Spearhead Winery, Okanagan Pinot Noir Vertical and Horizontal

Calgary, Alberta

Tasted September 23, 2022 - September 24, 2022 by KVM with 38 views

Introduction

Spearhead was founded as "Spierhead" in about 2008, with a focus on Pinot Noir.

There are 3 vineyard-specific bottlings done every vintage and a bottling called Cuvée, which is a barrel selection meant for longer-term aging.

For this tasting we went through the Cuvée 2014 to Cuvée 2020 in the first flight. Then we tasted the 2018 Coyote, Golden Retreat and Saddleblock plus Clone 828 (Saddleblock).

According to Mr. Grant Stanley, the winemaker and GM since 2017 who participated in the tasting via videoconference, the wines are allowed a cold soak for about 10 days followed by a cool fermentation on indigenous yeast and a pressing soon after completion of alcoholic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is started via inoculation in April after the wine warms. Racking and filtering is minimal. ten to 15% whole cluster. See the website for further details.

The soil in the NW facing Saddleblock Vineyard, located at the East Kelowna estate is glacial in nature and well drained. The Coyote is on the west side of the lake, below Mt. Boucherie and the soil is of volcanic origin. The Golden Retreat is glacial soil near Summerland and the vineyard faces east toward Naramata.

Flight 1 - Cuvée 2014 to 2020 (7 notes)

All of the wines were purchased at the winery shortly after release and stored in my Calgary cellar with the exception of the 2017 bottle which is courtesy of a friend in Kelowna (thanks Robin!). There was remainder wine in some of the bottles which were drunk the next day and additional notes made.

Red
2014 Spierhead Pinot Noir Cuvée Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley
Medium amber red. Maturing, slightly balsamic nose and a hint of oxidation. Cherry palate, slightly green. This bottle is past its prime. Perhaps the grapes, planted in 2008 lacked ripeness. Coravin.
Red
2015 Spierhead Pinot Noir Cuvée Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley
Medium red with white edge. Blueberry, delicate, cherry nose and palate. Coming back later, the nose had caramel. Coravin.
Red
2016 Spierhead Pinot Noir Cuvée Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley
More blueberry nose, a silky feeling and bright acid. This has clarity and purity of fruit, good length. Well balanced structure. Coravin.
Red
2017 SpearHead Pinot Noir Cuvée Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley
Medium red. Cherry, strawberry nose, very expressive. Well concentrated blue and red fruit. Medium body, long layered finish. Baking spices. Next day: has gained sweetness and weight. From a friend's cellar....thanks Robin.
Red
2018 SpearHead Pinot Noir Cuvée Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley
Medium red w/ pink edge.dark fruit nose. On the palate leather, red fruit barnyard long and interesting with acid not so prominent as some earlier vintages. The next day the red fruit, cherrry was obvious.
Red
2019 SpearHead Pinot Noir Cuvée Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley
Medium + red. Fresh red fruit, cedar nose. On the mouth this is pure red fruit and is delightful. Crisp.
Next day the palate is cherry candy and has more weight.
Red
2020 SpearHead Pinot Noir Cuvée Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley
Dark ruby red, is this pinot? Smells of skins and pips and fruit liqueur, dark red to black fruit. This has a tannic grip with plush fruit covering it. Vivacious like a young Beaujolais. Next day: grapes and pippy. Don't open for several years, as it is disjointed and seems unfinished today.

Flight 2 - Vineyard specific, 2018 (4 notes)

The soil of the NW facing Saddleblock Vineyard, located at the East Kelowna estate is glacial in nature and well drained. The Coyote is on the west side of the lake, below Mt. Boucherie and the soil is of volcanic origin. The Golden Retreat is glacial soil near Summerland and the vineyard faces SE toward Naramata.

There is a variety of clones planted in the 3 vineyards.

Red
2018 SpearHead Pinot Noir Coyote Vineyard Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley
Medium red. Floral, light red fruit. In the mouth it is light body, red currant, dances in the mouth, Marijuana. Not so complex. Next day: there is tension, red fruit, nice aromatics, a little bitter on the finish, quite interesting.
Red
2018 SpearHead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Block Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley
Darkest colour of the vineyard-specific bottlings. Also has the darkest fruit flavours, leather and smoke tones. Shortish finish. The next day I taste dark fruit and it has gained weight.
Red
2018 SpearHead Pinot Noir Clone 828 Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley
Darker than all other 2018s. Fragrant and obvious blue fruit, definitely New World pinot. Next day: there is a sweetness and great fragrance, including pine. SpearHead pinots were bottled with natural cork up to and including 2016 and with screwcap since 2107.
Red
2018 SpearHead Pinot Noir Golden Retreat Vineyard Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley
Not so fragrant. In the mouth it has pure red fruit, transparent, a streak of herb comes at the end. I like the balance. Next day: licorice, red fruit and a grip.

Closing

The tasting was with 8 veteran tasters, all with much experience with pinot noir, especially Burgundy. Tasters were mostly not very familiar with Okanagan PN nor with Spearhead. At the end of the evening, everyone was more educated and more favourably inclined toward this winery and the Okanagan as a source for high-quality PN.

The group favourite vintage of Cuvée was judged to be 2017, followed closely by 2019 with 2018 coming in third. One taster commented that the 2018 Golden Retreat was the most interesting wine of the evening.

Enjoying all of these wines before their 8 to 10th birthdays is my recommendation today. These wines are more reminiscent of Oregon Pinot with the sweet mid-palate than they are of red Burgundy.

This taster found the 2014 and 2015 to be somewhat unripe, perhaps pointing to young vines. I am pleased that the oak taste in all of these wines is minor, as the overuse of new oak continues to be a problem perpetrated by so many Okanagan wineries

© 2003-22 CellarTracker! LLC.

Report a Problem

Close