When Anthony Buchanan decided to embark on his winemaking career, he decided to return to his native British Columbia roots. Indeed, it is in the heart of BC that Canada’s wine scene seems to truly flourish. The sprawling Okanagan Valley, with its diverse microclimates and soil types, is home to over 60 wine grape varieties. But, undoubtedly, the cool-climate-loving Pinot Noir is the red wine king. The delicate fruit presents a crispness and acidity unknown to many New World regions, and Buchanan’s expression truly exemplifies what Canadian Pinot Noir is all about.
About the Wine: The Anthony Buchanan Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes sourced from Sonora Pines Vineyard in Oliver, British Columbia. The grapes were de-stemmed, but left whole to ferment in an open-top container. During the pre-fermentation period, the cap was punched down up to four times each day. Primary fermentation included partial native fermentation before the must was inoculated with a cultured yeast strain. Punch downs at this point were decreased to three times daily until the fermentation process was completed. The wine was then racked to Mercurey cooperage French oak barrels for 13 months.
Flavor Profile: Open the bottle and sense light, acidic freshness of yet un-nameable ripe fruits. This mysterious Pinot Noir pours just like that — a mystery — a light, dusty maroon that maintains this same shade once in the glass. Maintains the shade, yes, but becomes quite iridescent at it’s core, fading to oblivion as it reaches the perimeter.
Take a deep breath and breathe in the earthy, brambly, yet fresh fruits — like boysenberries still on the bush on a dark, dewy morning — thee scent absolutely surround you. Breathe a bit deeper. There’s a hidden thickness or fullness to this wine, and a deeply embedded floral aroma shadowing in the background. Swirl. Awaken the acid — those fruits are now plumper; the flowers are still faint, but distinguishable as pink-petaled roses; herbs, like eucalyptus and mint, pull a bit stronger; and there is a solid backbone of old cedar wood.
On the palate that backbone comes to forefront. This Pinot Noir is surprisingly woodsy and textural. But then I had to stop and ask myself — am I really surprised? This wine has played sneaky since I popped the cork. Dominant flavors are of black plums, black cherries, blackberries — all complete with stems and bush bits. There’s a bit of smoke in the background, reminiscent of a forest fire. And this all culminates toward a lingering finish — a mouthful of flavors, and an aftertaste of slightly burnt but absolutely delicious chocolate.
Food Pairing: I paired the Anthony Buchanan Pinot Noir with a seared salmon fillet on top of a coriander-pesto rice pilaf (made with cauliflower rice), served with a ginger-lemongrass buerre blanc sauce. Something about this dish in its entirety pulled out that smokey background on the palate — in a most intriguing way. Perhaps it was the cook on the fish (pan seared, complete with grill-marks) that brought forward a bit of pepper notes as well. The silky interior texture of the salmon, along with the buttery sauce, seemed to give the wine a bit more fruit-filled voluptuousness — complete with skin texture. The cauliflower, infused with that coriander-pesto, was the herbaceous element needed — in the dish and in the wine — and ultimately tied everything together.
This is a beautiful dish that has, in the past, paired with a lot of beautiful wines. But I must say the Anthony Buchanan Pinot Noir makes the top of the list, indeed.
More Info: I received the Anthony Buchanan Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Kristof!) Retail Price: $29. For more information about Anthony Buchanan, his wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Anthony Buchanan website.
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