I first tried Richard Roskell’s Viognier and Syrah at the last year’s Garagiste North in Kelowna and fell in love with his beautifully crafted BC wines. The grapes of the Marichel Vineyard were planted on six acres in the spring of 2000. Marichel Vineyard only produces about 1,500 cases per year.
The Bench areas closest to the lake, where Marichel Vineyard is located, are comprised of glacial soils laid down over millennia. The vineyard is planted in sandy and silty loams of low natural vigour. This moderates vegetative growth in the vines while encouraging the vines to bring the fruit to the peak of flavour and aroma. Marichel Vineyard grows only two grapes, both Rhône varietals.
- Syrah is made from a variety of scions and rootstocks, with Clone 7 on 3309 predominating.
- Viognier is a UC Davis clone from French stock on a Riparia rootstock.
The vines are “deficit irrigated” and fertilised individually at the minimum rate consistent with plant health at low vigour. Vineyard prunings, leaves and discarded fruit are recycled back into the soil.
Marichel’s wines are created first in the vineyard. Richard then employs the highest-quality winemaking equipment and modern winemaking techniques to bring out the best in what nature provides. Modern destemming, pressing and pumping equipment facilitate simple, clean winemaking in 100% stainless steel fermenters. The Syrah ages in varying combinations of French and American oak, usually for periods ranging from 18-24 months.
Richard had the following comments on the 2016 Harvest. The vintage wasn’t typical but it has turned out to be excellent. A hot and early spring got the vines started in good time. Then the summer weather moderated, and combined with a cooler September, we got slow sugar rise and great hang time with good acid balance. The early start to the season also gave me the option to carry a bigger crop this year. So we’re seeing great quality with high quantity. Pretty much ideal conditions. Some vineyards reported high levels of powdery mildew but we didn’t see any.
Marichel Vineyard Estate Syrah 2013. 100% Syrah and 100% Estate-grown on the Naramata Bench. Full-bodied and smoky with leather, earth, plum, and berry flavours. Refined tannins and structure.
Marichel Vineyard Estate Viognier 2015. 100% estate grown Viognier. Silky texture with stone fruit and tropical flavours. No oak contact.
Source: Background and tasting notes from the Marichel Vineyard’s website.