We walked into the tasting room at Le Vieux Pin and were immediately greeted warmly by our host, Alex, who also happens to run their wine clubs; two different levels of wine club, one of which we will be joining shortly. If you would like to read about the clubs, go here.
We've long been a fan of their wine, especially their higher-end products; we currently own a bottle of their 2007 Merlot Reserve, aging gracefully in our cellar undoubtedly, and we've previously enjoyed their Equinox Syrah from previous vintages as well. Those both sell in the $75 range so they aren't exactly "everyday" reds, but they are sure worth the money.
On to their current portfolio!
2012 Sauvignon Blanc ($35.00)
Tropical fruit and grass on the nose. Excellent compexity and balance. If you are a fan of this varietal, this is about as good as it gets in BC. 87.
2013 Vaïla Rosé ($25.00)
100% Pinot Noir and if you like your rosé bone dry, this is for you. Rhubarb and grapefruit dominate the nose and palate. 84.
2012 Ava ($35.00)
61% Viognier, 21% Roussanne and 18% Marsanne. Floral and apricot aromas with a light minerality. Subtle and delightful with a long, beautiful finish. Would be the perfect pairing for some brie cheese and a nice patio. 88.
2012 Syrah "Cuvée Violette" ($29.00)
Putting your nose into this glass is like shoving roses and violets right up your nostrils. Just watch the thorns! Soft, supple and quite unlike most Syrahs. Raspberry and blackberry flavors wash across the taste buds. Drinking well now, but a few years of careful cellaring would likely pay off handsomely. 88.
2011 Syrah ($45.00)
From a very cool vintage (by Okanagan standards), the 2011 Syrah has notes of berries, white pepper, and kalamata olives. Cherry and blackberry on the palate. Medium bodied and very ripe; this one will really improve with age. I'm excited to see what this becomes in 4-5 years. 85.
2010 Syrah ($50.00)
This is what it's all about; a winery that knows how to treat it's guests. It's great to allow them to taste all your current releases, but go back into the library and give them a taste of something older; in this case, only one year older, but oh my, what a difference a year makes.
2010 brought record rain and exceptionally cool temperatures, but that didn't negatively affect this beauty. Pepper, herbs, tobacco, spice, leather.....I could go on and on. It's a treasure to drink now, and a few more years in the bottle will only enhance. This is a keeper. 91.
2012 Equinoxe Chardonnay ($60.00)
Citrus and apples on the nose. Ten months in French oak has added a touch of buttery notes to the finish without going overboard. Light and fruity. Although it lacks the big butter that I gravitate to in a Chardonnay, the artistry here is undeniable. Another great wine that will only get better as it is allowed to sit and mature. 88.
After a terrific tasting, we bought a bottle of the Ava and the '10 Syrah, and as we were getting ready to leave, Alex called us back for a special treat; he popped open a bottle of this baby that I don't think has even been released yet:
2011 Equinoxe Syrah ($75 I believe, maybe $80)
Unmistakable notes of violet and pepper on the nose. Very complex and well balanced, this is what a Syrah should taste like, and it's still SO young! The fruit just explodes in your mouth. I cannot imagine how good this will be in 5-7 years, but I'm going to make sure I find out. 93.
We were obviously very blown away by that last tasting that we left the shop without the wine we had already paid for! Quelle stupide!
Even worse, we didn't notice until we were home the next day and pulled out all our purchases. I sent them an Email, and Alex responded immediately with a solution; they have an office in Vancouver, and he could arrange to have my wine waiting for me. It just so happens I have a friend who lives about 3 blocks away, so I arranged for her to pick it up for me, and about 3 days later I had my wine. Excellent customer service, excellent wine, excellent winery. One of our favorites.
Thanks again to Alex for taking excellent care of us on our first visit to the winery. It won't be our last.