by Treve Ring | I’ve always appreciated how proper Le Vieux Pin felt. Gravitas, patience and deliberation are not easy to come by in a new, unproven wine region like BC, though the crew behind LVP have always worked to set down roots that feel like they will dig deep for a very long time.
Named for the majestic aged pine that stands in the winery’s Black Sage Bench vineyard, Le Vieux Pin reflects the winery’s commitment to wines that pay homage to the dedication and traditions of France, while honouring what nature has given them in the south Okanagan.
Who would know les secrets of syrah better than a French native? Winemaker Severine Pinte worked 14 international harvests, most of them in France, before joining LVP in 2010. A graduate of the respected ENSAM (Ecole National Superior Agronomic of Montpellier), Pinte completed her Masters in Viticulture and Oenology and her National Diploma of Oenology before setting out on a lifetime exploration of syrah and its partner in crime, viognier.
This is one of 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 2012, 100 percent syrah from North Oliver reflects the savoury, brooding face of the varietal.
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 grilled lamb now, or tuck it away and enjoy with some maturity (the wine, and you), say five years.
I asked Severine about its Message in a Bottle…
Le Vieux Pin | Syrah Cuvée Classique 2012 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $45
Straight up – why did you make this wine? Syrah is a very nuanced grape variety and a bit of a chameleon. Depending on where and how it’s grown, it can showcase an array of flavours and aromas. Le Vieux Pin’s Cuvée Violette (often co-fermented with a few percent viognier and/or roussanne) displays the floral, perfumed, elegant side of syrah, while Cuvée Classique is 100% syrah and shows the powerful, masculine, savoury and spicy side of syrah. At the very top, of course, we have cuvée Equinoxe, showing the yin and the yang, the elegance meets power, feminine qualities meet masculine qualities.
Where are the grapes from? The source can change vintage to vintage, but in 2012 the grapes were mostly from a vineyard in North Oliver (extension of Black Sage Bench) on a bank with lots of round rocks polished along the years by the former glacier and later on by the river. Lots of sun exposure as it is on the east side of the valley.
Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? I love to drink with very tender lamb chops. The meat melts in the mouth and the silkiness and elegance of the wine enhance the dish.
Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Tantalus riesling.
What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? I love syrah from the Northern Rhone Valley and its diversity (Guigal, Jamet, Allemand, Gonon) and some syrah/grenache blend from the Languedoc where I used to live and work (Mas Martin, Domaine Trois Terres, Mas de la Seranne).