millésimes Anciens (older vintages) prize
Offered by Nestlé Waters
Schlossgut Hohenbeilstein, Beilstein, Allemagne
Spätburgunder Auslese Trocken 2003, Württemberg (Spatburgunder also is a German word for Pinot Noir.)

Bourgogne Aujourd’hui prize
Décerné par la revue Bourgogne Aujourd’hui

Domaine de la Vougeraie
Nuits-Saint-Georges, France

Domaine Anne Parent
Pommard, France

Vinofed prize
Given by the Fédération Mondiale des Grands Concours Internationaux de Vins et de Spiritueux
Weingut Kuhnle, Weinstadt, Allemagne
Pinot Noir Barrique 2006, Qualitätswein Württemberg

Découverte (discovery) prize
Given by la Ville de Sierre
André Fontannaz, Cave la Madeleine, Vétroz, Valais
Malvoisie flétrie sur souche 2008, AOC Valais

A new prize was offered for 2009 at the Mondial du Pinot Noir called the “Producers of Pinot Noir World Champion“. For this special category the judges test three consecutive vintages, all more recent than 1995, which the producer has selected. The inaugural winner of this award was Urs Pircher from Eglisau Zürich.

If you are planning on being in Switzerland on August 20-22, 2010, maybe drop in on the 13th Le Mondial du Pinot Noir?

(Mondail is French for World if you were wondering). Enjoy!

Zweigelt – A Red to Try

From my last 2 trips to the BC Okanagan, I sampled several red wines made from the Zweigelt grape. Zweigelt isn’t a household name, but I think it should be more well-known. It is a grape conceived in Austria in the 1920’s by crossing Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent. You may say it is now the signature red grape of Austria. It has winter hardiness which is one reason why I think it is becoming more popular in the Okanagan. The name of the grape btw, comes from the Austrian plant-breeder Prof. Fritz Zweigelt.

The wines I tried were all quite full bodied, but did not have the big firm tannins of other varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Some have said that Zweigelt is more similar to Gamay in France.

Some BC producers of Zweigelt are:
– Stonehill Estate Winery
– Kalala Organic Estate Winery
– Hainle Vineyards

– Mistral
– Arrowleaf Cellars

and many more.

My recent review of the Stonehill Estate Winery Zweigelt Reserve 2006 ($19.90). “…had a dark cherry cordial type aroma. Very smooth in the mouth, with more dark cherry cordial and plum flavour. This wine, and grape, has a nice richness to it that makes it go well with a stew over the winter”.

Give a bottle of Zweigelt wine a try and see what you think. Enjoy!