Tasting Canadian wine is already an adventure for me. Tasting Canadian wine from a hairdresser-turned-winemaker, well that just makes the experience all that more exciting. Anthony Buchanan left the world of hair design to study for his WSET levels 1 and 2 in the hopes of becoming a professionally certified sommelier. Through the course of these studies, he found his true passion was in the art of the winemaking science. So, Buchanan moved on to complete an oenology degree from Washington State, after which he returned home to BC, Canada to start his winemaking career. Today he is the head winemaker for Desert Hills Winery — also of BC, Canada — as well as owner and head winemaker of his eponymous label.
About the Wine: The Anthony Buchanan 2016 Pinot Blanc is made from 100% Pinot Blanc grapes sourced from the Black Sage Gravelbar in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. The Black Sage Gravelbar is an area that was flooded after the last major glacial retreat, the result of which is a mineral-rich, gravely soil. Indeed, these vines are basically planted in rocks, making the resulting wines truly unique.
The grapes were whole cluster pressed and underwent indigenous fermentation. The wine was then racked and aged sur lies for 5 months in combination puncheon and concrete upright barrels, with battonage conducted once every 2 weeks. The wine was then stabilized, filtered and bottled.
Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Anthony Buchanan 2016 Pinot Blanc and breathe in the cool, wet, slightly dank air. The wine is very nearly clear on the pour, settling into the glass as a very pale shade of champagne-like yellow. The immediate aroma is like breathing in a whole field of wildflowers, complete with plush green grass. Breathe a bit deeper and find some fruits dancing in that field as well — pineapple, quince, lychee. Swirl and find that the country field comes alive again with scents of pollen and a country “dust” -like minerality — and still the Pinot Blanc is so floral. Note: there is a solid line of acidity that rides through the nose, enticing you to take that first sip.
The palate of Anthony Buchanan 2016 Pinot Blanc is smooth, yet somewhat textural. Dominant flavors are of pollen, mango skins, orange blossoms, and a bit of Asian-like spices reminiscent of ginger or perhaps lemongrass. That solid level of acidity is as consistent in the taste as it was on the nose, leaving a lovely lingering finish on the tongue.
Food Pairing: I paired the Anthony Buchanan 2016 Pinot Blanc with a seared halibut, steamed rice, and a Thai-spiced coconut milk broth. The strong floral notes of the wine did well to balance the spices in this dish, creating a sense of relief from the peppers. Meanwhile, the rice along with the coconut milk broth enhanced the body of the wine, elevating those textures to a bit of a rounder mouthfeel.
I loved this pairing, but I’d be eager to try this wine again with something slightly less spicy — something that would let the wine’s initial tasting be the star of the meal instead of the co-star.
Or, honestly, you could just drink this wine on its own.
More Info: I received the Anthony Buchanan 2016 Pinot Blanc as a sample for review. (Cheers Kristof!). Price: $20. To learn more about Anthony Buchanan, his wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Anthony Buchanan website.
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