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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  |  |  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  |  |  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  | and  |  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  | and  |  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  | and  |  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  |  |  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  | and  |  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  |  |  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

2012 Retouche  |  93 pts

This is a dense, sour-edged and quite tannic young blend of cabernet and syrah, that needs a long time to loosen its tannic grip. But wow does it ever have horsepower and depth. It churns and burns across the palate with juicy currant fruit and a tart-edged minerality. And I sense some real oncoming elegance. The aromas are all about currants, graphite, a certain meatiness and chocolate. Almost mouthwatering, with firm green tannin. Excellent length. Best 2019 to 2030.

David Lawrason  |  WineAlign  |  Tasted: May 2015

2010 Syrah  |  92 pts

A private label from the Okanagan, just 49 cases made. Vivid black cherry and plum fruit with pepper, spice, cloves and olives. Fresh and pure with real intensity, very much in a northern Rhône style.

Jamie Goode  |  |  Tasted: Aug 10, 2014

2012 Syrah Cuvée Classique

Is more of a brute, with grippy tannins that will mellow out in 3-5 years, but if you can wait 8 to 10 years, it could be at its peak. This is a wine that exemplifies the ageability of wines from the OKanagan, something that is still widely underestimated. It’s definitely more tannic than it’s younger cousin, the Violette. Though vanilla and soft berries come through, the fatty, gamey, peppery (darker peppers than the Cuvée Violette) notes, and the formidable structure shine. There’s oomph here for the patient palate.

Timo  |  Wine Shout  |  Tasted: Apr 24, 2015

2013 Petit Blanc

A blend in which Sauvignon Blanc dominates, promises an off-dry wine on the nose but then surprises with dryness on the palate. The fruit is nicely balanced by acidity, and there’s plenty of integrity for the winery’s entry-level white. As a side note, the label for this wine has changed to be more in line with the higher tier wines from Le Vieux Pin (the 2012 vintage bore the sigma label).

Timo  |  Wine Shout  |  Tasted: Apr 24, 2015

2013 Syrah Cuvée Violette

A perfumed, spicy beauty, with an amazingly long finish. The dark berries in this wine show so well and are wrapped in classic Syrah spice. This is beautiful, it’s gorgeous, and I say brilliant. What’s very interesting to the geekier among us is that the Syrah was co-fermented with Roussanne, not Viognier as is the norm. This is something you would’ve only seen back in the day in Hermitage. With less than 900 cases produced, this is a must-get-now wine. You’ll be rewarded as it’s also a ready-to-drink-now wine that’ll give you immediate gratification.

Wine Shout  |  |  Tasted: April 2015

2013 Petit Rouge

Merlot with about 10-20% Syrah offers up bright cherries and dusty blackberries with spicy notes thanks to the Syrah, and a touch of oak from neutral barrels that allow for the fruit to come through. In past vintages, this wine has had very different ratios of the grape varieties used, including other varieties not used in 2013, so this year was a departure that I must say worked well. The Syrah complements the Merlot nicely, and the balance and surprising complexity in this entry-level wine make is punch above its weight class.

Wineshout  |  |  Tasted: April 2015

2014 Vaïla Rosé

from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, again harkens back to old Europe with its richer nose leading to being bone dry on the palate. There’s rhubarb and an almost creamy richness that is subtle on the nose (thank the Pinot Noir grape for this). Lovely, long finish will put a smile on your face. The Le Vieux Pin team approaches rosé with the ideology that the grapes need to be cultivated for the wine you are going to make, so crop levels are kept lower and the grapes are picked earlier than if the Pinot Noir grapes were meant for a red wine. It’s an old school, old world approach that allows for the fruit to shine and to maintain vibrant acidity.

Wine Shout  |  |  Tasted: April 2015

2013 ‘Ava’

A blend of Roussanne (40%), Viognier (51%) and Marsanne (9%), has some heft to it at 12.9%. This is a wine that has always been rich and graceful, and with the 2013 vintage where the Roussanne was picked very late. The Roussanne is in the driver’s seat more than in past vintages where Viognier dominated. A look at it in the glass reminds me of liquid gold. It’s white peaches, orange marmalade, waxy grapefruit rind and almonds with herbaceous notes and a creamy, buttery sensation. There’s an amazingly long finish with a touch of almond-esque bitterness (that’s the Roussanne hitting you on its way down) and nuances of white cranberry. This is a wine that is old school and oh so cool.

Wine Shout  |  |  Tasted: April 2015

95 points

Not yet released, this powerful wine could pass for a Barolo. The immense concentration of texture and flavours results from cropping the vines at 8/10 of a ton an acre and from aging the wine 26 months in French oak. The wine begins with aromas of black cherry, blackberry and black currants. On the palate, the texture is bold, with flavours of black currant, dark chocolate, coffee and spice.

John Schreiner  |  Tasted: April 2015

2013 Syrah Cuvée Violette  |  91 points

The wine [co-fermented with Roussanne] begins with aromas of black cherry delicately accented with white pepper. On the palate, there are earthy flavours, including plum, black cherry and pepper. The wine aged 14 months in French oak (none of it new). The structure is firm enough to support a few years of cellaring.

John Schreiner  |  Tasted: April 2015

2012 Syrah Cuvée Classique  |  92-94 Points

This dark brooding Syrah begins with aromas of plum and black pepper. It has smoky flavours of black olives and plums with an earthy note on the finish. The minerality gives this wine a muscular and age-worthy structure. 92-94.

John Schreiner  |  Tasted: April 2015

2013 Petit Rouge  |  90 points

This is primarily Merlot with a little Syrah to fill out the blend. The wine begins with demonstrative fruit aromas – black currant, blackberry and cherry. These are echoed on the palate and in the spicy finish. The soft ripe tannins make this an approachable wine for drinking now; but it will cellar well for a few years.

John Schreiner  |  Tasted: April 2015

2014 Vaïla Rosé  |  90 points

This delicious wine is made entirely with Pinot Noir pressed for rosé; it is not a saignée rosé. The wine begins with appealing strawberry aromas leading to flavours of rhubarb and pink grapefruit. The wine has a refreshing dry, tangy finish.

John Schreiner  |  Tasted: April 2015

2012 Syrah Cuvée Classique  |  90 pts

The dream season finally arrived in 2012 and the syrah fruit was a benefactor coming in to the winery pristine. Warm days pumped up the fruit and the cool desert nights brings the freshness pepper and acidity crucial to great syrah. We hate to say more Rhone than Okanagan but it’s a good description of the Cuvée Classique with its intense savoury/garrigue, spicy, bacon-scented nose and peppery floral, wild black fruit flavours. There’s plenty of tannin throughout but all in soft packets that will add a decade of life. No rush here but if you must try it served with grilled lamb. The wine is aged 19 months in wood.

Anthony Gismondi  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: March 25, 2015

2012 Syrah Cuvée Classique  |  92 pts

A denser, more masculine Syrah than its vintage cousin, the “Cuvée Violette“, with concentrated cool berry and menthol aromas supported by handsome cherry-cola, vanilla-spice and light incense notes. This is a nose you can appreciate for hours. The palate is equally impressive with a concentrated, yet, elegant medley of cherry, white pepper and savoury flavours supported by fine tannins and a great kick of acid before the long, balanced finish takes over.
Ready to go now, though, will age comfortably in your cellar for another 5-6 years. Drink now-2020.

Liam Carrier  |  |  Tasted: Jan 30, 2015

2012 Syrah Cuvée Classique  |  91 pts

This is one of the a trio of syrah that Le Vieux Pin produces in their quest to explore all personalities of the grape in the Southern Okanagan. In the Cuvée Classique, 100 percent syrah from North Oliver reflects the savoury, brooding face. Perfumed black florals, bacon fat, cracked clove and pepper aromas. The layered palate is fresh with wild blackberries, herbal cassis, black cherry and cracked black pepper. Firm tannins frame this structured wine, but the sun ripened fruit cushion complements it seamlessly. Lingering salted sage and smoky bacon begs pairing with rilled lamb now, or cellar for 3-5 years.

Treve Ring  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: Feb 10, 2015

2013 ‘Ava’  |  91 pts

The ‘13 Ava is 50 viognier, 41 roussanne and 9 marsanne. Rigourous selection has yield another delicious blend that is more Rhone-y than I’m sure the French would like. The appeal of this blend is it’s juicy, dare I say elegant, but with enough power and fruit and to please the sophisticated sipper. Lemon oil, peaches, cooked quince, it is all here in perfect balance and it is persistent. At 12.9 percent winemaker Severine Pinte is knocking it put of the park with a fungo bat – longer and leaner. You can drink this with almost any rich fish dish, chicken veal and cheese. Delicious.

Anthony Gismondi  |  Gismondi on Wine  |  Tasted: Jan 28, 2015

2012 ‘Ava’

Late-ripening Viognier, Rousanne, and Marsanne grapes aren’t the easiest in BC’s short growing season, but the sun-soaked South Okanagan is doing them justice – at least at Le Vieux Pin. The winemaking team truly allows the wine to express the vintage, adjusting the percentages of grapes and oak treatment in accordance with what Mother Nature gives them. Always curvaceous and floral, some years Ava is slightly more corseted and modest while other years she’s a voluptuous blonde bombshell. 2012 is definitely the latter with rich peach, apricot, and honeysuckle notes. Drink with pork roast.

Michaela Morris  |  Westender  |  Tasted: Nov 2014

2013 ‘Ava’  |  90 pts

This is a blend of 50% Viognier, 41% Roussanne and 9% Marsanne. The wine begins with aromas of herbs and stone fruit, leading to flavours of apple, grapefruit and stone fruit. The wine has good weight on the palate, with bright acidity and with a dry, lingering finish.

John Schreiner  |  Tasted: Nov 2014

2012 Syrah Cuvée Classique  |  92 pts

The 13.8% alcohol of this wine is the first clue to its elegance. It begins with spicy and gamey aromas along with vanilla and black cherry. On the palate, there are flavours of spicy black cherry with a hint of minerals and sage on the finish. The wine, which is aged 19 months in barrel, is full on the palate.

John Schreiner  |  Tasted: Nov 2014

2012 Syrah Cuvee Violette  |  90 points

This Syrah was co-fermented with a few percent of Viognier, a classic technique that fixes the colour and adds a lightly floral note to the aroma. This wine is softer and juicier than its big brother, with flavours of cherry and blackberry. The wine was aged 14 months in French oak (19% new).

John Schreiner  |  Tasted: Oct 2014

2011 Équinoxe Cabernet Franc  |  93-95 Points

The price indicates that the winery pulled out all the stops to make this wine. The vines were limited to a yield of 1.4 tons an acre, resulting in amazing ripeness for a cool year. The alcohol here is 14.5%. The wine spent 26 months in some of the best new French oak the winery could buy. The intense aromas of this wine explode from the glass. There are notes of cherry, leather, spice and cigar on the nose, leading to intense flavours of black berry, black cherry, leather and tobacco. The individual with whom I tasted spoke of this wine having “sauvage” qualities, referring to its exotic, almost wild character.

John Schreiner  |  Tasted: Nov 2014

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