THE ADVOCATE 853
VOL. 78 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2020
One has to go a few steps up in price to enjoy the Tantalus Pinot Noir
Reserve 2017 ($61). A blend of several clones, this wine was aged in thirty
per cent oak for 16 months. It is garnet in colour and exhibits Burgundian
earthiness that is interwoven with bright red fruit, along with a hint of
spice. This Pinot would go perfectly with a wild mushroom risotto.
Meandering southward in Kelowna along the east side of Lake Okanagan,
we eventually find our way to the relatively new Martin’s Lane Winery.
The gorgeous architecture aside, Martin’s Lane is already producing some
of the best Pinot Noir in the Okanagan, and their wines have received scores
of 95 and 97 points from Mr. Spurrier in Decanter magazine. Owner
Anthony von Mandl, of Mission Hill fame, named this winery after his late
father, and his father would have been proud. Focusing on just Pinot Noir
and Riesling, winemaker and New Zealander Shane Munn has created
wines of elegance that burst with varietal character. A perfect example of
this is the Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir Naramata Ranch 2015 ($99). It’s certainly
true that at this price one should expect a wine of great quality, but
the Naramata Ranch can stand up against Burgundies and California or Oregon
Pinots that come with even larger price tags. This is an expressive Pinot
that boasts abundant black cherry fruit along with an undercurrent of spice
and a hint of licorice. For us, it represents a balance between a fruit-forward
New World Pinot and the elegance and delicacy of a Burgundy. It closes
with a long and satisfying finish that makes each sip special. This wine
would be a perfect accompaniment to breast of duck.
From Kelowna we move further southward to find ourselves on the beautiful
country roads of the Naramata Bench with their breathtaking views of
rolling vineyards and Lake Okanagan. There, we find one of the top Pinot
Noir and Chardonnay producers in the Okanagan, Foxtrot Vineyards.
Founded by the Allander family in 2004, the winery was recently acquired
by a group of investors led by Doug Barzelay and Nathan Todd. However,
the tradition of quality instilled by the original owners continues.
The Foxtrot Chardonnay 2018 ($44) is Burgundian in style and character
and shows an excellent balance of firm acidity with the creaminess and
texture that comes from malolactic and barrel fermentation. It displays an
appealing bouquet of citrus fruit and subtle toasted oak and flavours of
vibrant tropical fruit. It has a backbone of minerality that keeps it fresh and
structured. This is an excellent “food wine” that can be enjoyed with grilled
halibut and would be perfect with spaghetti alle vongole.
As impressive as the Chardonnay might be, Foxtrot’s claim to fame is its
Pinot Noir. The Foxtrot Pinot Noir “The Waltz Vineyard” 2017 ($47) exemplifies
the quality of wine coming from this producer. Sourced from grapes