At the end of February, My Wine Canada writer Michelle Bouffard offered a quick run-down of the Naramata Bench winery Tightrope. She’s especially fond of Tightrope’s Rieslings – certainly among the best produced in the Okanagan Valley that I’ve tasted so far.
MWC Wine Club members are in luck – this month’s feature winery is none other than Tightrope. And since Michelle highlighted just how great their Riesling is, I thought I’d write about a few of the other Tightrope wines I tasted - wines that will be in your wine club package this month!
In addition to their fab Riesling, I had a chance to taste another white from Tightrope – specifically, their 2014 Pinot Gris. Sourced from a few select vineyards in and around the Naramata Bench, the bright tropical and red apple notes on the nose certainly grabbed my attention. It’s a viscous, medium-bodied white that reflects the fact proprietors Lyndsay and Graham O’Rourke went with the Pinot Gris moniker (rather than Pinot Grigio, which is typically made in a leaner, lighter style). Those tropical notes do a bang-up job on the palate; they’re fermented in stainless steel and retain a hint of residual sugar, which accentuates the ripe fruit flavours.
Tightrope’s 2014 Pinot Noir is sourced from their namesake vineyard as well as the adjacent Hermitage vineyard. After a quick five-day cold soak, a wild ferment was started, with the juice staying in contact with skins for about three weeks. The result? A charming Pinot that’s New World in style and Old World in elegance. Aromatically it brings cherry, spice, earth, cola and leather notes; on the light-bodied palate the cherry and raspberry notes are front and centre, with mocha and licorice flavours as well as modest vanilla and spice notes from 10 months in mostly second-fill or older French oak.
Who in their right mind is making a blend of Merlot, Barbera and Cabernet Franc? Tightrope, that’s who, as evidenced in their 2014 Vertigo red blend. And you know what? It’s darn tasty. The blackberry and plum aromas hit the spot with the clove and spice notes on the nose. It’s a juicy, medium-plus bodied red, with loads of ripe dark fruit working very well with light tannin and spice on the finish. If you like richer reds without too much tannin, the Vertigo is just the wine for you.
You've got 6 days left to sign up for the wine of the month club (deadline is March 15) -- you'll receive a combination of these three wines and Tightrope's sumptuous Riesling!
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson