Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Venturi-Schulze Vineyards 2003 Pinot Noir  (Vancouver Island)

Venturi-Schulze Vineyards

2003 Pinot Noir
(Vancouver Island)

At $45 a bottle, this wine – not yet released – is British Columbia’s most expensive Point Noir. What’s really surprising is not the price but that it is grown on cool Vancouver Island where, in the 2003 vintage, the Venturi-Schulze winery harvested grapes so ripe that the alcohol finished at 15.4% – so high that the winery actually understates it on the label.

This unexpected ripeness was achieved because Giordano Venturi and Marilyn Schulze, the winery’s owners, began tenting the Pinot Noir in 1998. Initially, they draped plastic to create a mini-greenhouse effect to protect budding vines against early May frosts, a perennial worry on Vancouver Island. They discovered that the tents not only warded off frost but accelerated the vines, so that the Pinot Noir ripened a few weeks earlier, and with three to five more degrees of Brix than untented Pinot Noir. Today, the winery tents about two-thirds of its 18 acres of vines, including most of its five clones of Pinot Noir. Numerous other island wineries also tent some of their vines.

In the 2003 vintage, the practice was, if anything, too successful. That was a hot, dry summer and the grapes ripened with big sugars and big flavours. This powerful, concentrated wine begins with an almost port-like aroma, with notes of prune and with some of that pleasantly funky Burgundian character sometimes called “barnyard”. The flavours are deep and rich – plums and spice – and the texture is muscular, with potential to age. This may not be everyone’s idea of a classic Pinot Noir but it certainly is a big, satisfying red to have with bold-flavoured cuisine. 88 points, with potential to scoot above 90 with several years of bottle aging.

Reviewed October 19, 2006 by John Schreiner.

Other reviewed wines from Venturi-Schulze Vineyards


The Wine

Winery: Venturi-Schulze Vineyards
Vintage: 2003
Wine: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Vancouver Island
Grape: Pinot Noir
Price: 750ml $45.00

Review Date: 10/19/2006

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.