My wife and I first visited the Okangan Valley together in 2011 for our first anniversary. I’m pretty sure that’s when I fell in love with the area. That was also my first time vising a winery as we took in one of the local wine tours. It was fantastic experience, but I remember it being somewhat of a whirlwind time.
Since then we’ve been out to area on several occasions and have had the chance to visit a number of wineries in and around the area. Each time increasing our exposure to the wines and wineries of British Columbia.
Gray Monk Estate Vineyards was one of the wineries that really stood out to us, both because of the wine but also the winery itself.
When Gray Monk started out it was considered an “Estate Winery” based on the definitions of a winery set out by the BC provincial government. Those definitions no longer exist but Gray Monk kept the name and is now know as Gray Monk Estate Winery.
The winery itself is situated in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. It’s sits atop of Okanagan Lake providing scenic view of the vineyards, the mountains, and of course the lake.
Their Estate Pinot Noir is harvested in the fall and is picked by hand. After fermentation, it’s barrel aged in French Oak for anywhere from 4 to 10 months. Once bottled the finished product is stored in a climate controlled warehouse where it will further age for 3 months to a year before being shipped out for sale.
Gray Monk 2013 Pinot Noir
As with most Pinot Noir’s the 2013 Gray Monk offering still shows a soft almost velvety texture. Very low alcohol and low tannin’s result in very light bodied wine but still with strong flavors. It still retains it’s burgundy coloring with just a shade of ruby on on the rim.
Right out of the bottle the wine had a strong note earthy almost mineral note to it and I actually wondered if the wine had spoiled. After letting it breath for 15-20 min that earthy tone had disappeared and was replaced with the smell of ripe raspberry and floral notes.
I was expecting the floral notes on the nose to carry over to the flavor of the wine. Instead I was treated to subtle cherry and red plum flavors, that don’t over whelm but come through in the background. The longer I let the wine breath the more the fruit flavors started to become more noticeable and present.
This is wine that is easily enjoyed on it’s own but also pairs well with food. It’s this versatility that continues to intrigue me and the 2013 Gray Monk Pinot Noir definitely doesn’t disappoint.