Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine:Church & State Wines 2005 Pinot Noir, Hollenback Family Vineyard (Okanagan Valley)

Church & State Wines

2005 Pinot Noir, Hollenback Family Vineyard
(Okanagan Valley)

Vancouver Island’s Church & States Wines, formerly known as Victoria Estate Winery, has been thoroughly transformed since it was acquired in 2004 by an aggressive businessman named Kim Pullen. He retained Californian Bill Dyer as the winemaker. With only a small, immature vineyard near the winery, Pullen began dealing with some of the best grape sources in the Okanagan.

One of these is Fritz Hollenback’s vineyard, a beautiful, semi-isolated property on the east side of Skaha Lake, midway between Penticton and Okanagan Falls. It is one of several properties on a narrow bench backing against cliffs that are renowned among North America’s rock climbers. Coincidentally, the cliffs also create a fine microclimate for vineyards and for varieties such as Pinot Noir.

Bill Dyer has something of an infatuation with Pinot Noir. When Burrowing Owl first brought him to the Okanagan in 1997, he talked the winery’s owners into planting some Pinot Noir, even though the Burrowing Owl Vineyard on Black Sage Road is arguably too hot for the variety. Yet Burrowing Owl succeeded with Pinot Noir.

The Hollenback Vineyard, being a little cooler, is perhaps better suited to Pinot Noir. This wine, which will be released in February 2007, is garnet in colour, with appealing aromas of strawberries and raspberries that continue through to the flavours. It is a full-bodied Pinot Noir, just beginning to develop the variety’s seductive suppleness in texture. The structure and the fruit intensity portend the wine’s ability to get better and better with a few years of cellaring. 87 points.

Reviewed January 31, 2007 by John Schreiner.

The Wine

Winery: Church & State Wines
Vineyard: Hollenback Family Vineyard
Vintage: 2005
Wine: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Okanagan Valley
Grape: Pinot Noir
Price: 750ml $20.23

Review Date: 1/31/2007

The Reviewer

John Schreiner

John Schreiner has been covering the wines of British Columbia for the past 30 years and has written 10 books on the wines of Canada and BC. He has judged at major competitions and is currently a panel member for the Lieutenant Governor’s Awards of Excellence in Wine. Both as a judge and as a wine critic, he approaches each wine not to find fault, but to find excellence. That he now finds the latter more often than the former testifies to the dramatic improvement shown by BC winemaking in the past decade.