November golf in Toronto can be very trying. Frozen fingers and runny noses. Shivers and a sense of quiet desperation to end the year in a blaze of glory like the fall leaves. I think I am up to 35 games starting in frigid April, through a sweltering July and August and now back in the frigid throes of late October and early November. Frost delays will now start to be a factor as they were in April. Due to impossibility initially and now inconvenience it was no Europe this year instead working as a golf Marshall at one of Canada’s busiest golf courses. On the refreshment cart and in the clubhouse, there is no wine? Plenty of beer and coolers. I would have expected some cans of Okanagan Mayhem wine!
A golfer may be akin to a grape. Like grapes they are delicate and sensitive to the weather. Their minds are controlled by a deficient brain that subjects them to mostly continual punishment of a poor game like a poor growing season. One can start with an early budburst of brilliant golf which can be damaged by a forest fire of smoke of poor games when yesterday you were brilliant basking in the sunshine. And if you are not careful the grey rot that besets grapes in overly wet conditions can start to fungify the golfer’s brain and create an unbalanced, volatile and acidic mindset.
Of course, being Mr. Mindful, every shot is a new shot and forget the past of a bad shot. But this cold weather and wet conditions have caused a rapid deterioration of my golf game and I think grey rot and not noble rot is starting to affect my brain. However opening up a sample of three bottles from my friends at Meyer Family Vineyards (MFV) in British Columbia ‘s Okanagan I see in a tech sheet that the 2020 vintage “was the best in recent years”. I seem to recall 2018/19 were problematic vintages. So if MFV can bounce upwards with a stellar vintage I’ll take stock of that and say with 4 more or so games left I’ll get my mojo back. If Mother Nature can favour vintners surely it can favour a fumbling golfer who today had more grey rot than noble rot in his game.
If 2020 was the best vintage in recent years my goodness how can the excellence of MFV’s be surpassed?
Let’s try it out.
On the nose this vintage seems to exhibit a bit more oak than previous vintages. The wine was sleeping in seasoned French oak barrels and puncheons for 8 months. To tone down the oak I would suggest decanting for an hour prior to serving. The aroma is unmistakeably that of Pinot Noir. There is very sweet strawberry, black cherry and freshly picked raspberry in a light smoky frame. On the palate the tannins are light but there is traction and presence in the mouth. Then there is some strange and novel twist in this vintage and that is a streak of violets and floral tones to the wine. I like this as showing a new character to the MFV Pinot Noirs wines I have tasted previously. There is also a bit of chalk which is also new. Could it be some of the grapes were from a newly acquired vineyard, Lakehill Road Vineyard in Kaleden? There is also some raspberry crumble. The finish is short.
MFV says drink through to 2025. I will not disagree with that. But I would add let it settle for another year to settle the oak somewhat. My take is that this wine is maturing in the bottle. MFV Pinot Noirs have in previous vintages been closer to French Pinots trending to delicate. This Pinot is a tad more assertive and has some top-level sweetness to it giving it a different character than previous vintages even though at residual sugars of 1 gram per litre this is a dry wine.
Now I mention sweetness and oak. Let me make this clear the seasoned French wood here should not be resulting in an oaky wine. This is a young vintage and newly bottled so it may be sleeping ready to evolve into something a bit different when it wakes up. I therefore have suggested let it sleep for another year before opening. And you may like a lightly oaked wine so feel free to open it now. It won’t bite! And I say sweetness but this is miniscule sweetness that does not detract from the high MFV pedigree simply gives it another dimension perhaps only in my mind as at less than 2 grams of residual sugar per litre you should not detect sweetness but my palate may be much different than yours. I rarely eat dessert or chocolates so it may be I am sensitive to what I perceive to be sweetness.
This is no ballerina Pinot Noir. But neither is it me trying to be overly aggressive at the golf course which I will say is a recipe for disaster.
While it will be pleasing to drink on its own I would say this Pinot Noir has the guts to compliment lamb or even a bit of a spicy Shrimp and Okra Gumbo. Also as field red peppers are just about at their end the wine would suit stuffed Red Peppers, local zucchini and mushrooms.
I will say this wine is crafted with love and perfection. By that I primarily mean acidity and tannins are perfectly balanced.
I am sorry about yakking about the wine so I will not bore you with too many technical details other than saying that the wine was sourced from 6 different vineyards in the Okanagan.
(Meyer Family Vineyards 2020 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, BC VQA, Meyer Family Vineyards, Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, $26 (until November 28 when it jumps to $27), 750 mL, 13.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 91/100).
Check out their website for shipping details https://mfvwines.com/collections/pinot-noir
1,994 cases produced.
Chris Carson is the winemaker.