Verticale 2017 took place on a beautiful day on September 30th. This was our annual vertical tasting of the two flagship wines that have been the pillars of our portfolio since the 2006 vintage – Capella and Signature. This year’s flights both started with the 2007 vintage and extended up to the current vintages 2015 and 2014 for Capella and Signature respectively. The flights were expertly paired with food prepared by Chef Natasha Schooten from Walnut Beach Resort in Osoyoos.
A vertical tasting includes tasting multiple vintages of the same wine, usually from oldest to youngest, in order to experience the variations and similarities between the vintages. Variations can come from factors such as the weather during the growing season, the different combination of grapes used in the blend, or even the age of the vines in the vineyard. The similarities can show flavours derived from the vineyard’s terroir as well as winemaking techniques among other things. Top-quality wines that are suitable for long-term aging are perfect candidates to experience in a vertical tasting.
Our first vertical tasting happened in 2012 when there were only five possible vintages of each wine available to taste and the oldest vintage was only six years old. In 2016, the vertical tasting reached a milestone when it featured wines that were a full decade in age for the first time.
This year’s tasting event was the first to be branded with the name “Verticale” and featured 9 vintages of Capella and 8 vintages of Signature with both wines starting from the 2007 vintage. The afternoon started with a tasting of our very first vintage of Sémillon and finished with a taste of the recently-released 2013 Estate Reserve Red.
Each course of Chef Natasha’s deconstruction / reconstruction concept meal featured a small plate with a trio of basic flavour elements that was analogous to flavours in the accompanying wines. These flavours took into account the different ages of the wines. The older wines, from 8 to 10 years of age, were showing tertiary aromas such as tobacco leaf, black tea, and olives, all of which Chef Natasha literally used as ingredients and flavours in the deconstructed portion of the courses. It was then followed by a plate which contained these elements reconstructed together. These courses were all accompanied by a flight of three wines in sequential vintages. This unique experience allowed each wine to be tasted in the presence of a food item with a focused complimentary flavour as well a food with a more harmonious blend of all of the flavour elements. It was an intensely focused experience but one that everyone appreciated. The myriad flavours and texture combinations kept palate fatigue to a minimum even after multiple courses.
The tasting went into double-overtime but nobody complained at all as it was clear to everyone that the tasting was best experienced at a relaxed pace rather than rushed. The experience was completed with a taste of the recently released 2013 Estate Reserve Red and some took strolls through the vineyard as the sun got low in the sky.