Stoneboat Vineyards releases for 2011
Photo: Lanny Martiniuk with a young vine
Since this family winery opened in 2007, Stoneboat Vineyards has released consistently good wines, vintage after vintage, winning three Lieutenant Governor’s Awards of Excellence.
How do you get to be an overnight success in the wine business? Well, it takes time and experience. Lanny Martiniuk, the scion of the family, began growing grapes on a vineyard south of Oliver about 1984.
Today, he manages three vineyards for Stoneboat and, in his vast expanse of greenhouses, he propagates thousands of vines each year for other growers and wineries.
If anybody understands how to grow good grapes, it is surely Lanny.
Wanting to be fully integrated in the wine business, he launched the winery with his wife Julie and their three sons. One of those sons, Chris, is becoming a commercial pilot. His brothers, who are twins, are both involved in the winery, Jay as an emerging winemaker and Tim as the marketing manager. Because Jay is still working on his enology studies, Stoneboat has tapped various consulting winemakers as well.
Some of the wines in the portfolio reflect Lanny’s history as a grape propagator. His vineyard is one of the few in British Columbia that still grows Müller-Thurgau, a German variety that was brought to the Okanagan about 40 years when the wineries wanted to make Germanic wines. Most vineyards now have pulled it out because it is hard to grow and can yield bland wines. Stoneboat retains Müller-Thurgau because the variety is a critical part of Chorus, the winery’s delicious white blend.
Stoneboat also has one of the largest blocks (seven acres) of Pinotage in the Okanagan. On its website, the winery asserts that the variety has great potential for the Okanagan. At least three other wineries also make Pinotage: Lake Breeze. Hillside and The View Winery.
This variety was developed in South Africa, a cross of Cinsault and Pinot Noir. It was first brought to the Okanagan about 20 years ago by the original owner of Lake Breeze. Lanny propagated those vines and developed his own vines from that source as well.
Here are notes on the current releases.
Stoneboat Chorus 2010 ($17.90 for a production of 1,532 cases). This excellent white is a six-grape blend: Pinot Blanc, Müller-Thurgau, Schönburger, Kerner, Pinot Gris and Viognier. It begins with herbal, floral and citrus aromas, and has crisp refreshing flavours of lime and green apple. Light and lively, it dances on the palate, finishing with clean fruity flavours. 91.
Stoneboat Faux Pas Rosé ($18.90 for a production of 135 cases). This is a delicious rosé of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. It begins with an appealing aroma of strawberries and delivers flavours of strawberries and rhubarb, with a slight hint of spice on the dry finish. This is a crisp and refreshing wine. 90.
Stoneboat Pinot Noir 2009 ($24.90 for a production of 1,054 cases). This is a charming wine (a winner of a Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence) with a light color that hides a fairly common surprise with Pinot Noir: a palate far richer than the colour suggests. The wine begins with aromas of strawberries and raspberries. The flavours include strawberries, truffles and a touch of chocolate. 90.
Stoneboat Pinotage 2009 ($24.90 for a production of 1,013 cases). This wine is dark in colour and begins with aromas of vanilla and mocha. On the palate, there are flavours of plum, blueberry, lingonberry and mocha, with a lingering spicy finish. 90.
Stoneboat Pinot Blanc Very Late Harvest 2008 ($24.90 for a 375 ml bottle, with a production of 160 cases). This sensational dessert wine is an Icewine in all but name and price. It was harvested and crushed on December 18, 2008, at -10°C, which is ideal for Icewine. The wine begins with lovely aromas of honey and botrytis. It is sensuous on the palate, with flavours of baked apples, pears, honey and even a touch of tobacco. The wine has the charm and the length of good Sauternes, with an exquisite balance that allows the wine, sweet as it is, to have a tangy, fresh finish. 92.