Set The Bar
Lifestyle in Style

BRITISH COLUMBIA’S Meyer Family Vineyards: Back in the Limelight Again!

I reviewed some of Meyer Family Vineyard wines earlier this year to my great enthusiasm. I was also asked to wait until this spring to review three more and yes, it is exciting to see if they are good as the previous wines.

The Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot-Noir-Old Block 2017 came from not a particularly ideal climatic conditions with a big snow melt causing flooding throughout the Okanagan Valley and the lakeshore. Nearby forest fires then blocked out some of the sunlight. The smoke also trapped some moisture in the air leading to some powdery mildew in parts of some the blocks causing a loss of 10-15% of yield. A clear September and October came to rescue letting some great fruit come off the vines.

Yes we have seen this before and that is sometimes a negative quirk is rightened and adds something special to the wine you might not otherwise obtain in an “ideal” growing season.

The block is in the Okanagan Falls area of British Columbia and the “Old Block” was planted in 1994 with  soil comprised of alluvial and glacial deposits making up a soil of gravel and sandy loam.

Meyer is not certified organic but practices organic/sustainable farming principles.

At the winery the fruit was destemmed leaving 10% whole cluster and fermentation which was with indigenous yeast. After post maceration the wine was transferred into 100% French oak barrels 30% which were new and it remained in the barrels for 11 months.

My initial thought is that the wine lasted nicely in a six-month sleep in my natural cellar.

Ruby coloured. Delicate but seductive notes of raspberry, black cherry, strawberry and blackberry. Ah Meyer is up to its delicious old tricks!

On the palate some elegance with a touch of Douro Port, Obidos cherry liqueur, restrained acids all saying a classy and not flashy citizen of the wine world. I must say after being in the Campanian area of Italy for three weeks where the red wines were full bodied and excellent which suited the local food to a tee it is a bit tough making the transition to elegance but I’d rather do it with Meyer Family Vineyards than anyone else.

311 cases were produced.

(Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot-Noir-Old Block Okanagan Valley 2017, Okanagan Falls, BC VQA, McLean Creek Vineyard, Meyer Family Vineyards Inc., Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, $43.98,13.5%, Set The Bar Rating 93/100).

Now to a very exotic sounding Meyer Family Vineyards Micro Cuvée Chardonnay from 2017. Light gold in colour. It reminds me on the nose very much like an Encruzado from the Dão region in Portugal which is grown in granitic soils. There is a delightfully gravelly minerality to the nose and notes of pineapple, peach, apricot and mango like you might find in an Encruzado but at the end of the day the nose confidentially shouts, “I am an oaked Chardonnay”. However, it is lightly oaked and like the Pinot Noir described above it is lighthearted and elegant. The finish is short but classy. If I am off to Portugal soon, I’d like my Encruzado producing friends to give this a try. Interesting that there is an element of similarity to this Chardonnay and many a Dão Encruzado in that their soils are both results of alluvial deposits. Also an Encruzado is a bit raspier going down the hatch than this Chardonnay.

This Chardonnay is from the Old Main Vineyard located on a terrace on the Naramata Bench. The must was transferred into 100% French oak of which 22% was new and left on the lees for 11 months. The wine is both unfined and unfiltered.

A great sipping wine. If you know how to make the famed 7 fish’s Italian soup a great match. For something less exotic a simple grilled chicken.

110 cases were made.

(McLean Family Vineyards 2017 Micro Cuvée Chardonnay Okanagan Valley 2017, Okanagan Falls, BC VQA, McLean Creek Vineyard, Meyer Family Vineyards Inc., Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, $56.52,13.5%, Set The Bar Rating 93/100).

To conclude we open a Meyer Family Vineyards Micro Cuvée Pinot Noir Okanagan Valley 2017 Okanagan Falls. This one has a purplish and garnet colour. There is no mistaking on the nose this is a Pinot Noir and a forceful one at that. No dainty baby. Muscular black cherry and raspberry liqueur with a touch of pine forest. Could it be the vines sucked up some of smoke from the 2017 nearby forest fires? On the palate a full mouthfeel but controlled acids and tannins. Some discrete black cherry, ripe raspberries and a bit of resin and Ouzo. The acids gain strength as the wine opens up but still they are controlled. Hating to sound stereotypical here but grilled wild B.C. salmon or a real favourite of mine smoked salmon cooked with garlic, oregano, basil, tomatoes, Pinot Noir (of course) with a good slug of 35% cream and served over freshly made pasta.

As for growing conditions same as first wine reviewed above. The vines from the McLean Creek Road Vineyard are located in Okanagan Falls, British Columbia and the soil is comprised of alluvial and glacial deposits making up a mix of gravelly and sandy loam. The Pinot Noir Blocks have 5 different Pinot Noir clones. The Pommard Clone 91 comprises the majority of the wine and the wine has been aged in French oak. A mere 150 cases. The Vineyard states this wine has 10 years plus ageing possibility. We will have to argue with the experts and say drink within the next couple of years. I fear the acids may just gain in strength. But within that timeframe I think you won’t regret picking up a few bottles of this!

(Meyer Family Vineyards, Micro Cuvée Pinot Noir Okanagan Valley 2017, Okanagan Falls, McLean Creek Vineyard Meyer Family Vineyards Inc., Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, $56.52,13.5%, Set The Bar Rating 94/100).

Again, I continue to be impressed with Meyer Family Vineyards and its winemaker Chris Carson. The result are unique Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Again, risking stereotypes, I can only try and be uncreative and say neither French, Oregonian, Californian but distinctly Meyer Family Vineyards. And as for “value” I would be laughing all the way to the bank.

Given the low case volume forget looking for these at your local LCBO! You’ll have to call the winery and ask about shipping charges (250).497.8553. Now if you become a Meyer fan, they do have a wine club. Not wanting to create a lengthy article check these guys out at www.mfvwines.com

Now if you are reading this you just may be one who loves trying wines from different terroirs and countries and good on you. But for value, quality and supporting Canadian wineries I will raise my hand and say give these guys a try.

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