“The overall property is 30 acres, with 20 acres planted to vine. The breakdown of varietals is approximately in thirds: one third Pinot Noir, one third Chardonnay, Viognier and Pinot Gris and one third Bordeaux varietals. 10 acres are older vines originally planted by Ian Mavety, the owner of Blue Mountain Vineyards. Prior to the purchase of the property by the current owners of Liquidity, Ian MacDonald and his partners, the vineyard had fallen into a bit of a state but their team has brought it back to good health. It is now a lovely vineyard in a beautiful setting. As much as possible, the vineyard is treated naturally, with chemicals only being used as a last resort. The entire property, which backs onto a nature reserve, is very respectful to the natural surroundings.”
As we returned to the crush pad, principal owner Ian MacDonald joined us for the tasting of the wines. The 2012 Pinot Gris is 100% stainless steel-fermented, is a pale straw colour with an apple-pear nose. It is clean and fresh with medium-plus acidity, juicy fruit flavours of peach and pear. The 2012 White Blend consists of 48% Chardonnay, 26% Viognier and 26% Pinot Gris. This was not created as a left-over wine, but purposely blended. It has a medium-minus intensity on the nose and palate, with citrus, apricot and a round mouthfeel and a long finish.The 2012 Viognier really stood out to me – absolutely delicious! It has a clean nose of citrus and apple, bright acidity with flavours or spice and apricot. 10% of the grapes had some skin contact, with 90% undergoing a wild ferment in barrel.
I believe that this is what contributed to the beautiful mouthfeel of this wine. The 2011 Chardonnay is made up of three barrels of wine: one new barrel, that did not undergo malolactic fermentation, and two older barrels that did undergo ML. This lovely Chardonnay has a clean light nose of baked apple, with flavours of grapefruit, spice and apple.The 2012 Rosé is very interesting as it is made from Dornfelder. This is the one variety of grape that actually has red-coloured flesh (most grapes have pale flesh and any red colour comes from the skins). This rosé’s grapes were picked, destemmed and crushed and spent 3 hours soaking on the skins before being pressed off. It underwent a wild ferment in old French oak barrels, and sat on the lees in barrel for 4 months. It has a nose of candied strawberry and raspberry with some lovely savoury notes on the palate.
The 2011 Merlot has rich aromas and flavours of cherry, plum, spice and fruitcake with medium-plus acidity, smooth but firm tannins and a long finish. This wine also underwent a wild yeast ferment and spent 14 months in French oak. These wines are all made in fairly small lots.
Ian was anxious to show off the nearly completed tasting room (it has since opened) so we popped in for a quick tour before leaving. I must say that the building is stunning and the views even more so. Ian has done an amazing job with the design and construction. There has been incredible attention to detail in every aspect of the building and its surroundings.
It is very modern, with a combination of stucco, laminated timber, metal cladding and large expanses of glass (to take in the stunning vistas in every direction). Inside, it is minimalist white, letting the outdoors bring the colour into the space through the windows. There will be colour added in by way of paintings and furnishings.
The building consists of three parts: tasting room, restaurant (as yet unopened, waiting for licensing process) and separate upper floor luxury two bedroom suite for winery partners or VIPs. There will also be a large patio with infinity pool that will provide additional seating space for the bistro, overlooking the vineyard and Vaseux Lake and McIntyre Bluff beyond. Again, it is definitely not a view to be missed. I look forward to the restaurant being open to sit and savour the food, wine and ambiance.
For more of Erin’s insightful writing on Okanagan Valley wineries, see her Vines & Designs blog.