New releases from Okanagan Crush Pad – one of Canada’s most interesting wineries

Jamie Goode and Treve Ring taste the new wines from Haywire/Okanagan Crush Pad

Canada is an interesting place for wine these days. There are two main regions: Niagara in Ontario (not far from Toronto) and the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, in striking distance of Vancouver. And in the Okanagan, there are a range of wineries: some seem to be trying to replicate successful wineries in other regions, but there are a few who are more experimental, and are happy to plough their own furrow. Chief among these is a winery that has changed winemaking in Canada: Okanagan Crush Pad. OCP is the parent operation and where the ambitious project began, while Haywire is their main wine label. Owners Chris Coletta and Steve Lennie are ambitious, smart, and show a great sensibility when it comes to the styles of wines they make. They capture the various parts of the Okanagan very well.

Initially, the winery was very much a crush pad, and home to numerous others groundling winemakers. It was the first of its kind, and inspirational. The Crush Pad has been slowly winding down production for other winemakers, while ramping up production for Haywire (all estate fruit) and other lines such as Free Form (all natural, fermented and aged in concrete / eggs, often experimental), and Narrative (with purchased fruit and with aim to be approachable and friendly in youth, with a price point to match). The wines, made by expat Kiwi winemaker Matt Dumayne and his team, are really lovely. The approach is quite a natural one, and there’s a lot of concrete in the cellar, as well as some terracotta. Oak is rare, but there is some stainless steel. In addition to their groundbreaking use of concrete eggs in Canada, they were instrumental in drawing international attention and experience to the Okanagan Valley, with Alberto Antonini, and Pedro Parra as consultants. These are my notes on some recent releases (JG), and they are presented side by side with those from Treve Ring (TR), who last visited the winery and vineyards in August 2020, and is tasting their wines regularly in Canada.


Narrative XC Method 2019
Pouring a peach / blush hue, the 2019 Narrative XC (for Roman numeral 90) is a charmat method fizz of Pinot Blanc from 42 year old vines in a single Okanagan Falls vineyard. As the name previews, this spent 90 days on lees in pressurized tank prior to bottling with 4 g/L RS. Bright and zippy, with cranberry, grapefruit, wild strawberry, and candied red currants on a lively, dry-ish, friendly palate. This is an idea brunching wine, ready for popping now. 89/100 (TR)

Free Form Blanc de Noir 2018, Okanagan, Canada
From their pioneering Garnet Valley Ranch, this organic young vine Pinot Noir was whole bunch pressed and native fermented in concrete, before heading to bottle in early January for secondary ferment and 20 months on lees. This was disgorged with zero dosage. Bone dry, this is showing ample lees set up against mouth-watering lemony acidity. Green apple, dusty stone, biscuit, salted parmesan fill in the gaps of this tight wine, finishing with a lingering citrus buzz. An uncompromising wine of place. 88/100 (TR)

Haywire The Bub 2018 Okanagan, Canada
12% alcohol. 64% Chardonnay, 36% Pinot Noir, traditional method, fermented in concrete tanks then aged for 30 months on lees. This is bright with lovely direct citrus fruit, and just a touch of creaminess. There’s some lemon, some mandarin and a little pithiness on the palate. Lovely acid line here with crisp, focused fruit. There’s even a touch of cherry, and a very nice bitter hint on the end. Lovely purity. [I’m a little nervous about the clear glass: keep this out of the light. 92/100 (JG)

Haywire Vintage Bub 2014, Okanagan, Canada
Vintage Bub is the result of an extended aging program for Haywire’s impressive fizz program, begun in 2013 when The Bub was given an additional five years of lees aging before release. This is equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from 2014, with an additional 5 years on lees prior to disgorge June 2019. This new release is quite complete at present, confident in its age, and well knit with broken stone, lemon pith, green apple, on a burnished bed of earthy lees, tightened at the end by a brace of citrus acidity and a kiss of anise. 91/100 (TR)

Haywire Garnet Valley Ranch Chardonnay 2020 Okanagan, Canada
12.5% alcohol. Organic Chardonnay, whole cluster pressed with no settling, wild yeast ferment and ageing in concrete and stainless steel on lees for 10 months. This is the first vintage of this wine, and it’s fabulous. Pristine fruity and floral on the nose with lime blossom, a touch of elderflower, mandarin and some fine minerals. The palate has tension and good acidity, with a very subtle nutty, creamy undercurrent smoothing out the taut citrus fruits. This is very fine and expressive, showing complexity as well as approachability. 93/100 (JG)

Haywire Secrest Mountain Chardonnay 2019 Okanagan, Canada
13% alcohol. Wild ferment in neutral puncheons and concrete tanks. This is powerful and textured with smooth, ripe pear and peach fruit, with a hint of honey and spice, and a long finish. Showcasing excellent, ripe yet restrained fruit without the need for oak flavour, this has layers of complexity. 92/100 (JG)

Haywire Secrest Mountain Chardonnay 2020 Okanagan, Canada
12.5% alcohol. Whole cluster pressed, no settling, no additives and wild ferment in amphora and concrete. Brightly focused, fresh mineral nose with some ripe citrus fruit. The palate has a mealy undercurrent to the textured, pure, honeyed pear and citrus fruit. There’s good concentration here but also delicacy and refinement. Has a fine, spicy, mineral undercurrent. Understated, pure and fine. 93/100 (JG)

Haywire The Bub 2017, Okanagan, Canada
I last tasted 2017 The Bub back in August 2020, while visiting the winery, so it was great to revisit this special fizz, named for OCP’s daughter Alison Scholefield (childhood nickname The Bub). The mix is 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay, 70% of which come from Summerland’s Watkins Family Vineyard, and rest from Secrest, in Oliver. Primary fermentation was in a mix of stainless and concrete before bottling and secondary fermentation for 30 months prior to bottling, with zero dosage. This was disgorged in early summer 2020.This is as tight and nervy as I remember it, albeit now with some adolescent padding. Earthy lees, green apple, lemon pith, parmesan stream across the tight palate, buzzing with a chalky stoniness, and finishing long with racy lemon pith and an anise kiss. A charming and adventurous fizz, and one highlighting a very promising Garnet Valley future. 91/100 (TR)

Haywire Switchback Pinot Gris 2019 Okanagan, Canada
13.5% alcohol. Organically farmed estate Pinot Gris harvested in mid-October then direct pressed to concrete and neutral oak. This is a layered, complex white with some hints of sage brush/wild herbs alongside pear, apricot and orange peel. There’s a nice volume here with a hint of cherry and melon, showing texture but also purity, and a fine spicy bite on the finish. 92/100 (JG)

Switchback Pinot Gris is a special wine of place sourced from Haywire’s certified organic home vineyard in Summerland. It was whole-bunch-pressed and native fermented in concrete, where it underwent full MLF and then remained on lees for 10-months before bottling unfiltered. Desert pear, yellow apple, elderflower floods a juicy, creamy palate, seasoned with dried sage. Acidity is gentle, the texture is ample, and the finish is long. It’s drinking well now and benefitting from time in bottle, like all winemaker Matt Dumayne’s wines. 90/100 (TR)

Free Form Vin Gris 2019 Okanagan, Canada
12.5% alcohol. Pinot Noir from Garnet Valley Ranch, whole bunch pressed, fermented and aged in concrete. This is bright and expressive with orange peel, pear, cherry and some citrus fruit. Fruity, pure, rounded and with a touch of grainy texture, this emphasizes the fruit. Really nice balance and purity. 90/100 (JG)

Retasted one year along, and the 2019 Vin Gris is still shining, though has grown into its frame now with more age. For the first time in 2019, Free Form Vin Gris comes from Garnet Valley Ranch. It is made the same as the previous two vintages: whole bunch pressed and native fermented in concrete, where it underwent full MLF and rested for six months on lees prior to bottling unfiltered, with a wee amount of SO2. Bosc pear, meadow grass, wild herbs rule the streamlined palate, with ripe gooseberry and white peach on the gently cushioned, lees-bedded palate, finishing with a wash of stones and rasp of salty parmesan. A very interesting wine that transcends grape. 90/100 (TR)

Free Form Pinot Gris 2020 Okanagan, Canada
13% alcohol. Organic. 50% juice, 50% whole cluster, fermented and aged in amphora. Pale orange/pink in colour and quite aromatic, this has delicate, bright mandarin and cherry fruit flavours with a hint of tinned pear. It’s nicely expressive with rich texture and a slight grainy structure. There’s also a touch of creaminess here, as well as a hint of liqourice. Lovely stuff with a tapering finish. 92/100 (JG)

With estate Gris from their organic Oliver and Summerland vineyards, this wine was pressed and native fermented in concrete, stainless steel, and oak foudre, where it remained on lees for six months before bottling. Tight and zippy on the palate, with lemon pith / peel harnessing a palate of pear skin, earthy lees, white asparagus, meadow grass, smoked stone amid a reductive salt wash. Haywire is methodically releasing their wines a bit later, to provide (their idea of) optimal drinkability upon release. This is certainly ready to crack now, and I think a spring green pea / asparagus / artichoke dish would sing. 88/100 (TR)

Narrative Chenin Blanc 2019 Okanagan, Canada
13% alcohol. Lively, bright and vivid, this Chenin shows flavours of lime, green apple and dried herbs. It’s a bit punchy, with keen acidity and some pithy notes. There’s a zesty mandarin edge here, and also a touch of aniseed. But overall, this is all about the bright, pure citrus fruit and lively acidity. 89/100 (JG)

The first Narrative Chenin, this comes from Naramata and a sandy/ loamy/ rocky vineyard spread with Lyre / Scott Henry training. This was native fermented and aged in two concrete eggs where it remained for MLF and 10 months on lees. The concrete and low handling brings a lovely fine textural component that works beautifully up against chenin’s electric buzz. Opening with a kiss of flintiness, this moves into white grapefruit peel, lemon pith, green apple on a nervy and bone dry palate, slicked with a fine layer of honeysuckle lees. There’s a mouthwatering, crunchy acidity that streaks this across the palate, finishing with a wash of salinity. A beauty; would love to see more Chenin like this in the Valley. 91/100 (TR)

Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé Secrest Mountain Vineyard 2020, Okanagan, Canada
From their estate Secrest Mountain vineyard and its special limestone-laced soils, this blush-hued Gamay rosé was native fermented and aged in concrete, imparting that alluring textural complexity the winery is known for. Wild strawberries, Rainier cherries run the juicy, streamlined palate, seasoned with sagebrush and a cool, stony, saline minerality, and finishing with a tea leaf and orange rind note. Pure, clean, and quite moreish, and one you’ll want to return to often this summer. #GoGamayGo. 90/100 (TR)

Haywire Pinot Noir 2020, Okanagan, Canada
The 2020 Pinot Noir comes from four Okanagan sites (Kelowna, Naramata, Summerland, and Oliver), with 30% whole clusters, and a native ferment in concrete tank and large format neutral oak. Post basket pressing, the wine rested for 10 months prior to bottling, without fining or filtration. Juicy and ripe with morello cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, dried thyme, lit with a cranberry acidity, and framed with fine, sticky tannins. The concrete gives a pleasant texture to the palate, finishing with a dusting of savoury spice. A complete, friendly and smart Pinot for cracking now. 89/100 (TR)

Haywire Pinot Noir 2019 Okanagan, Canada
13.5% alcohol. Destemmed, then fermented in concrete and oak, and then aged in large format oak and concrete. This is focused, fresh, juicy and bright with vibrant cherry and plum fruit, as well as a hint of greenness (in a nice way) and a bit of spicy tannic bite, Supple and very drinkable, with some grip and good acidity on the finish. Lovely purity and drinkability, finishing with some fruit sweetness. 91/100 (JG)

This year’s white label Pinot Noir was destemmed and native fermented in a mix of concrete tanks, 600 litre puncheons, and amphora before heading to concrete to finish MLF and a 10 month rest prior to bottling in August 2020 with no filtration. Perfumed and silky, this streams fragrant raspberry, plum and cherry along a softer, finely textured palate, finishing with a wisp of dessert scrub. Friendly and smart pinot, not dumbed down any, and primed for drinking now, amply. 89/100 (TR)

Haywire Secrest Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019 Okanagan, Canada
13.5% alcohol. Destemmed, fermented in open-top fermenters with twice-daily punchdowns, then matured in concrete. Lovely red cherry and berry fruit aromatics with some spicy hints and a slight stoniness. The palate has nice density with vibrant berry fruits, a faint hint of green, and lovely structure from both the tannins and the acidity. It’s still primary and closed in on itself, but there’s such lovely fruit here. Will be interesting to watch it evolve. 93/100 (JG)

This comes off their organically farmed Secrest Mountain Vineyard, a higher altitude site with calcium-carbonate laced alluvial and gravelled soils. The destemmed fruit was put into concrete Nico Velo tanks for a native ferment and aging until August 2020, when it was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Ripe and round and soft, with plush dark cherry, black raspberry, sultry baking spices on a plumped palate. Tannins are velveteen, housing this to a sarsaparilla and espresso finish. A richer, softer shade of Pinot Noir, ready for drinking now. 89/100 (TR)

Haywire Secrest Mountain Vineyard Gamay 2020 Okanagan, Canada
12.5% alcohol. 100% destemmed, four weeks on skins, then basket pressed to amphorae, concrete tanks and puncheons for maturation. Sweetly aromatic and quite seductive, with sleek black cherry and plum fruit as well as some hints of green. The palate is supple and smooth with sweet black fruits, a bit of spiciness, hints of pepper and an appealing grainy structure. Lovely balance: a benchmark Gamay with real drinkability. 92/100 (JG)

Haywire Gamay 2019 Okanagan, Canada
13% alcohol. Fermented in a mix of concrete tanks and open-top stainless steel fermenters, with wild yeasts, then matured in concrete. This is juicy, supple, pure and vibrant with fresh cherry and plum fruit and just enough spicy structure to provide definition. There’s a lovely textured fruit core to this wine: it shows off Gamay really well with some fine, juicy, sappy hints. Lovely freshness to the cherry fruit, with a subtle stony edge on the finish. 91/100

Narrative Cabernet Franc 2018, Okanagan, Canada
From organic vineyards in Kaleden and Osoyoos, this Franc was fermented and aged in concrete tanks for 10 months. Juicy and forward, this medium-bodied red fills the mouth with smoked stone, cedar, black cherry, all strung with a tart acidity. Tannins are soft, housing this to a snappy, lightly peppered finish. A friendly example for cracking now. 88/100 (TR)

Narrative Syrah Viognier 2018, Okanagan, Canada
This Narrative 2018 saw Syrah and Viognier cofermented in amphora, left on skins for 9 months, and then blended with additional syrah treated the same, for more complexity and blue/black fruited intensity. Mouth filling blueberry, plums, black cherry is woven with cracked peppercorns and downy violet across a fleshy palate, livened with an easy, stony acidity. There’s a slight smokiness throughout, which sticks on the finish, welcoming partnering with grilled fare now. 89/100

Previous Notes Below

Haywire The Bub 2017 Okanagan, Canada
11.5% alcohol. 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, grown in Summerland and Oliver. Bottle fermented for 2 years on lees. This is pure and focused. There’s a pithy, slightly bitter edge to the citrus and apple fruit on the palate, but this adds interest. There are faint hints of creaminess but there’s a lovely fruit focus here, a touch of umami, and nice structure to the citrus fruit core. It balances its tendency to richness and fruit with this brilliant brisk, fresh lemon and orange character. It’s massively drinkable, but also has some seriousness. 91/100 (JG)

2017’s The Bub is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay, 70% of which come from Summerland’s Watkins Family Vineyard, and rest from Secrest, in Oliver. Primary fermentation was in a mix of stainless and concrete before bottling and secondary fermentation for 30 months prior to bottling, with zero dosage. This was disgorged in early summer 2020. Bright and tight with pear skin, citrus, wild herbs, this zips along the palate with vibrant acidity, finishing with a chalky minerality. Lovely balance, freshness, and finesse, once again claiming its space as one of BC’s top bubbles. (TR)

Free Form Blanc de Noir 2017, Okanagan Valley, Canada
12% alcohol. This is from the Garnet Valley Ranch vineyard that they planted a while back. It’s a lovely place. This is Pinot Noir, whole bunch pressed to concrete, then bottled for its secondary fermentation, and then disgorged with no dosage. This is really pure and fine, with subtle toast and fine spice, some compact apple and lemon fruit, a touch of cherry and some faint mint and herb notes. This has lovely acidity, and a fine, mineral, slightly chalky edge. Such a pretty wine with real purity and focus, and a touch of saltiness on the finish. It has a real sense of place. 93/100 (JG)

This new traditional method fizz comes from Okanagan Crush Pad’s pioneering Garnet Valley Ranch estate vineyard. These young organic pinot noir grapes were whole bunch pressed and native fermented in concrete, before heading to bottle in January 2018 where it rested on lees for 20 months. It was disgorged with zero dosage. The wine is as uncompromising as its naturalist approach, with negligible fruit save for some subtle pear skin and tight, racy green apple. More prevalent is the broken stones, ample earthy yeast, aged parmesan, and subtle note of herbal grasses skipping along the taut palate. Very severe style now upon release, but one that will build flesh with a little age. 90/100 (TR)

Free Form Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Okanagan, Canada
13% alcohol. This is Sauvignon from Summerland fermented on skins in stainless steel tanks and clay amphorae for 9 months. It’s slightly cloudy, and has lovely aromas of pear and apples, with some passionfruit and rose petal. The palate is textured with a hint of creaminess as well as lovely grainy lemon, apple and pear fruit. This is all about texture and balance, and a subtle trace of volatile acidity adds a spicy lift to the palate, but it’s very much under control. A very fine, expressive Sauvignon with lots of personality. 92/100 (JG)

This savvy comes from Summerland’s Waters & Banks Vineyard, and its granite / limestone slopes. This was native fermented in stainless and amphora, where it aged on skins for 9 months (whole bunch). After pressing, it rested for an additional 2 months prior to bottling unfiltered. This is not your typical sauvignon blanc, and that’s the exact point. The time on skins gives it a textural, grippy dimension, with apricot skin, bergamot, guava, white grapefruit peel ruling the tight, taut, herbal frame. The finish snaps with citrus and desert sage, lingering after the slender orange wine is long gone. Very well handled. 89/100 (TR)

Free Form White 2017, Okanagan, Canada
Revisiting this wine now two years after first glimpse, and it’s pouring a beauty slight golden hue. Super grippy, with a saline marine note, this streams apricot skin, grapefruit pith, green apple, bergamot, dried thyme and sage along a sleek, textured palate. Primarily Secrest pinot blanc, this is splashed with chardonnay and viognier, from two other vineyards in the Okanagan, all organically farmed. After destemming and a native ferment (pinot blanc in concrete, the others in neutral French oak), these remained on skins for 8 months before being pressed off and blended in a large concrete tank. It rested there for 6 weeks before bottling in Mid August 2018. Another proof positive how winemaker Matt Dumayne’s wines are built for aging. 90/100 (TR)

Free Form Riesling 2019, Okanagan, Canada
This organic riesling comes from Garnet Valley Ranch, the exciting higher altitude vineyard planted by OCP, and under the guidance of Pedro Parra and Alberto Antonini, and under the care of viticulturist extraordinaire Duncan Billing. This year it was native fermented in stainless, holding the sleek frame tight and energetic on the palate. Citrus, green apple, subtle lemon blossom and humming river stone minerality skip along the frame, leaving this humming on the dry palate. Zing! pH 2.54, TA 11. 89/100 (TR)

Free Form Vin Gris 2018, Okanagan, Canada
Pinot Noir, organically grown in Summerland. This is whole bunch pressed into concrete eggs and fermented with wild yeasts. This is really distinctive. There’s some colour here, and aromas of fresh citrus fruit (mainly mandarin and grapefruit pith) with touches of honey and tea leaf. This is a really rounded, textural wine with a tapering finish of lemons and herbs. There’s also a faint touch of dairy weaving into the flavour. A useful (gastronomic) and distinctive wine. 90/100 (JG)

This Vin Gris is 40 year old vines pinot noir from Summerland’s Heckmann Family Vineyard, managed by Summerhill. Whole bunch pressed, this was native fermented in concrete, where it underwent full MLF and rested for six months on lees before being bottled unfiltered with a wee amount of SO2. Super textural, very long in the mouth, finishing with quince and a caramelized and salted orange note on the finish. Super juicy, bright, textural and long, this is a gem. 90/100 (TR)

Free Form Rosé 2019, Okanagan, Canada
Like the 2018, this year’s Free Form Rosé is cabernet franc off Osoyoos’ Sekhon Family Vineyard, native fermented in concrete where it remained on lees for a few months. Pouring an attractive shining paler hue, this is a beautifully salted, savoury, bone-dry rosé, finely grippy from time in concrete, and teeming with fine grained spices, wild strawberry, raspberry, and dessert herb edginess. Food and solo-sipping friendly. 90/100 (TR)

Free Form Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Okanagan, Canada
12.5% alcohol. Organically farmed Cabernet Sauvignon from sandy soils in Osoyoos in the south of the Okanagan. Destemmed, wild ferment, aged in concrete. This is very fresh with a hint of reduction and some green notes accompany supple, drinkable blackcurrant and cherry fruit. There’s a juiciness and drinkability to this wine, which needs a little more time to settle down, but which is already pretty smashable. 90/100 (JG)

From Osoyoos’ Sekhon Family Vineyard, this cab sauv was native fermented in stainless, and then basked pressed into concrete, where it remained for 11 months before bottling. Plump and soft black raspberry, wild blackberry, powdery stones ride a balsamic slicked wave of acidity to a snappy finish. Unlike most cab sauvs, this is lean and very tart, with nearly negligible tannins until the grippy finish. Take with a chill. 88/100 (TR)

Haywire Pinot Gris 2019 Okanagan, Canada
13.5% alcohol. Sourced from four vineyards and fermented and aged in a mix of concrete, stainless steel and foudres. This is an intriguing Pinot Gris. It’s quite rounded with some table grape and melon notes, but also some orange peel brightness as well as fine herbs and grapefruit. Lovely texture: there’s an ease on the mid-palate, but also some brightness. Has a delicate, tapering finish. Really pretty. 90/100 (JG)

Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2018 Okanagan Valley, Canada
13.5% alcohol. Whole cluster pressed to concrete and left on lees. This is fine and delicate with some table grape, lemon and mandarin notes, as well as some fine green herbal hints. It’s dry but rounded and really textural, with a bit of mintiness on the finish. Is that sage bush? So distinctive, nuanced and delicious, with a lovely acid line. Lots of personality here. 92/100 (JG)

Planted 2006, from the Summerland home block. Alberto pushes for this organic pinot gris to just be called Switchback, because this singular, savoury PG is very much unlike any other. It is all about place. Lovely perfumed pear, subtle toasted stone, smoked nut, earthy fine lees, reflective of the silty, gravelly soils. So much concentration here, with ample texture and a distinct desert sage and mineral salt note. From 2018 onwards, this had the white label. As always, this wine improves with time in the bottle, and will reward in your cellar. 90/100 (TR)

Haywire Secrest Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay 2018 Okanagan Valley, Canada
13.5% alcohol. This is from Oliver in the south Okanagan, and as you’d expect from this producer, it’s wild ferment in concrete tanks. This is very fine and textural with some mealy hints under the fresh citrus and pineapple fruit. But it’s not just about fruit (which is pure, linear but also with some breadth): there’s such a nice mineral line to this wine which shows brightness and a bit of warmth. It has this nice stoniness. Understated and quite delicious, with lovely purity, finishing with some fine herbal notes. 92/100 (JG)

From Secrest Mountain Vineyard in Oliver, this was whole bunched pressed, fermented with native yeasts, and then aged in concrete eggs and nico bello. This year Matt used some of the hard press that went into neutral puncheons (8% overall), giving the wine an extra level of creaminess to the palate. In total, it spent approximately 10 months on lees prior to bottling. Green apple, crisp pear finishes with a tight, mineral, savoury spice that lingers on the palate. Super young, this needs time to integrate. Cellar-worthy. (TR)

Haywire Gamay Rosé 2019 Okanagan, Canada
13.5% alcohol. Whole-bunch pressed to concrete tanks for fermentation and aged on lees for six months. Pale pink in colour, this is pure, fruity, bright and also quite delicate. Cherry and redcurrant notes with some lemony brightness, and a lovely mineral core and finely spiced finish. This is really good: a foof-friendly dry rosé with lots of personality. 91/100 (JG)

Organically farmed gamay from higher altitude Secrest Mountain Vineyard was whole bunch pressed and native fermented to dryness in a mix of concrete (80%) and stainless (20%). The wine was then pressed to concrete where it rested on for six months prior to filtering and bottling. Always a highlight, this year’s is the choicest yet, with the limestone laced soils and light touch of winemaker Matt Dumayne resulting in a lifted, tight, mineral-laden rosé, positively humming with energy, driving wild strawberries, light rhubarb, pink grapefruit on a sleek, lightly lees lined, juicy palate. Subtle and savoury, finishing with a desert scrubby herb allure. (TR)

Haywire Pinot Noir 2018 Okanagan, Canada
12.5% alcohol. This is from a range of subregions in the Oakanagan, wild-fermented in concrete, and then aged in concrete, pressed after four weeks of maceration. Just a touch of reduction on the nose. Fresh, vivid and bright with some silkiness on the palate. A bright, fruit-driven Pinot showing elegance, some green hints, and a touch of seriousness as well as drinkability. There’s a real freshness to this wine. 91/100 (JG)

From Haywire’s higher altitude Secrest Mountain Vineyard, and its gravel / sandy / limestone laced soils, this organically farmed pinot noir, planted in 2000, was native fermented in concrete, and bottled unfined. Softer and friendly up front, this is laced with a fine tautness that holds in wild raspberry, dried sage, baked cherry, and lightly grippy, concrete-clad tannins, finishing with a distinct stony note. Easy to like, this will have wide appeal. 89/100 (TR)

Haywire Gamay 2018 Okanagan, Canada
12.5% alcohol. From the Secrest Mountain Vineyard in Oliver, in the south of the Okanagan. This is a mix of destemmed and whole cluster fruit, fermented naturally in concrete and then aged in concrete. It shows lovely aromatics of red cherries and strawberries, together with some fine herbal hints – the green integrates well. On the palate this is quite light, sappy and drinkable, with pure red fruits and some fine herbal hints. Very expressive and bright with nice clarity and poise, and some stony mineral undercurrents. Lovely stuff. 90/100 (JG)

Sourced from Secrest Mountain Vineyard in Oliver, this gamay was native fermented, partially whole cluster, with 4 weeks on skins before being aged for eight months in Nico Velo. Lovely crimson cherry spicing, with tight grippy sides, black plum, beautiful haunting peppery spicing, with an intrinsic herbal Okanagan scrub. #GoGamayGo. 89/100 (TR)

Narrative Cabernet Franc 2017 Okanagan, Canada
13% alcohol. From the Black Sage and Golden Mile Benches in Oliver, in the south of the region. Fermented and aged in Nico Velo concrete tanks. Organic. This has taut blackcurrant fruit with some green hints. It has a nice smoothness to the palate with a hint of gravel and chalk, and some olive tapenade notes. A great example of Cabernet Franc from the Okanagan, showing great freshness. [Aside, as with some varieties in the Okanagan, the pH is really high here at 3.97.] 92/100 (JG)

Earthy forest bark, ripe raspberry, baked cherry, dried roses and milk chocolate coat this downy-textured red, weighted by the southern Okanagan sun. From certified organic vineyards in Kaledon and Osoyoos, this was fermented and aged in concrete Nico Velo for 8 months. The concrete provides a welcome textural grip to the sides of this medium bodied franc, housed by supple tannins, and finishing with peppery spice. Chill slightly. 88/100 (TR)

Narrative Red 2018, Okanagan, BC
Narrative Red is a blend of cabernet franc, and merlot. Green edged, with franc’s herbal pinch coming through, the cherry, raspberry and cedar is imbued with a persistent smoked wood note. Tannins are ragged and slightly powdery, finishing with a swell of warmth. An Okanagan desert red ready for drinking now. 87/100 (TR)

Narrative Cabernet Franc Merlot 2017, Okanagan, BC
Narrative Red is a blend of cabernet franc, and merlot. Green edged, with franc’s herbal pinch coming through, the cherry, raspberry and cedar is imbued with a persistent smoked wood note. Tannins are ragged and slightly powdery, finishing with a swell of warmth. An Okanagan desert red ready for drinking now. 88/100 (TR)

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