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Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvee Violette Vertical Wine Tasting Notes 2016-2018

When I think of BC Syrah, one Okanagan Valley producer that stands out in my mind is Le Vieux Pin.

If you aren’t familiar with Le Vieux Pin, let me introduce you to this outstanding producer.

Located on the revered Black Sage Bench in Oliver, British Columbia, I like to describe this winery as Northern Rhone winemaking meets premium, Okanagan Valley fruit.

The name Le Vieux Pin originates from the lone old-growth pine tree which overlooks the estate.

Since their first vintage in 2005, this winery has become internationally known for their Syrah, as well as other Rhone varietals including Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne.

Remarkable reviews from Decanter and Wine Enthusiast have caught the attention of renowned restaurants around the world, and fine wine merchants.

Severine Pinte, the winemaker, and former Rhone specialist, came to Le Vieux Pin in 2010 with 14 harvests of international winemaking experience under her belt and eight years of vineyard management.

Severine is a graduate of the illustrious Ecole National Superior Agronomic of Montpellier where she acquired her Masters in Viticulture and Oenology, and her National Diploma of Oenology. This year was her 26th harvest!

Le Vieux Pin has spent the last decade searching for and acquiring the best vineyards in the entire south Okanagan Valley.

Each unique vineyard has its own special characteristics and remarkable qualities that brings a sense of place to the wines.

One of the wines Le Vieux Pin is recognized for is the Cuvée Violette which displays the elegant, perfumed, and floral side of Syrah using a gentle co-ferment with a small percentage of Viognier.

I first tasted this Syrah in 2016, which to this day, was a very memorable experience.

From that moment, I fell in love with the Cuvée Violette and started to collect at least one bottle per year, with the goal to obtain five in a row.

Another reason why I felt compelled to start collecting this wine is because each year the percentage of Viognier differs, as well as the fermentation vessels used (oak barrels, concrete, and stainless steel).

Waiting five years felt like eternity to me, there were many evenings when I wanted to give up and just enjoy the wine. We have all heard the saying, “you want what you can’t have”, and in this case, that was very true.

The moment I had been waiting for finally came to fruition this year as I recently purchased the 2020 vintage. Having a goal to wait five years and not open any of them was incredibly rewarding and satisfying!

Here are my tasting notes for the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Syrah’s:

2016 Syrah Cuvée Violette

97.4% Syrah, 2.6% Viognier | 14 months in French oak barrels, 15% new | 1588 cases | 14.7% ABV

2016 was a structured vintage. This Syrah is well-integrated and is the boldest and spiciest out of the three. The wine is perfumy with warm aromas of dried cranberry, bacon fat, sweet tobacco, and a blend of all-spice and oak spice. I like to think of this wine as a symphony with all instruments playing together in perfect harmony. The palate is silky smooth and brambly. Flavours of ripe plum, blackberry, milk chocolate, vanilla, and a hint of clove. Incredibly delicious. Note, this is the only Syrah out of the three that saw new oak.

2017 Syrah Cuvée Violette

99.5% Syrah, 0.5% Viognier | 15 months: 9 months in concrete tulip vats and large oak botti, 6 months in neutral French oak barriques | 1453 cases | 13.4% ABV

2017 was a similar growing year to 2016. A neither cool nor hot year, with plenty of yield and great quality to match. The wine opens with aromas of lavender and violet, continuing with notes of gray sage, Ponderosa pine, olives, and dried leaves. The palate is soft and gentle with a smooth, oily mouthfeel. Flavours of overripe cherry, black raspberry, sage, tobacco leaf, savoury plum, and a lingering pine note.

2018 Syrah Cuvée Violette

99% Syrah, 1% Viognier | 10 months in unlined concrete and oak foudres, 6 months in neutral French oak barriques | 1770 cases | 13.5% ABV

The 2018 vintage was a moderate vintage, cooler than the five-year average but in line with the long-term norms for most wine regions of British Columbia. The wines are elegant with restrained alcohol levels, crisp acidity, and fresh, clean, and intense fruit flavours. This 2018 Cuvee Violette is very pretty with low alcohol, excellent length, and great complexity. The aromatics are floral and savoury with layers of cured meat, eucalyptus, fruit cake, plum sauce, and pine. The palate is similar to the aromas including acai berry, tobacco leaf, hint of licorice and a faint green taste. Very juicy with a slight grip from the gentle tannins.


Javen - Poured By Jay

Hi, I'm Poured by Jay.

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