MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | On The Summertime Grigio Brightness Of La Stella’s 2016 ‘Vivace’

April 21, 2017.

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by Treve Ring | Though LaStella winemaker Severine Pinte studied and worked extensively in France and abroad before joining this lauded Okanagan family (that includes sister winery Le Vieux Pin), Vivace reflects little of Alsace. As Grigio suggests, this is a crisp, Italian-styled wine, statue-chiseled and as lively and bright as its name suggests. Vivace is back to its tighter, leaner form in 2016. Early picked, the fruit is sourced from vineyards 16 to 30 years old along the Okanagan Valley (Golden Mile Bench, Naramata Bench and Peachland). It spends five months on its lees for a welcome slip of padding under a bone-dry frame. Asian pear, green melon, yellow apple, mandarin blossom with fine, zesty spicing on a snappy, bitter lemon and frizzed sage finish — a style I wish more BC wineries would follow. I asked managing partner Rasoul Salehi about the Message of this particular Bottle…

La Stella 2016 Vivace | Okanagan Valley | $23 

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Straight up – why did you make this wine? I love a great Grigio. Who doesn’t? Crisp, clean, laser focused, slightly aromatic. Alois Lageder, Marco Felluga, Maculan…yum. Number one grape planted in Okanagan in terms of acreage and oddly enough everyone did/does it in Gris style or overt Gris style (rosé). We set out to remind folks of the Grigio side.

Where are the grapes from? Down south is too hot to get the Grigio style from the vines. We work with various mid and north Okanagan growers and dictate farming. Cool sites. Canopy management is done to encourage hiding the grapes behind leaves, not expose them. Early picking. Gentle and quick press so we don’t get much of the skin flavour (spice/pear/orchard fruit). Result is Michelangelo at work: a chiseled, laser focused, citrus/zest aroma/flavour dominant wine.

Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? Dungeness crab risotto with preserved lemon, drizzle of grassy green Tuscan/Umbrian EVOO and grate some lime zest on top. Damn. I got myself hungry and I just finished lunch!

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Aged bubbles from Blue Mountain; Syrah from Nichol especially after 3-4 years of cellaring; the last vintage release of Coolshanagh Chardonnay.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? Whites: Ribolla Gialla, Verdicchio and Trebbiano from Italy; Chablis/upper hill; Meursault/St Aubin. Bubbles: Cremant de Jura, BDB Champagne. Red: Aglianico Vulture and Taurasi, Alto Piedmont, Valtelina and the motherland; Langhe for Nebbiolo. The classic traditional ethereal style of Sangiovese: Monteraponi Chianti, Salvaioni/Cerbaiona Brunello. Natural: Paolo Bea reds, Gravner whites. Rosé: Tempier Bandol, Biondi Santi Rosato.

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