83-year-old matriarch’s dream of Village Vineyard is a gift to us all
The butter yellow of the main house at Village Vineyard in North Vancouver pairs perfectly with the tasting notes of their 2011 Chardonnay. Its creamy palate is a classic rendering of a Chardonnay but with enough acidity to keep it from having that cloying characteristic that turns people off to what can be the most over manipulated grape varietal out there. Winemaker, Andy Thomas, has a way with his grapes.
Village Vineyard, with its territorial view from the hillside it crowns, opened back in July but I had yet to try their wines so I took some time a couple Sundays ago to do just that. A special surprise was the fact that 83-year-old owner and matriarch, Patti Kuni, happened to be lingering at a cozy table in the living area of what is also a well-appointed bed and breakfast. Along with her trusted associates, Dave and Sheila Owen, I was kept company and shared tasting notes as we went through the lineup of their current offerings.
Gramma’s Grapes Village White and Gramma’s Grapes Village Red both sport a fanciful rendering of Patti in a red blazer on a vintage tractor with a glass of wine in her hand held up to the light as if examining its contents with joyful appreciation. Those tasting will, no doubt, have the same reaction. Village White, a low alcohol Muscat and Chardonnay blend, has a lovely floral nose perfect for hot summer days.
Their two Pinot Noir options (2009 and the 2011 Village Red) are as similar as fraternal twins; you can tell they’re related but the differences are distinct. The 2009 has a delicate strawberry and white peppery aroma to go with its nearly dark blush appearance (a terrific Thanksgiving turkey wine…hint, hint) while the 2011 Pommard screams its Burgundian lineage with a darker color, more intense flavors and longer finish enabling it to stand up to the suggested prime rib and tomato-based pasta dishes. Both terrific renderings.
Eastern Washington is internationally recognized for its ability to grown premium Merlot grapes. I detected a lot of herbal qualities and some floral notes on the nose of their 2011. A versatile food wine.
For me the winners were their 2011 Syrah, 2011 Cabernet Franc and, hands down, their 2011 Malbec which happens to be the favorite red of Patti, Dave and Sheila. Maybe it was the rainy day and the very fall feeling outside but these beefier reds swept me off my feet.
From the stewed flavors of the Syrah that made me want to cozy up to a fireplace to the chewy, higher tannins of the Cab Franc that would pair wonderfully with a steak or grilled Portobello mushroom drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette to the bold yet floral nose of the Malbec accompanied by a palate of powerful tannins and high alcohol (14.1%) softened with the floral notes, the last three wines carried me off to my happy place and I thank you, Mr. Thomas.
Along with wines by the glass and bottle, Village Vineyard also has a year-round gift shop stocked with items procured by Sheila from places such as Durant Vineyards (oils and gourmet salts), lavender (from the Lavender Festival in Sequim) and specialty soaps from Townsend Bay Soap Company. The holidays seem the perfect time to visit Village Vineyard, pick up some wines for gatherings and stocking stuffers for family and friends.
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