I really haven't been enjoying wine for all that long, and the bottle that finally got me into wine was a Gewurztraminer from Quails' Gate, circa 2006 or thereabouts. At that time, the winemaker at Quails' Gate was Grant Stanley, who left there years ago to head up to Lake Country and help the owners start up the winery. That's where we are today, 50th Parallel Estate.
So, you all have Grant to thanks for this blog you are reading. Wow, did our lives ever change once we discovered how amazing wine was.
You are unlikely to see Grant up at the winery these days, as he spends most of his time playing tennis and enjoying semi-retirement. He has left the winery in excellent hands, however, as the staff here is universally terrific, and let me tell you about one guy in particular.
His name is Travis. I hate Travis quite a bit.
He is, if memory serves, 23 years old, and has already passed the WSET Level 3 exam. With honors. Travis didn't tell us the 'honors' part, that had to come from one of his co-workers. He plans to have his Master of Wine certificate before the age of 30.
I hate Travis quite a bit.
One of these days I'm going to have to tackle the WSET courses. I will skip Level 1, I think I'm past that, and I think I will be able to handle Level 2. As for Level 3? No way I could pass that at this point, but maybe one day. Something to aspire to.
50th Parallel focuses on cooler climate grapes that will thrive in Lake Country. Let's see how they fared!
50th Parallel Estate 2015 Gewurztraminer ($19.90)
Aromas of lychee and elderflower give way to citrus and melon, with just a touch of spice on the finish. 88.
50th Parallel Estate 2016 Gewurztraminer ($19.90)
Less floral than the above, with lychee and grapefruit notes on the nose. Slightly sweeter than the above, with lychee and citrus flavors. Spice on the finish here as well. 89.
50th Parallel Estate 2016 Pinot Gris ($19.90)
White grapefruit, meyer lemon and orchard fruit on the nose. The palate is slightly creamy, dominated by citrus, peach and pear flavors. 88.
50th Parallel Estate 2016 Riesling ($19.90)
Aromas of tropical fruit, green apple, lemon and lime. Lots of granny smith apple and minerality. Very tart and finishes long. 88.
50th Parallel Estate 2015 Chardonnay ($35.00)
S'mores in a glass, minus the chocolate. Incredibly complex nose of marshmallow, almonds, hazelnut, graham and smoke. The lush, decadent palate features hazelnut, caramel, macadamia nut and butterscotch. Delicious. 90.
50th Parallel Estate 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé ($19.90)
Done in the Provence-style, aromas of strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb. All manners of red fruit on the palate. 88.
50th Parallel Estate 2014 Pinot Noir ($29.00)
Arresting nose of red cherry, smoke and toffee. Black cherry, spice, truffle and chocolate on the palate. Lovely finish. Excellent already. 90.
50th Parallel Estate 2014 Unparalleled Pinot Noir ($50.00)
Hints of roses, red cherry, earth and toasted walnuts on the nose. Black cherry, red fruit, blueberry and black current on the palate. Tannins are strong, this is one that will improve much with careful cellaring. So much potential. 91-94.
So that's it for this tasting, we left with a few bottles of Chardonnay and a new level of respect (and jealousy) for Travis, who took excellent care of us during the tasting.
Travis, I hate you.
Up next, our tour of Lake Country continues at a brand new winery called The Chase!