Making Sense Of Tall Tale’s Deliciously Different ’16 Syrah Nouveau

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Lifted from the back label of Tall Tale Wines‘ 2016 Syrah Nouveau:

“Planted in 2014, our old vines vineyard grows on soils imported from Jura, France. To achieve soft minerality on the palate, we irrigate exclusively with artesian mineral water. From the fermentation in neutral stainless steel, to the organic glass bottles wrapped in biodynamic labels, this wine will have you telling our Tall Tales for generations.”

You have to love a winemaker with a sense of humour! Sadly, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as one would hope. Siblings Kyle and Kristin Lyons are the tall tale tellers, founding this garagiste winery in 2016 with the joint aim of creating unique wines to satisfy their own curiosity (while piquing the curiosity of others, it would seem). She manages the books, he manages the wines. Both combine to craft the story of single grapes from single sites in the Okanagan. Here, southern Osoyoos syrah is viewfinder-ed via the lens of southern Burgundy, a.k.a. Beaujolais.

2017 is their first release. Called “Syrah Nouveau”, it’s a carbonically macerated syrah — think Beaujolais Nouveau, but registering higher on the serious meter. As natural as can be (nothing added, nothing taken away), this Osoyoos-sourced wine shows soft black plum, thorny blackberries, sweet cherry jam and a film of resin on the juicy palate, one with soft tannins to house. Easy drinking, this lingers with violets and fine white peppery spice. Unique for BC, and welcomed. I recently chatted up Kyle about the message in a bottle…

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Tall Tale Wines 2016 Syrah Nouveau | Okanagan Valley | $28

Straight up, why did you make this wine? I wanted to do something different and challenging. I had never previously done any carbonic maceration or low intervention winemaking. It’s stressful giving up control to the fruit and not intervening. It was a huge learning curve and I look forward to playing with this more in the upcoming vintage.

Where are the grapes from? The Syrah grapes are from a small vineyard north of Osoyoos. For the style of wine I wanted to achieve I knew Syrah from Oliver/Osoyoos area was a must. It’s very hot and dry there. This is important in producing ripe fruit that compliments a fruit-forward style. The gentle southwest facing slopes and the sandy soils produce beautiful Syrah fruit.

Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? A juicy lamb burger with some skewered veggies all done on the BBQ would do the trick.

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? That’s a tough question. I opened a bottle of Synchromesh Storm Riesling a couple nights ago and it was incredible.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? I’ve been drinking a lot of ciders this summer. Nomad Cider from Summerland is definitely the favourite.

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