Morning Bay Vineyard Wine Tasting

Morning Bay Merlot 2004Last Tuesday we attended the Morning Bay Vineyard and Estate Winery tasting held at the Alibi Room in Gastown, hosted by winery owners Keith Watt and Barbara Reid. Morning Bay is located on Pender Island, and the 2006 vintages are the first productions to come from this young winery.

Of the six bottles opened for the occasion, the three whites and the Rosé were made from grapes grown in their impressive Pender Island vineyard. The Merlot and Reserve Merlot that were offered were produced from vineyards in the south Okanagan.

We began with the Estate Bianco 2006, a blend featuring Schonberger, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and "a touch of Riesling."  This is a very light sipper, and I think is a good starter with appetizers — MB recommends salads or shellfish.  It has an inviting nose, low acidity, and a good finish.

Next we tried the Estate Gewürztraminer-Reisling 2006, another fruit-forward wine with low acidity. This wine is made with 75% Gewürztraminer and 25% Reisling grapes. As Morning Bay's wine agent Tim Ellison points out with a colourful turn of phrase, it is not "an overly extracted fruit bomb." It has a nice balance with an off dry finish.

Next, we enjoyed the Estate Pinot Gris 2006. This is another fruit forward wine, with restrained alcohol, and has a light oak finish.

The Estate Chiaretto 2006 is Morning Bay's Rosé. This wine is made with Pinot Noir grapes, and has a light strawberry flavour. I felt this would compliment a light green or fruit salad, but probably wouldn't stand up to anything too heavy.

The Merlot 2004 was a bit of a shock after tasting the previous four very light wines.  It's slight tannins give it a hefty body and good finish. Mike and I like bold wines, and this was a keeper for both of us.

The premier choice was left for last: Morning Bay's Reserve Merlot 2004.  I found a slight green pepper nose and taste, with a touch of floral.  This was a much more smooth and less tannic wine than the non-reserve Merlot. I would bring this wine out for the special occassions!

For those who are interested, the grapes for the Merlot grown in Osoyoos bench, those for Reserve Merlot grown in Inkameep Vineyards "Z-Block" vineyard.