hone: /hōn/ v.
- refine or perfect (something) over a period of time
- to make more acute, intense, or effective
SpierHead has come a long way since opening their doors in 2010. In those early days, the wine was crafted with in-house efforts and some outside consulting. With the winemaking now in the very capable hands of Bill Pierson (formerly of Fort Berens and CedarCreek), there’s a cohesive refinement to all of their wines. They put Okanagan terroir, natural acidity, expressive minerality and purity of fruit, front and centre. Being in Kelowna (in the northern part of the Okanagan Valley), a focus on cooler climate varieties like Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir comes naturally and those four varieties are what make up the bulk of their production.
“But, wait,” you say. “It looks like they have a couple Bordeaux-inspired blends made from South Okanagan Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon!”
Well, yes, yes they do and let me tell you they’re pretty damn delicious. But here’s the thing: SpierHead wants to hone in on where they shine - the Pinots and whatnot, and not feel the need to be all things to all people. In saying that, the days of those two blends are numbered, so nab ‘em while you can (they’re killer deals too).
In fact, they’re even about to double-down on Pinot Noir, the variety most agree they do best. With more plantings coming online, you can expect a couple more single-vineyard bottlings, plus a few clone-specific labels; wine geeks rejoice!!
But, let’s hold off on talking about those for the moment. Spring is in full swing and summer’s coming soon. I’ve just tasted their newest white releases and insist you do too.
SpierHead 2014 Riesling from the Gentleman Farmer Vineyard is loaded with lime, nougat, marzipan and honey, while being awash with Granny Smith apple from start to finish. Juicy and bright with massive intensity, this is a Riesling worth pondering sip after sip.
SpierHead 2014 Pinot Gris from their Golden Retreat Vineyard has so much character and dimension, you’ll wonder why some occasionally (and wrongly) bash the grape for being boring. Lemonade and jasmine spill out of the glass, with layers of lime leaf, lemongrass, and the smallest hint of sea spray. Three food pairing suggestions: seafood, seafood, seafood!
I’m very impressed by how far SpierHead have come in a short amount of time; it’s quite commendable.
To top off all of this goodness, if you order a minimum of six bottles from ‘em by May 4th, shipping is free!! Details are right here.
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. Track him down at KurtisKolt.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @KurtisKolt.