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Wine and Grape Conference Rhone varietals ‘on probation’

Workshops focus on the quality potential of winemade here from grapes originating in the famous region of southeast France. By Susan McIver


hone varietals—their suitability for British Columbia and how to improve them—were

considered at two tasting workshops conducted at July’s Enology and Viticulture Conference and Trade Show in Penticton. “We hope to achieve a better

understanding of these Rhone varieties in B.C.,” said Jeff DelNin, winemaker at Church and StateWines in Oliver. “How do theymeasure up and how

can we improve them? They are a new and emerging category and, at present, are on probation.” DelNinmoderated the two

workshops, which attracted close to 80 participants, including winemakers, winery owners and others with a keen interest in the B.C. wine industry. Most of the 12 wines tasted (six

whites and six reds) came fromB.C. and a few fromFrance. Each wine was presented by its

maker who provided information on growing conditions and details of the winemaking process. Patrick Vuchot spoke about Côtes

Rôtie Stéphane,MONTEZ, Fortis 2011 and Cornas Stéphane Robert, Domaine du Tunnel, 2011. Vuchot, a special guest fromFrance,

is head of research and development at Inter-Rhone, an applied research institute funded by Rhone Valley winemakers.He is also director of the Institut Rhodanien, an umbrella organization comprised of themost important research institutes of the valley. Contributing factors to the style of

the Domaine du Tunnel 2011 are the granite-based soil and the wines being made traditionally, often spending two years in oak. Fortis 2011 is a blend of Syrah (92


Jeff Del Nin, right, of Church and State wines moderated the Rhone varietals tasting workshops at the recent enology and viticulture conference. Chris Tolley, winemaker at Moon Cursor Vineyards watches as he tastes a sample.

percent) and Viognier (8 percent). The name Syrah is used in France;

Shiraz often in other countries,most notably Australia. “The inclusion of Viognier enhances

the aromatics andmakes the wine smoother with a silkymouth feel,” Del Nil said. Senka Tennant of Terravista

Vineyard presented Figaro 2011, a

blend of Roussanne and Viognier and Figaro 2012, a blend of Viognier, Roussane andMarsanne. “I gear winemaking to the vintage. I

hope the different growing years are reflected in the wine,” she said. Le Vieux Pin’s winemaker, Severine

Pinte-Kosaka, spoke about Ava 2011, a blend of Viognier,Marsanne and Roussanne and Syrah 2010. “The key to growing these late

ripening varieties successfully is very low yields and careful canopy management,” she said about the Ava 2011. Regarding the Syrah 2010, Pinte-

Kosaka noted that the 2010 growing season was challenging, with cool weather and record rainfall during spring and late summer. The warmfall weather that arrived

inmid-September and continued through October allowed for harvest to take place under excellent conditions. Church and State’s 2012 Trebella is a

blend of Roussanne (56 percent), Marsanne (39 percent) and Viognier (5 percent). DelNin noted that the fruit was

Patrick Vuchot British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall 2013

hand-picked and sorted, whole-bunch pressed, and fermented slowly at cool temperatures to ensuremaximum


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