50th Parallel Estate for Unparalleled Pinot Noir

Curtis Krouzel and Sheri-Lee Turner-Krouzel have created a world-class wine destination only 15 minutes North of the Kelowna airport by crafting international award winning wines and hosting five-star events.  50th Parallel Estate was built in stages from scratch. In 2009, the couple hand-planted the first 10-acres of vines. Curtis then engineered a planting machine, tuned to the needs of the steep rocky property, and now planting is complete with 50 acres now under vine. They are now sourcing additional new properties to expand their vineyards. In 2011, the first wines were released from 50th Parallel; a modest 700 cases. In 2016, the winery produced close to 14,000 cases of BC wine. The first portion of the main winery building opened for the harvest in 2014.

Winemaking Team

Grant Stanley and assistant winemaker Matthew Fortuna, 50th Parallel.

Grant Stanley and Matt Fortuna share the common passion for Pinot and have been producing award winning wines together at 50th Parallel since 2013.  Prior to this tenure, they worked together for seven years producing world class wines at another great Pinot house in the Okanagan valley.

Their talents have now been focussed on producing premium fruit from the 50th Parallel Estate vineyards and optimising their new state-of-the-art gravity flow winery to produce the world’s finest Pinot Noir.

The Pinots

50th Parallel Estate Pinot Noir 2013 Bright violet- red hue. Aromas of violets, strawberry, blackberry and a hint of chocolate. On the palate, it has flavours of strawberry, cherry, truffles and spice. Smooth tannins and a silky finish.  2,145 cases and 195 magnums produced. A blend of six dijon clones. Selectively hand harvested and sorted into small individual fermentors. Cold soaked and fermented spontaneously with natural yeast for 21-28 days. Aged in premium French oak barrels for 12 months before blending. Cellarworthy for up to 10 years. Bottled unfined, unfiltered in February 2015, with an engineered breathable liner to promote micro-oxygen transfer into the wine which builds tannic complexity during ageing.

50th Parallel Estate Unparalleled Pinot Noir 2014 150 barrels of estate Pinot Noir aged in premium French Oak were tasted. 14 barriques representing 3 vineyard blocks and 4 Dijon clones. Block 3 Clone 115 – Block 3 Clone 667 – Block 5 Clone 144 – Block 6 Clone 828 came together to create this exceptional Pinot Noir. Distinctive character, with rich palate coating textures and lots of layers and depth.   Brooding dark purple edges with an intense dark red rose coloured centre. Savoury herbs and warm earth, hint of rose petal, toasted walnut and anise. On the palate ripe black staccato cherry, black currant, baked blueberries, and a breath of roasted red pepper. The initial power gives way to layers of structured tannin that promise years of drinkability but still with the silky presence to drink now. The finish presents the impression of freshly toasted cashews, black pepper, and slatey minerality. The truly quintessential Okanagan Pinot Noir. A DOUBLE GOLD for 2016 Best of the Best Platinum Awards Wine Press Northwest.  Decanter World Wine Awards 2016 SILVER (see my earlier post for details).

For the complete selection of 50th Parallel Estate BC wines, please go to the winery website.

The New Releases

Curtis provided the following comments.  2016 was an excellent winemaking year, both in the vineyard and in the winery.  Although a hot start to the season had us slightly concerned that we may have had a second drought year in the making, late June and early July thankfully delivered some unseasonably cool conditions.  This moderated the ripening cycle at the estate and slowed sugar generation in the fruit while allowing a longer physiological ripening period to let the grapes build an optimal balance of both acid and sugar.

While we tried to pinpoint a clear spring release victor at bottling this past month, the whole team agreed that the new spring white wines and rosé are all immediately quaffable and each will deliver some of the best varietal expressions we have seen in our young history at 50th Parallel.  New wines will start being released in March.
Stay tuned for a very anticipated release of the 2015 Pinot Noir which is scheduled for mid to late summer.  The hot 2015 season resulted in small berries and light cluster weights which gave a higher than normal skin to juice ratio.  Our artisan hand punch work on the Pinot paid off giving a bold and extracted Pinot showing off the site terroir and our extreme bright site.  One sure to please Pinotphiles, and also perhaps convert the masses that normally shy away from lighter body wines.

Future Plans

In 2018, they are scheduled to open the next phase of the estate which includes a new events space, fine dining restaurant, extensive wine cave system and a glass ‘Transparent’ tasting room.