Ethiopian wine

Penticton Herald - - WINE & DINE -

At Oliver’s Wine­maker’s Cut, Michal Mosny is craft­ing wine be­cause it’s his pas­sion, not to make money. “Well, it would be nice to make money one day,” said Mosny with a laugh.

“But right now we’re small-scale wine, so I think we might be break­ing even.”

Luck­ily, Mosny has a day job at Lunessence Win­ery in Sum­mer­land to pay the bills. (More on Lunessence in the next item.) So, at Wine­maker’s Cut, Mosny does only what he wants, when he wants.

That means just two wines right now, a cherry-plum-fig-pep­per-ba­con-and-vanilla 2016 Syrah ($32) and a 2017 Sau­vi­gnon Blanc ($25) that smells and tastes like goose­berry-pineap­ple-lemon New Zealand and Chile Sauv Blanc via France.

Both of the wines have spent some time in Slo­vakian oak bar­rels, a nod to Mosny and his wife, Martina, hail­ing from Slo­vakia.

For the Sauv Blanc, only 20 per cent was aged in used, neu­tral bar­rels, so the wine gained some tex­ture, but no oak aro­mas or flavours.

For the Syrah, the com­bi­na­tion of Slo­vakian, Amer­i­can and French oak re­sults in those sub­tle toasty and vanilla notes.

Mosny was work­ing at Slo­vakia’s largest sparkling wine house, Hu­bert J.E., and his wife was a school teacher, when they saw a doc­u­men­tary on the world’s lit­tle-known wine re­gions.

The film men­tioned Nk’Mip Win­ery in Osoy­oos and the cou­ple was in­trigued, so much so they sub­mit­ted im­mi­gra­tion pa­pers and moved to the Okana­gan in 2011.

Mosny started up his own wine­mak­ing con­sult­ing firm GAGW, which stands aptly for good at­ti­tude, good wine.

One of his first clients was Lunessence Win­ery in Sum­mer­land, which be­came a full-time gig.

Wine­maker’s Cut may be a side project, but one he’s very se­ri­ous about.

Dead­man Lake Vine­yard in Oliver, where all of Wine­maker’s Cut grapes are grown, has a warm mi­cro cli­mate and min­eral-rich soil and is farmed with zero pes­ti­cides, zero her­bi­cides and zero ar­ti­fi­cial fer­til­izer.

The name Wine­maker’s Cut is a riff on moviemak­ing’s di­rec­tor’s cut, where a spe­cial edited ver­sion of the film rep­re­sents the di­rec­tor’s unique point of view.

Mosny’s cut is mak­ing wine gen­tly from sus­tain­ably farmed grapes with ex­tended skin con­tact to bal­ance fruit to tan­nin and only strate­gic use of bar­rels.

Mosny hopes to ex­pand his port­fo­lio next year with the re­lease of a Gruner Velt­liner and Rose.

What’s Oranien­steiner?

Back in 1985, the Geisen­heim Re­search In­sti­tute in Ger­many crossed Ries­ling and Sil­vaner to birth Oranien­steiner.

Vines of this unique va­ri­etal found their way into the Sum­mer­land vine­yards of Lunessence Win­ery where the grapes are now used in two tan­ta­liz­ing, aro­matic blends.

Pinot Blanc-Oranien­steiner ($21) is a 60-40 blend that has shown up back-to-back on the an­nual list of the top 20 wines at Whistler’s Cor­nu­copia food and drink fes­ti­val.

The 2017 vin­tage de­liv­ers pear aro­mas and flavours com­monly as­so­ci­ated with Pinot Blanc, but then opens up with ex­otic nec­tarine, grape­fruit and spice thanks to the Oranien­steiner.

The 2017 Quar­tet ($20) is pri­mar­ily Gewurz­traminer and Ries­ling with just a splash of Pinot Blanc and Oranien­steiner.

The blend works like a per­fectly in-tune quar­tet de­liv­er­ing a pro­file of en­chant­ing trop­i­cal fruit, citrus, ap­ple and spice.

There may be only two va­ri­etals listed in the of­fi­cial name of the 2017 Sau­vi­gnon Blanc-Mus­cat ($22), but Viog­nier, Chardon­nay and Semil­lon also make an ap­pear­ance.

It’s a blend that rep­re­sents ex­actly how the va­ri­eties are grown in a Nara­mata vine­yard Lunessence buys grapes from that re­sults in a creamy, off-dry ex­plo­sion of pineap­ple, peach, ap­ple and spice.

Mean­time, Syrah and Mer­lot are the only two va­ri­etals in the 2017 Duet ($20), a bright, but earthy ex­pres­sion of blue­berry, plum and pep­per.

Lunessence gets its name from the Latin luna for moon.

As such, the grape are grown and the wines are made with a holis­tic, bio­dy­namic ap­proach in sync with lu­nar cy­cles.

Road 13 ac­quired

The Okana­gan em­pire of Mark An­thony Brands is ex­pand­ing.

The com­pany has pur­chased Road 13 Win­ery in Oliver for an undis­closed amount to add to its al­ready im­pres­sive line up of Mis­sion Hill Fam­ily Es­tate in West Kelowna, Kelowna’s CedarCreek Es­tate Win­ery, Oliver’s Check­Mate Ar­ti­sanal Win­ery and Kelowna’s Martin’s Lane Win­ery.

Road 13, which was founded by Mick and Pam Luck­hurst, is rid­ing high right now as 2018 win­ery of the year at the Na­tional Wine Awards of Canada.

Mick and Pam’s son, Joe, will re­main at Road 13 as gen­eral man­ager as will wine­maker Jeff del Nin and all other em­ploy­ees.

Road 13 makes a wide va­ri­ety of wines, but is best known for its award-win­ning Rhone-style wines, in­clud­ing Syrah, Viog­nier, GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourve­dre blend), Rous­sanne and Marsanne. Who knew wine is made in Ethiopia? My wife and I dis­cov­ered this fun fact while fly­ing from Toronto to the coun­try’s cap­i­tal of Ad­dis Ababa on Ethiopian Air­lines.

Our fi­nal des­ti­na­tion was not this coun­try in the horn of Africa, but an­other flight on­ward to the Sey­chelles is­lands in the In­dian Ocean for some sail­ing.

How­ever, we made the most of our time on Ethiopian Air­lines (13 hours from Toronto to Ad­dis Ababa) by loung­ing, eat­ing, drink­ing and sleep­ing in the lie-flat seats of busi­ness class.

There was real French Lal­lier Cham­pagne, of course, as well as some other French and South African red and white wine choices.

But, what caught our eye, and our palate, was the Chardon­nay and Mer­lot from Ethiopia’s Rift Val­ley Win­ery.

The Rift is a lush high-alti­tude val­ley where the east­ern African cooler cli­mate and sandy soil is per­fect for grow­ing grapes.

The pre­dom­i­nant va­ri­eties grown are the clas­sic French Chardon­nay and Mer­lot be­cause the wine­mak­ers are from the French con­glom­er­ate Cas­tel.

The Chard, an un­oaked ver­sion with hints of honey, peach and apri­cot, went well with the Ethiopian chicken curry stew and in­jera bread. The full-bod­ied, plummy Mer­lot was served with the cheese course.

Steve MacNaull is The Okana­gan Week­end’s busi­ness and wine re­porter and colum­nist. Reach him at [email protected]

STEVE MacNAULL/The Okana­gan Week­end

Wine­maker Michal Mosny and his wife, Martina, own and op­er­ate Wine­maker’s Cut in Oliver.

STEVE MacNAULL/The Okana­gan Week­end

Flight at­ten­dant He­len shows off the made-in-Ethiopia Rift Val­ley Chardon­nay that’s served on Ethiopian Air­lines flights.

Pinot Blanc-Oranien­steiner

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