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93 points

At le Vieux Pin winemaker Severine Pinte says her Équinoxe is about equal day, equal night. Equal heat of the day, equal cold of the night. Equal New World, equal Old World. I say it’s Next World. This is a blockbuster syrah with fruit taken from various sub-appellations in the South Okanagan Valley: the Black Sage Bench and Osoyoos West Bench, East Bench and Lake District. If anything, it’s a bit richer than the 2013 and most certainly one of the best in the valley. Equinox is a balance of power and elegance, perfectly aged in 56 percent new French oak barrels and puncheons and 44 percent used barrels. Ripe but savoury, floral, black cherry and tobacco mark the nose while the palate is a mix of blueberries and fine-grained tannins. Roasted leg of lamb is the perfect match.

Anthony Gismondi  |  Gismondi On Wine  |  Tasted: May 2017

2015 Syrah Cuvée Violette  |  90 points

Cuvée Violette is always about its florals and often that means violets. The wine is a selection of like minded fruit that is smooth and ready to drink. It’s co-fermented with 1 percent roussanne to add some texture and freshness. Winemaker Severine Pinte calls it LVP’a feminine/graceful syrah, referring to it as “a syrah for pinot noir lovers.” I like the gentle collision of floral roasted meats and cracked pepper with earthy, savoury blackberry fruit. You can drink this now with grilled meats or give three to five more years in bottle to reach its zenith. Impressive without overpowering the drinker.

Anthony Gismondi  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: May 2017

91 points

Following up on the steps of the highly praised 2013 vintage, the 2014 Équinoxe Syrah does not disappoint. It’s layered, powerful without going overboard, showing beautiful dark fruit and lots of savoury and spicy notes. My only disappointment is that I had to drink it so early: highly cellar-worthy.

Remy Charest  |  Winecase.ca  |  Tasted: April 2017

94 points

This has a ripe, gorgeous nose of ripe blueberry/black cherry fruit coddled with fine French oak spice, pepper and underlying herbs and smoked meat. It has fine fragrance indeed. It is full bodied, fairly dense, creamy and warm with fine, firm tannin, and minerality on the drying finish. The length is excellent to outstanding. Try a bottle now then cellar the rest. Best 2019 to 2026.

David Lawrason  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: April 2017

2015 Syrah Cuvée Violette

This is a lovely fresh pure syrah with lively aromas of blackberry and blueberry fruit with red grapefruit, basil and hints of black pepper. It is midweight and juicy with soft acidity and fine tannin. Very good to excellent length. Try with roast lamb.

Steve Thurlow  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: April 2017

2015 Syrah Cuvée Violette  |  91 points

This syrah impresses year after year. Although it’s not the “top” (most expensive) syrah cuvée from Le Vieux Pin, it tends to be my favourite for its beguiling floral perfume, juicy-fresh-sweet black berry flavour and herbal twang. The 2015 shows solid freshness equalled by ripeness, silky-refined tannins and solid length. A winning style to be sure.

John Szabo (MS)  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: April 2017

2015 Syrah Cuvée Violette  |  91 points

This is a lovely BC syrah made very much in a Rhone style with ripe dark fruit, dried smoked meat, pepper, capers and some minerality. It pours deep dark purple black. It’s quite full bodied, fairly firm but not austere, with excellent length. Great syrah character.

David Lawrason  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: May 2017

2015 Syrah Cuvée Violette  |  92 points

Cuvée Violette is composed of the same intensely floral-aromatic syrah and same scant one per cent roussanne folded in from three locales; Black Sage Bench, Osoyoos Lake District and Golden Mile Bench. Time in barrel (14 months) is consistent with previous incarnations but the number of new oak is down to eight per cent (from 15) in 2015. The floral component is lifted, elevated and prettier than before, more energy abounds from and then bounds off the palate. This is seamless juice with a braised pork belly note perfumed by exotica and even a slight bit of rubbery reduction. Though there is great tang and spice to taste it dissipates and leaves just fruit behind, namely umeboshi plum, followed by a finish of salt brine and a long, fine line. Drink 2018-2022.

Michael Godel  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: April 2017

2016 Vaïla Rosé  |  90 points

This is a superb bone dry, purpose grown and pressed pinot noir rosé. It has the generous crunchy red fruit pf the Okanagan Valley and its signature ripeness and richness, grafted on a medium-full bodied frame – 13.5% alcohol declared – more southern Rhone than Provence in weight. Lots of pleasure here. Drink or hold a year or even more; no rush here. Tasted April 2017.

John Szabo (MS)  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: April 2017

2016 Vaïla Rosé  |  90 points

This is 100% pinot noir rose. It has a bright, moderately deep, orange-pink colour. The nose shows pretty, quite youthful somewhat reductive aromas of sour cherry jam, herbs and struck flint. It’s mid-weight, quite intense and very dry, with intense flavours and very good length. A touch of youthful CO2 on the palate as well Some bitter cranberry-redcurrant fruit on the finish. Tart and juicy. Best latter half of 2017 through 2019. Tasted April 2017

David Lawrason  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: April 2017

2014 Syrah Cuvée Classique

Since the grill is hot, you can put on the marinated pork shoulder chops, a little lower heat and slower cooking, and proceed to Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Classique for some seriously rich, dark red berry fruits, tobacco, chocolate, a hint of violet. Unbelievably long finish, and meant for slow sipping over a long dinner.

Jim Tobler  |  Montecristo Magazine  |  Tasted: Spring 2016

2014 Syrah Cuvée Classique  |  93 points

This is a very deep, ripe, classic south Okanagan syrah with real Rhonish, or south of France character. Expect a huge ripe dark cherry, peppery, licorice and violet nose. It is rich, firm and notably mineral and spicy on the palate – drop dead gorgeous. Lovely in-filled and elegant texture. Excellent to outstanding length. This will age well ten years if you can keep your hands off.

David Lawrason  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: Feb 2016

2015 ‘Ava’

The warmth of 2015 was not easy on this blend of viognier, marsanne and roussanne but the winemaking adjustment was made and so the approach simplifies things a bit, which is nice. Viognier without too much weight or alcohol, good floral support from roussanne and a spot or two of benevolent encouraging marsanne. The airy aromatic freshness of an early morning spring glade glides with lemon drop into honeyed lemon flavour. Could put away a glass of this when days are cold and when days are hot. Drink 2016-2019.

Michael Godel  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: June 2016

2013 Equinoxe Syrah  |  93 points

One of the best Syrahs from a Canadian vineyard I’ve tasted. Dense purple in colour with a savoury-herbal nose of black fruits and a smoky note; full-bodied, dry and fruity on the palate with lively acidity. Beautifully balanced with savoury blackberry and dark chocolate flavours enhanced by a floral note. Fresh finish.

Tony Aspler  |  Decanter magazine  |  Tasted: Fall 2016

2013 Equinoxe Syrah  |  91 points

Ample and heady perfumed violets lead off this peppery and complexed syrah, the premium syrah bottling from LVP. Savoury roasted meats, cured meats, cassis, bright wild blueberry, sultry baking spices and thorns fill the structured, lush palate, one built on 18 months in French oak (mix of second fill and neutral) and framed with taut tannins. Potent and alluring tobacco and mixed peppercorns throughout, from start to lengthy finish. Unfined and unfiltered. Pretty and pretty drinkable now with a decant and rack of lamb, but its best years are ahead yet.

Treve Ring  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: Sept 2016

2013 Equinoxe Syrah  |  91 points

A truly serious, deep, full-bodied, intense syrah that could give many of its Northern Rhône equivalents a run for their money. The texture is silky and full, showing ripeness that was well-managed, and there is great length and balance, too. Between the lovely black fruit and the layers of pepper and spice, the aromas are generous as well, with a good amount of complexity. Drinkable now, worth following for several years.

Remy Charest  |  Palate Press  |  Tasted: July 2016

2013 Equinoxe Syrah  |  92 Points

This is absolutely fantastic BC Syrah. This is an example that shows where BC can be as good as anywhere in the world with Syrah. The nose is intense and complex and ticks so many boxes of what you are looking for in moderate climate Syrah. Blueberry, floral, baking spices and so much more that due to its complexity is hard to describe. The palate is silky, smooth, round and ripe with a lovely balance of crisp acidity, ripe, round tannins and a fantastic complex palate of spices, blueberry, blackberry, black olive and some minerality. The finish is long and the complexity keeps evolving. A top class wine.

Rhys Pender (Master of Wine)  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: June 2016

2013 Equinoxe Syrah  |  93 points

This Equinoxe confirms the 2013 vintage in my mind as one of the best ever in the deep south Okanagan. The 2.8 tons to the acre fruit is both powerful, yet elegant, and that’s before you add the savoury, white pepper, black cherry, tobacco aromas and perfectly refined tannins. The palate is blueberries, and very floral with savoury streaks, licorice and amazing elegance and length. Only 12 percent [second filled french oak] is the secret and 88 percent neutral barrels built to express the terroir of this Osoyoos based fruit. Fabulous potential here in what is a wonderful bottle of syrah. It will be even better in five to seven years.

Anthony Gismondi  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: Oct 2016

2014 ‘Ava’  |  Gold

Best of Show Wine (National)

Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships

2014 Vaïla Rosé

Slightly off-dry on the palate, balanced by nice, crisp acidity. The aromas and flavours are of tart red berry fruits like raspberry, red currant, and red cherry giving, a juicy freshness to the finish.

Rhys Pender (Master of Wine)  |  Montecristo Magazine

2013 Syrah Cuvée Violette

Both meaty and savoury while also having a good dollop of ripe black fruit. Intense flavours and aromas of raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry along with complex meat, smoke, and some leather make for a very interesting and delicious wine.

Rhys Pender (Master of Wine)  |  Montecristo Magazine

2013 ‘Ava’

Beautiful aromas of tropical fruit, white peach, and lemon blossom. The palate has a lovely rich texture with a full body, but still lots of balancing acidity from the South Okanagan’s cool nights. The result is something complex, elegant, and powerful, with a long, crisp, refreshing finish.

Rhys Pender (Master of Wine)  |  Montecristo Magazine

2013 ‘Ava’

Honeycomb flavours, waxy texture, resinous acidity, and a stony, dry finish

Vancouver Magazine  |  Tasted: 2015

2012 Equinoxe Syrah  |  92-94 Points

Produced in the Northern Rhone method which blends in Viognier (3.5%) during fermentation, then aged in French oak for 19 months before bottling. Still youthful at 3 years of age with further development to come over the next 4+ years, though, it may hold for 10 years or more.

Liam Carrier  |  IconWines.ca  |  Tasted: July 2015

2011 Équinoxe Syrah  |  92 Points

Steely and compact, this rather reluctantly opens to reveal subtle complexity. The mix of tart blueberry and blackberry fruit is accompanied by scents of cured meat, menthol and garrigue. It spent 18 months in a mix of barrels and puncheons, yielding a pleasant finishing impression of cedar. Decant this for at least an hour or two.

Wine Enthusiast  |  Tasted: 2015

2013 ‘Ava’  |  92 Points

In 2013 the blend is half Viognier, 41% Roussanne and 9% Marsanne. This is a thrilling wine, penetrating and seductive, with strong flavours of breakfast tea under scents and flavours of lemon blossom, rind and flesh. It invites and rewards your contemplation. Editors’ Choice.

Wine Enthusiast  |  Tasted: 2015

2012 Equinoxe Syrah  |  93 points

From a vintage that pushes the fruit out in front, this is loaded with tart, tangy blackberry, boysenberry and huckleberry flavors. At first stiff and compact, it blooms open to reveal streaks of sandalwood, sassafras, iron filings and clean earth. It’s a high-wire wine with aging potential at least until 2030. Cellar Selection.

Wine Enthusiast  |  Tasted: 2015

2012 ‘Ava’  |  93 points

A brilliant blend of 61% Viognier, 21% Roussanne and 18% Marsanne, this impresses with its proportion, tension and balance. Scents and flavours meld citrus oil and rind, fruit flavours of pineapple, grapefruit and meyer lemon, and a lovely finish with highlights of English breakfast tea. Long and elegant, this is a landmark effort. Editors’ Choice.

Wine Enthusiast  |  Tasted: 2015

2012 Syrah Cuvée Classique  |  94 points

This 100% varietal cuvée is smoky, supple and detailed. From the first sniff, what comes to mind is spice-rubbed grilled venison. In the glass it’s fresh and full, with blackberry and loganberry jam. The freshness, tension and balance are pitch-perfect. Editors’ Choice.

Wine Enthusiast  |  Tasted: 2015

2013 Petit Rouge  |  89 Points

Spicy, juicy, balanced. Made mostly of Merlot with a small dose of Syrah grapes, which comes from the Osoyoos lake district. This wine spent 13 months in neutral french oak barrels, which allow the wine to breathe without imparting the toasted or oaky characters found in the newer barrels. Expect spice and currants, black plums, and juicy pomegranate with dried herbs, leather and tobacco. The palate is supple on the entry. It has a juicy character and nice structure with fine tannins and good balance.

Daenna Van Mulligan  |  WineScores.ca  |  Tasted: Oct. 23, 2015

2012 Syrah Cuvee Violette  |  1st Place

Intense deep red color. Green pepper notes on the nose with herbs, olives and blackcurrant. Beautiful mouth, slightly herbaceous with a tapenade and red berries profile. Nice tannins, light oak and very good length. A wine full of elegance and finesse.

Wine Explorers 1st World Wine Tasting  |  Wine Explorers  |  Tasted: Aug 2015

2013 ‘Ava’  |  90 pts

This is a classy wine. It manages to be rich and ripe yet still has crisp freshness and some elegance. The aromas are heady with tropical fruit, white peaches and lemon blossoms but it is the texture that is the best part. There is good weight but crisp acidity gives it freshness while a slight phenolic grip adds a savoury side to balance the inherent fruitiness. A long, clean refreshing finish completes the package.

Rhys Pender (Master of Wine)  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: July 2015

2013 Syrah Cuvée Violette  |  91 pts

Nicely combines Syrah’s meaty and savoury side with some ripe black fruit and a bit of toasty oak. The raspberry, blueberry and blackberry notes are given complexity by the meat, smoke and some leather. The palate is intensely flavoured, medium in body with a nice juicy meatiness, like a freshly carved leg of lamb. Tannins are nicely structured, complexity is there and should age well. Very well done.

Rhys Pender (Master of Wine)  |  Wine Align  |  Tasted: Aug. 2015

2010 Équinoxe Syrah  |  17/20

Dense, concentrated, vivid. Robust structure with loads of fragrant, peppery spice. Clearly a premium wine, though it is not objectively better than their Violette. (RH)13.5% Drink 2016-2026

Jancis Robinson & Richard Hemming  |  Purple Pages

2013 Syrah Cuvée Violette  |  17/20

Bright and peppery, smooth black fruit. Crackles with energy – a triumph of Syrah. Fragrant, precise, flavoursome. (RH)14.2% Drink 2015-2025

Jancis Robinson & Richard Hemming  |  Purple Pages

Peppery, black cherry with meat and bacon aroma from maturity. Not as voluminous as the Violette bottling, but beautiful all the same. (RH)13.5% Drink 2012-2016

Jancis Robinson & Richard Hemming  |  Purple Pages

2013 ‘Ava’

The complexities in this aromatic wine come both the blend (viognier, roussanne, marsanne) and the concentration of the full, perfumed, sun-primed fruit. Very perfumed, floral notes, musk, acacia, ripe pear and overripe melon. Dried herbs, lush peach and welcome bitter pear skin phenolics on the expansive, palate. Exotic orange blossom note closes out the juicy finish. Will continue to deepen with short term cellaring – 2-4 years.

Treve Ring

2013 Syrah Cuvée Violette  |  90 pts

Violette is very high quality, entry-level syrah, that in 2013 is co-fermented with one per cent roussanne. The nose is very complex with a fabulous floral nose, quite an achievement in a year where rains and rot were problems. The silky textures invite you to drink it, as does the peppery cherry fruit but the acidity comes through to freshen the finish. As suggested, you can drink this now or over the next five years. Duck and or lamb. Good value.

Anthony Gismondi  |  Vancouver Sun Wine Critic

2013 ‘Ava’  |  90 pts

One of my favorite wines from Le Vieux Pin, an ambitious and quality-driven producer from the Okanagan. This blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne could easily pass for an excellent Rhône wine, if tasted blind. The floral side shows really well, with just enough fattiness and the right amount of acidity. Good now, but could certainly improve over several years.

Remy Charest  |  Palate Press, Radio Canada and Wine Align  |  Tasted: May 2015

90 pts

Violette is very high quality, entry level syrah, that in 2013, co-fermented with one percent of roussanne. The nose is very complex with a fabulous floral nose quite an achievement in a year where rains and rot were problem. The silky textures invite you to drink it as does the peppery cherry fruitbut the acidity comes through to freshen the finish. As suggested you can drink this now or over the next five years. Duck and or lamb. Good value.

Anthony Gismondi  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: June 2015

2014 Vaïla Rosé  |  88

This finely structured, taut rosé is made with the gently pressed juice off pinot noir grapes, aged in stainless to preserve fruity freshness and crisp, crunchy acidity. Green raspberry, thorns and rhubarb lead to a rush of raspberry, red currant, dried herbs and delicate wild strawberry. Precise and elegant, befitting lox and hen eggs or savoury wild boar charcuterie.

Treve Ring  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: June 2015

2013 Syrah Cuvée Classique  |  91 pts

[compared to Syrah Cuvée violette] More pepper and a hang of old world cure infiltrate the violets and the hyacinth. The lure of Umeboshi, grainy bean paste ice cream and leathery tang whiffs suppress the sweet, lingering florals and prepare the palate for what massive follows. Sweetness enters the fray, not as sugar, but as a thickening agent to balance the severe tannic grit. This needs five years minimum to settle and ten more to fully soften. Drink 2020-2030.

Michael Godel  |  WineAlign.com and Godello.ca  |  Tasted: May 2015

2012 Equinoxe Syrah  |  92 pts

A Syrah [with] a measure of immeasurable complexity. The aromatics of violets, hyacinth and pepper are on magnified display. Add in sage and tobacco. Has grape tannin and wood spice in waves. The coarse salt, liqueur grain and pool of tension require much patience and respect. If [2012 cuvee] Classique needs five, Équinoxe needs ten, or perhaps until the next solar eclipse on the vernal equinox. That will be in 2034. Here’s to hoping this hematic pugilist will be ready to drink by then. Drink 2022-2034.

Michael Godel  |  WineAlign.com and Godello.ca  |  Tasted: May 2015

2013 ‘Ava’  |  90 pts

The Viognier, Marsanne and Roussane amalgamation is lifted by the latter’s floral give. The texture is bolstered by Viognier’s play, from entry through presence and forward. At that point the ownership is transferred to Marsanne’s camp, where it remains dry, stoic and lingering on the palate. Has all parts moving in synchronicity, for unity, precision and together to celebrate a distinct Rhône intent. Has great herbiage, grain and elongation. The length walks a ridge, in tune as long as the Black Sage Road. Drink 2015-2019.

Michael Godel  |  WineAlign.com and Godello.ca  |  Tasted: May 2015

2013 Syrah Cuvée Violette  |  93 pts

Violet, pepper and olive nose is really appealing. Fine, expressive, meaty black fruits palate with a sweet core of fruit wrapped in bright peppery notes. Very elegant style.

Jamie Goode  |  WineAnorak.com  |  Tasted: May 17, 2015

2013 Syrah Cuvée Violette  |  91 pts

A terrific syrah here from Le Vieux Pin, fresh and delicate, fruity and, yes, violet-scented, with more than a passing resemblance to the lighter syrahs of the northern Rhône. Tannins are very fine grained and polished, though sufficient to lend support to peppered raspberry and strawberry fruit. For current enjoyment or short term hold in the cellar’ drink with a light chill to maximize the finesse.

John Szabo, MS  |  WineAlign.com and Godello.ca  |  Tasted: May 2015

2012 Syrah Cuvée Classique  |  91 pts

The mid-range in Le Vieux Pin’s lineup of syrah, the “Classique” is a firm and meaty, slightly tarry wine, with considerable extract. Peppery fruit is cloaked in a blanket of tannins for the time being, and acids emerge a touch hard and brittle on the finish, so I’d tuck this in the cellar for another 2-3 years to let it unfurl. A dense and chewy, solidly structure wine all in all.

John Szabo, MS  |  WineAlign.com  |  Tasted: May 2015

2013 ‘Ava’

This is rare from Canadian vineyards – a blend of viognier, roussanne and marsanne, grapes common to the south of France. The south Okanagan however is most like he south of France. Love the texture here; mid-weight, smooth, just slightly waxy/oily yet delicate at the same time. There is a touch of unusual musk (not must) on the nose, along with viognier peach, lemon blossom and light spice. There is a strong beam of acidity, with some heat and bitterness on the finish. Very good to excellent length.

David Lawrason  |  WineAlign/Toronto Life  |  Tasted: May 2015

2012 Syrah Cuvée Classique

This quite ripe syrah has a decent overall sense of drinkability as well as intrigue, if not the most elegant of examples. The nose shows lifted, classic meaty, peppery, gamey and brambly fruit notes that are quite classic. BC hot stone minerality and sage on the finish. Excellent length.

David Lawrason  |  WineAlign/Toronto Life  |  Tasted: May 2015

2012 Equinoxe Syrah

This is a lovely expression of southern Okanagan syrah – really well knit, fairly ripe and elegant with lifted aromas of dark black cherry, age, pepper, florals and a slightly earthy note. The nose is very fine. It’s full bodied, dense, smooth and cohesive then quite dry on the finish, with some sense of both sand and stone. there is some elegance here to be sure. With a slightly meaty finish. Excellent length. Best 2017 to 2022.

David Lawrason  |  WineAlign  |  Tasted: May 2015

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