There is something I love but can’t put my finger on about Okanagan Pinot Noir. Because, when you really think about it, the Okanagan can be subdivided into several fairly different and diverse micro-climates: The shortchanged-on-daylight slopes of Summerland, sunny Naramata on the other side of the valley, and dry-as-British-humour Osoyoos down South, but to name a few.
So how is it that all Okanagan Pinot Noirs appeal to me in the same general way?
After all, if terroir has anything to do with the lovely Okanagan wines I’m drinking, they must all somehow each exude their own unique properties. Yet, puzzlingly, I seem to consistently taste more complexity in Pinot Noir wines from the Okanagan than I do of most other red varietals grown in this area – namely, the Cabernets and Merlots that seem to be chiselled into the woody badasses and warm fruit bombs, respectively, that I keep coming across.
Vive la différence, I say!
Maybe I simply haven’t tried enough Pinots, or perhaps it’s just that I don’t know enough about the varietal or local viticulture practices to justify my yen for yumminess. Of course, it could just be sheer kismet that Pinot Noir grows quite well in my beautiful province; frankly, I don’t know.
What I do know, however, is that I can definitely chalk up another victory to Okanagan Pinot Noir, thanks to this bottle of Black Cloud 2006 Pinot Noir I’m enjoying tonight!
(The grapes in this bottle were grown in Okanagan Falls, another interesting part of the Okanagan Valley. Did you know there are no actual waterfalls in this eponymous region?)
Here’s a tasty experiment for you: Have you ever smelled or eaten Morbier cheese? It’s a semi-soft, ashy AOC (controlled origin) cheese from France that smells a bit like, well, ash, as well as salt and umami. Morbier is easily recognized by its middle stripe, like someone decided to draw across its length with pencil. Anyway, go visit your local cheesemonger, smell a hunk of Morbier and remember that scent. Now pour yourself a glass of Black Cloud Pinot Noir, sniff it, and tell me that does not at all smell similar to Morbier. Ah, I knew you were a liar.
Tasty Experiment #2: Get yourself some of the aforementioned Morbier, some fatty, moist prosciutto and dried Morello cherries. Now wrap a small wedge of Morbier and a dried cherry with a slice of prosciutto. Pair with Black Cloud Pinot, duck breast, a date or your significant other and a sexy DVD. You won’t be disappointed.
Mostly mahogany in colour with flecks of deep crimson. The mature colour makes me think that this should peak either now or quite soon. As I ended up waxing poetically above, the nose begins in a rather earthy, savoury, ashy fashion – think Morbier and Reishi mushrooms (ganoderma lucidum) – followed by aromas of ripe cherries and strawberries. A slightly spicy, tamari sauce character permeates the cherry / berry palate with silky tannins, medium body and kind of bloody (but in a good way!) finish. Try the above appetizer as a food pairing, or venture into more exotic territory by serving this with Chinese five-spice beef shank (ng heung ngau yuk). It’s a cold cut normally served at the beginning of a Chinese banquet, in the same platter as the jellyfish and roast suckling pig. $25
Note: The 2006 vintage is Black Cloud Winery’s first bottling, and I certainly hope there are many more to come. Check out the links below for more reviews!