Earlier this month we were driving back from Washington State on Highway 97 and passed by the Maverick Estate Winery between Osoyoos and Oliver. The winery was closed for tastings, so I thought I would follow up with some background research.
When Schalk de Witt first travelled through the green farmland and sparkling lakes of BC’s South Okanagan in 1990, he was amazed by the similarities to his hometown in the Paarl Valley of South Africa. Sixteen years later, Schalk finally made his dream a reality when he and wife Lynn purchased 48 acres in Osoyoos in 2005. In 2009, Elzaan and Bertus Albertyn immigrated to British Columbia’s wine country. Together with her father and Lynn, they purchased the acreage that is now home to the Maverick Estate Winery and all generations of the Maverick Estate Winery family.
The first vintage of Maverick Estate wine in 2011 drew high praise from critics and customers. Maverick Estate wines are gaining a strong following for their consistency, elegance, complexity and balance. The winery now produces about 5,000 cases annually with plans to increase to 8,000 cases.
The Wine Maker and Vinification Process
Bertus Albertyn holds a B.Sc. degree in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He worked at a large wine cooperative before joining the family-owned and organic certified Avondale Winery in Paarl, Western Cape as the winemaker. He was the Burrowing Owl Winery’s winemaker until mid-2013 when he left to concentrate on Maverick.
The white wines are all whole bunch pressed to keep the phenolics to a minimum. The juice is settled and racked prior to fermentation with a portion of the juice barrel fermented to add palate weight to the final product. The wines are fermented naturally, ageing on the lees with monthly stirring for three months to extract flavour and then without stirring for an additional three months before being bottled.
The reds are partially de-stemmed and crushed. Fermentation takes place naturally in open top, wooden fermenters with regular punch down. Fermentation is conducted at 32°C and post fermentation maceration is done for up to three weeks. The wines are pressed and racked back into the wooden fermentation tank for malolactic fermentation and ageing. The wine is regularly racked until it is bottled unfiltered. Depending on the wine and the vintage, the wines are aged for 14 to 18 months before bottling.
Maverick Estate Ella 2014 – The two varietals used in this traditional sparkling wine bring their own special magic to the final blend: Chardonnay (20%) for fruit and elegance and Pinot Noir (80%) for the length of flavour and a touch of colour. The combination creates a traditional sparkling wine that is delicate with a light yeasty aroma, good freshness on the nose and rich and creamy complexity on the palate. Fine mousseux with great length on this beautiful, enticing salmon pink coloured traditional sparkling wine. Tastings are only available on Sparkling Fridays!
Maverick Estate Pinot Noir 2014 – offers a fine rich fruit with whiffs of raspberry and plum. Complex palate with velvet tannins and flavours of peppery spice, blackberry, and cherry ending in a harmonious long mineral aftertaste. Refined yet powerful.
Maverick Estate Rubeus 2014– is a co-fermented blend of syrah, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot. The blend percentages very much dependent upon the season. This season the Syrah is the top note, followed by Merlot.
For the complete selection of Maverick’s BC wines, please go to the winery website.
Source: Background, photos and tasting notes from the winery website.