Meyer Family Vineyards is a small Okanagan Falls winery that focuses on single-vineyard wines, leaning heavily towards Burgundy varietals that feature Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Proprietors JAK Meyer and Janice Stevens own two vineyards in Naramata and Okanagan Falls, and purchase additional grapes from growers throughout the Okanagan to produce about 3,000 cases of wine per year. Having collected Meyer’s “Tribute” Chardonnay for the past couple of years I recently took advantage of their Christmas gift case special to save 10% off a mixed six-pack of new releases: three Chardonnays and three Pinot Noirs soon arrived in an attractive presentation box. (Meyer should be applauded for their willingness to ship in six-bottle multiples that allow customers more flexibility in purchasing.)
Amongst the Chardonnays was the newest Tribute wine, rounding out a three year vertical in my collection: 2008-2010. The Tribute series wines recognize a western Canadian for outstanding achievement in their field, and each year the Meyers donate $5,000 to a charity selected by the honouree or their heirs. For 2010 the wine honours Sonja Gaudet, national and international champion in Wheelchair Curling. The Tribute Chardonnay comes from the family-owned Old Main Road Vineyard in Naramata, and continues the tradition of excellence established for this wine in previous years. The 2009 version was described by Liam Carrier of Icon Wines as possessing a “near-perfect trifecta of balance” and the 2010 has been similarly well-received given its “creamy texture…and long, long finish.” Highly respected wine writer John Schreiner recently reviewed several Meyer wines and got right to the point regarding the Tribute: “the wine shows a laser-like purity.”
The other two Chardonnays I received composed two years of wines from Meyer’s McLean Creek Road Vineyard in Okanagan Falls. The smaller vineyard (compared to Old Main Road) yields only about one third the volume, so the McLean Creek Road Chardonnays are harder to find, with only about 200 cases produced each year. Both 2009 and 2010 wines have been reviewed by Icon Wines as worthy of 90+ points for their crisp, mineral driven Chablis-like style. I look forward to trying the McLean Creek and Old Main Road versions alongside each other in the future after a little bit of cellar time.
The McLean Creek Road Vineyard is also planted with some Pinot Noir in addition to the aforementioned Chardonnay, five different clones in fact! The winery has released the 2009 and 2010 Pinot Noirs from this vineyard simultaneously as the vintage variation has dictated. For 2009, the very ripe fruit was entirely whole cluster fermented, yielding a robust and concentrated wine in which “every bottle packs a punch”; good thing too because only about 50 cases were produced! Additional aging is recommended for this wine to ensure it really shines as it should. The 2010 vintage was more challenging, but more than three times as much wine was produced nonetheless. Both John Schreiner and Liam Carrier agree that further aging would also benefit the 2010, but it is already “lean, mean, and very flavourful.”
The final bottle in my six-pack was a Pinot Noir from the Reimer Vineyard in south-east Kelowna, from which enough grapes were sourced to produce almost 200 cases of a subtle and nuanced wine. Reviews thus far acknowledge that it shows off bright cherry and berry characteristics that I’m very much looking forward to enjoying in due time.
Although a number of collectable wines have come from Meyer Vineyards in a short period of time it is also worth noting that some very enjoyable entry-level bottles of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and even Gewürztraminer and Rosé have also been produced. The newly released 2010 Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir sells for $25, and is said to be a “silky charmer” that will serve as an “excellent palate refresher” when served with food. The screw-top suggests it is a wine to be opened sooner rather than later, and the bottle I recently received as a gift will hopefully be enjoyed over the upcoming holiday season.