Welcome to the December edition of the Second Chapter Wine Club!
Going forward, we’re going to be posting all the details here – it’s a convenient place to check back on, we can add links and images, and best of all we’re not wasting massive amounts of paper distributing hard copies.
We’ll also use this space to provide a more in-depth update with the going on’s of the winery, but we just posted a big update on that front, so, without further delay, let’s talk about the first release of Second Chapter Wine Co!
2017 Pinot Gris
This was farmed in the Foundation Vineyard on the West Bench of Osoyoos. We fermented it cool, to preserve the bright aromatics and vibrant acidity. It shows really nice green apple and lemon notes, with a refreshing minerality. Hold onto this one till the warmer weather returns and you can enjoy it on a sunny patio.
If you’ve been following us from our Church & State days, you’ll remember Trebella, a blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier. We started the year actually planning to build a similar blend, but tasting the components separately yielded a really interesting array of flavours and styles. They would have blended together nicely, but frankly we were really drawn to the uniqueness of presenting them separately.
The Marsanne is smooth and elegant but shows this very unique honey melon and lemon note, with a surprising hit of acidity on the finish that keeps it fresh and bright. Just a light touch of mostly neutral oak for a few months clarified the flavours and softened the texture to produce this exceptional Marsanne. This is a great wine to enjoy with something like a rich fish, or herbed chicken.
This is definitely the wine that solidified the decision to produce the Rhone whites separately. As we started our blending trials and assessing the wines, this stood out immediately. It’s like a banana crème pie in a glass, with a zippy hit of lemon on the finish. Also, a delicate hand in the barrel work complimented the wine, without overwhelming these super interesting flavours.
Both this and the Marsanne will do really well to age a year or two, but of course they’re drinking very well now. Don’t chill these too cold though, as they open right up at about 14-15C.
2017 Second Chapter & Rattlesnake Viognier
We made the decision this year to separate the two blocks of Viognier, because they’re so unique. Farmed almost directly across from each other in the Rattlesnake and Second Chapter vineyards, they live in completely different soil types, get different sun exposure (morning versus afternoon) – all in all they are just completely different.
That difference shows in the wines – the Second Chapter is bright and vibrant, whereas the Rattlesnake is plush and decadent. Both express that typical peach and apricot character of Viognier, but in wildly different textures and finishes. Explore these both with a wide array of cuisine and serving temperatures, as they are two wines with a lot to offer.
Chardonnay has taken us years to refine – we’ve been farming the Gravelbourg vineyard with our friend Joseph Boutin for as long as we’ve been in the Okanagan, and the fruit has always been deadly consistent. However, finding the exact balance of barrel work, fermentation style, harvest ripeness, and myriad other factors has proven to be one of our longest running “projects”. Going back to 2008-2010, the wines were massive, plush, California style Chards. Then, in the cool 2011 vintage, we started experimenting with dialing it back a bit, and the results were intriguing. In 2012-2015, we sought to find a balance between the older vintages and the more restrained 2011. I think in the 2017 vintage we achieved the right balance – a little shorter time in barrel, but a moderate amount of new oak after a mix of barrel and tank ferments.
This 2017 vintage is a beautifully balanced example of what we’ve been trying to achieve. It’s got those complex peach and caramel notes, and a long, lingering finish, but it’s not overwhelming, nor does any characteristic overpower another. This will do brilliantly with a few years in the cellar, but serving now at around 15C will present a really well balanced, enjoyable Chardonnay.
2016 Cabernet Franc
This is a wine that’s meant to age – it’s still so young that a good 30-minute decanting is needed to really show the depth and intensity that is there. The 2016, and forthcoming 2017 vintages of Cabernet Franc we’re both farmed in the Foundation vineyard in West Osoyoos, and with a eastward exposure, received lots of steady, even heat that built this wine’s dramatic character.
Rich red fruit notes like cherry, raspberry and strawberry compliment subtle notes of cedar, tobacco and spice. We’re being conservative with our cellar recommendations of 7 years, as we think this will continue to develop far beyond 10 years or more. We’ll be updating our notes for all our wines as we go along, but don’t be in a rush to get in to this one – it will reward you for waiting!
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
This Cab is incredible – big, full, plush and decadent, this wine demands to the breath or lay down for a good long while. Deep dark fruit flavours are complimented by plush fine-grained tannins, make this an incredible bold red. The 2016 growing season was ideal for Cabernet, and it shows in this wine. Savour this one for a special occasion.
2016 Second Chapter Syrah
For those who have been following us for some time know the Second Chapter Syrah. It very quickly surpassed the Coyote Bowl Syrah in part because of its increased elevation, older planting, and better soil.
This vintage shows that fantastic balance between dark, rich fruit notes and savoury, spicy pepper that makes it stand out so much. It’s a little bit lighter than our Bordeaux reds, but it’s still worthy of an extended cellar life. Decant for 20-30 minutes if you’re drinking it now for the full effect!
2016 Rattlesnake Merlot
This is a wine that needs no introduction – the previous vintage of this wine was awarded 98 points, the highest score we’ve ever been awarded. It’s everything you look for in a Merlot – rich, plush, velvety smooth and dense, concentrated fruit notes. The sandy slope of the Rattlesnake vineyard is the perfect terroir for a wine that arguably defines South Okanagan premium Merlot.
While this wine is drinking incredibly smoothly right now, it’ll reward a very long time in the cellar. Decant 45-60 minutes if you can’t wait the 10 years recommended cellar time!
2016 Rattlesnake Malbec
The grand finale – this Malbec has a storied history and has really set the bar for the quality level we want to achieve at Second Chapter. Every vintage from 2011 onwards, the Malbec has been the flagship varietal in our cellars.
This Malbec is no exception, and further raises the bar of what we can do with this varietal. Everything about it, from the deep, dark and dense fruit notes, to the expansive texture and endless finish – this wine is the full package. Similar to the Merlot, we expect this wine to age very well for 10 years or more, so if you just can’t wait, give it a solid hour decanting to get the true expression of this wine.
Thank you to everyone who has shown their support in joining the new wine club and been patient with us as we have worked so hard to bring this new vision to reality. Getting to taste through the full portfolio at the end of this very busy season and hearing the comments and remarks from so many familiar people has been extremely rewarding.
We are really looking forward to the coming years, focusing on a limited portfolio of wines and sharing them strictly with the people we get to connect with directly. As we head into the holiday season, we want to wish you and your families a heartfelt Merry Christmas, and all the best in the coming year.
The Pullen Family