Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Different Howling Bluff

1940.  2012 Howling Bluff Pinot Gris (Okanagan Valley VQA)

Granted, Pinot Gris isn't generally the first thing I think of when I hear "Howling Bluff" and "Pinot" in the same sentence. I think it's safe to say that Pinot Noir is far more likely to win out on such a word association.

Howling Bluff proprietor (and potential part-time stand-up comic), Luke Smith, is quick to announce that, despite his initial hopes and dreams, his lands on the Naramata Bench aren't all that well-suited for big Bordeaux grape varieties. He inevitably follows that declaration up with a straight-faced statement that he's convinced he can grow world class Pinot Noir - and he's making a valid argument with the attention that his Pinot Noir regularly garners.

That's for another time though.

That being said, Pinot Gris isn't even Luke's favourite white that he produces. Get him started and he can beguile you with the amazement he annually encounters with his Semillon and Sauv Blanc. The two grapes aren't the most common white varieties found in the Okanagan but Luke is clearly passionate about them and what he feels they capture on his vineyards.

But, that also is for another time.

Luke doesn't make much wine in the first place but he makes next to no Pinot Gris. There were only 400 cases made in the 2012 vintage and I don't think I've seen him release any since. There is no mention of Pinot Gris currently on the Howling Bluff website (at least not that I could find) except that the 2012 vintage won a Bronze medal at the All Canadian Wine Awards in 2013.

Seeing as how Luke is such an aficionado of Sem/Sauv, you shouldn't be surprised that this Pinot Gris is lush with acidity and isn't an ode to ripe tree fruit that can often be de rigueur for Okanagan Gris. That works for me. Too bad this won't the easiest of bottles to find.

Another story for another time, I suppose.

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