DWWA 2013 International Trophies: Pinot Noir Under £15
Mission Hill Family Estate, Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada 2011 (13.5%)
Bright raspberry and sweet, fresh cherry nose with elegant violet. A silky palate shows ripe, juicy red fruits, dried herbs and spice.
Not available in the UK
Tasted against There were no other Regional Trophies in this category
A proud moment for Canada, as this is the country’s first International Trophy at the DWWA. Mission Hill Family Estate is the producer leading the way – and with a Pinot Noir, which is something of a surprise. Canadian Pinot Noir has never even won a Regional Trophy, even though other red varieties have been successful, but now it’s making the world sit up and take notice.
If Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, dreamed of a cathedral to celebrate the fermented grape, he could happily take up residence at Mission Hill. Perched high above Lake Okanagan on Mount Boucherie, the property has a magnificent view.
When Anthony von Mandl purchased the rundown facility in 1981 he dreamed of making it a beacon for the wines of British Columbia. To do this he unashamedly modelled it on what Robert Mondavi had created in the Napa Valley. You access the winery under a large concrete arch which frames the tower and the winery buildings. The feeling evoked is not dissimilar to entering a Greek temple, with its solitude, its sense of calm, the elegant proportions of the buildings, and the open spaces.
To improve the quality of the wines, in 1992 von Mandl hired a New Zealander, John Simes, who was then chief winemaker at Montana. Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir, named for von Mandl’s late father, was fermented in small French oak and aged for 11 months. Violets and black cherries rise from the glass on a cloud of spices – like the winery, the epitome of elegance. Only 450 cases were produced.