Moon Curser Vineyards is pushing the envelope on the grapes grown in the Okanagan Valley, and doing it under a bold new brand that’s turning heads. I was always a fan of the Twisted Tree brand, and was sad to hear it replaced, but upon seeing what took it’s place – Moon Curser – I was impressed not only by the unique design but the theme that is true to the region that is on the US/Canada border.
I had a chance to get to sip and see for ourselves the changes that are afoot, and the wines involved.
Afraid of the Dark 2010 (14.3% – Viognier 43%, Roussanne 42%, Marsanne 15%) expressed a gloriously tropical nose of mango and coconut. Vibrantly crisp and clean. Grown on the winery’s home vineyard in Osoyoos.
Tempranillo 2009 (14.2%), a bronze medalist at the 2011 BC Wine Awards and a silver medalist at the 2011 San Francisco International Wine Competition, from 100% Tempranillo grapes is still young and tightly wound, but very promising. Soft spices, dark plums and cherry with a hint of toasty vanilla. It’s a thrill to see Moon Curser take a shot at Tempranillo in this northern desert region that still provides a hot, dry summer. Very impressed by the 2009 vintage.
Syrah 2009 (14.5%), a gold medalist at the 2011 All Canadian Wine Championships, and a silver medalist at the 2012 International Wine and Spirits Competition and the 2011 Intervin International Wine Awards, is another Moon Curser wine that tangents off from the norm, the Syrah was aged in Hungarian oak. Spicy, peppery, toasty.
Border Vines 2009, a silver medalist 2011 Intervin International Wine Awards, used to be called Six Vines under the Twisted Tree brand (because it includes all six Bordeaux varietals), and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (29%), Malbec (23%), Carmenère (23%), Cabernet Franc (4%) and Petit Verdot (1%). Violets and vanilla under a blanket of red and black berries. Licorice and cloves on the palate. Powerful tannins.
Dead of Night 2009 (50% Tannat, 50% Syrah), a gold medalist at both the 2011 Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition and 2011 San Francisco International Wine Competition, is full of old-world licorice and bold fruit on the nose. The tannins are nicely balanced and there’s a sublime toastiness that reflects the winemaker’s finesse with oak. At $38 a bottle this isn’t an every day wine, but definitely worth the price tag for a special occasion or if you’re feeling serious.
These wines have been winning medals pretty much everywhere they go, and I’m looking forward to writing about the next vintages, which are currently available.