Le Vieux Pin’s 2015 Spring Releases

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LeVieuxPin-old-pine-tree-586x880Tasting wines at 9 am isn’t the usual way to start the day but having tasted through the spring releases from Le Vieux Pin Winery in western Canada’s Okanagan Valley, which offered so much grace and beauty, it made for a brilliant beginning to a gorgeous, sunny day.

The Le Vieux Pin winery, named after a majestic old pine tree that stands in its home vineyard on the OKanagan’s Black Sage bench, produces small lot wines produced naturally with as little intervention as possible and avoiding the use of chemicals, and pays homage to the wines of France, with Hermitage being a touchstone in many of the wines. Due to the natural approach, and a focus on detail, the wines are known to be elegant and possessing a remarkable purity of fruit.

Okay, so let’s take these new wines for a swirl.

Tasting Notes

LVP_Petit-Blanc-2014The Le Vieux Pin Petit Blanc 2013, a blend in which Sauvignon Blanc dominates, promises an off-dry wine on the nose but then surprises with dryness on the palate. The fruit is nicely balanced by acidity, and there’s plenty of integrity for the winery’s entry-level white. As a side note, the label for this wine has changed to be more in line with the higher tier wines from Le Vieux Pin (the 2012 vintage bore the sigma label).

My Vivino Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Le Vieux Pin Ava 2013, a blend of Roussanne (40%), Viognier (51%) and Marsanne (9%), has some heft to it at 12.9%. This is a wine that has always been rich and graceful, and with the 2013 vintage where the Roussanne was picked very late (after all the winery’s red were picked), it’s not as rich or concentrated so it’s more approachable. The Roussanne is in the driver’s seat more than in past vintages where Viognier dominated. A look at it in the glass reminds me of liquid gold. It’s white peaches, orange marmalade, waxy grapefruit rind and almonds with herbaceous notes and a creamy, buttery sensation. There’s an amazingly long finish with a touch of almond-esque bitterness (that’s the Roussanne hitting you on its way down) and nuances of white cranberry. This is a wine that is old school and oh so cool.

My Vivino Rating: 4 Stars

LVP_Vaila_2012Vaila Rosé, from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, again harkens back to old Europe with its richer nose leading to being bone dry on the palate. There’s rhubarb and an almost creamy richness that is subtle on the nose (thank the Pinot Noir grape for this). Lovely, long finish will put a smile on your face. The Le Vieux Pin team approaches rosé with the ideology that the grapes need to be cultivated for the wine you are going to make, so crop levels are kept lower and the grapes are picked earlier than if the Pinot Noir grapes were meant for a red wine. It’s an old school, old world approach that allows for the fruit to shine and to maintain vibrant acidity.

My Vivino Rating: 4 Stars

LVP_Petit-Rouge_2013The Le Vieux Pin Petit Rouge 2013 (Merlot with about 10-20% Syrah) offers up bright cherries and dusty blackberries with spicy notes thanks to the Syrah, and a touch of oak from neutral barrels that allow for the fruit to come through. In past vintages, this wine has had very different ratios of the grape varieties used, including other varieties not used in 2013, so this year was a departure that I must say worked well. The Syrah complements the Merlot nicely, and the balance and surprising complexity in this entry-level wine make is punch above its weight class.

My Vivino Rating: 3 1/2/ Stars

LVP_Cuvee-Violette_2013Le Vieux Pin Syrah 2013 Cuvée Violette, a perfumed, spicy beauty, with an amazingly long finish. The dark berries in this wine show so well and are wrapped in classic Syrah spice. This is beautiful, it’s gorgeous, are I say brilliant. What’s very interesting to the geekier among us is that the Syrah was co-fermented with Roussanne, not Viognier as is the norm. This is something you would’ve only seen back in the day in Hermitage, and was done for practical reasons as in 2013 when the Viognier had to be picked early due to problems with rot. So it was Roussanne to the rescue. With less than 900 cases produced, this is a must-get-now wine. You’ll be rewarded as it’s also a read-to-drink-now wine that’ll give you immediate gratification.

My Vivino Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

LVP_Cuvee-Classique_2012Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Classique 2012 is more of a brute, with grippy tannins that will mellow out in 3-5 years, but if you can wait 8 to 10 years, it could be at its peak. This is a wine that exemplifies the ageability of wines from the OKanagan, something that is still widely underestimated. It’s definitely more tannic than it’s younger cousin, the Violette. Though vanilla and soft berries come through, the fatty, gamey, peppery (darker peppers than the Cuvée Violette) notes, and the formidable structure shine. There’s oomph here for the patient palate.

My Vivino Rating: 4 Stars