Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Noble Ridge Meritage

2011 is the 10th anniversary for Noble Ridge and, although Boo and I aren't all that familiar with the winery, this is the third of their wines that I've added to The List. This is the first Meritage, however. The other two wines were a Pinot Grigio (#217) and a Pinot Noir (#253 - although, admittedly, this bottle was added in a rushed state and didn't get any sort of a write-up - my bad).

731. 2004 Noble Ridge Meritage (VQA Okanagan Valley)

If memory serves me correctly, we picked up this bottle at the brand spanking new tasting room some years back when we did a bit of top-down cruise and tour of the Okanagan Falls wineries with Lady Di and She Who Must Be Obeyed. There'd been a dozen or so of us that made it up to the Okanagan for the Spring Wine Festival, but the four of us jumped into the Lady's convertible and took a spin down the lakeside for the afternoon.

It's the only time that Boo and I have actually made it to Noble Ridge's winery and I understand that there have been some substantial changes since we were there. Hopefully though, the tasting room folk are still as friendly as they were that afternoon. We were treated to the full range of wines and were allowed to purchase some of this Meritage even though it wasn't officially being released for another two weeks. We just had to promise that we wouldn't tell anyone. That Lady Di is a silver-tongue gal, I tell ya.

I thought it interesting that the winery produced a Bordeaux blend because most of the wineries in their immediate vicinity are all producing whites primarily. Indeed, even the majority of Noble Ridge's approximately 3000 case output is Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and the earlier ripening Pinot Noir. They told us, however, that their vineyards are characterized by an East-West ridge that bisects the property and results in both Southern and Northern facing slopes. The South facing slope receives greater sun exposure and certain blocks are capable of growing the later-ripening Bordeaux varietals.

I didn't find any reference to the actual blend for the wine. I believe that, with these earlier vintages, they contained only Cab Sauv and Merlot though. The owners have since planted some Malbec in 2009 and I should think it will be incorporated soon as well - if it isn't being done so already. We found that, when compared to a number of the Meritage blends coming out of the Okanagan, this wine was more restrained. It might have been a deliberate attempt to make a more elegant, food-friendly wine or may just be an indication that the grapes - even with that South-facing slope, may not be ripening quite as much as some of the grapes further down the valley. Didn't really matter for us though because the wine paired nicely with Boo's pork cutlet as it was.

We may need to add another Noble Ridge Meritage to The List soon since, as part of the winery's 10th Anniversary celebrations sees them knocking $10 off the Meritage's regular price of $30. You've got to love it when the celebrants give you a present. I like the sound of one of their other celebratory events as well - small group tastings with the owners out in the vineyard. Great fun. Now we just have to make it there.

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