I was invited to stop by Van Westen Vineyards to speak with Rob Van Westen on a day during crush that was a bit slower. I was very appreciative of Rob making the time to see me in between coordinating a small construction project and crushing some Petit Verdot both for one of his neighbours who is starting a winery next year, Deep Roots Winery, as well as his own crop. We went inside the winery for a sampling of the red wines. The 2007 Voluptuous is a blend of 67% Merlot & 33% Cabernet Franc with flavours of black cherry, plum and spice. It is full-bodied with great chewy tannins and medium acidity. The 2008 Voluptuous is the same blend as the previous vintage. It has a black cherry nose and is still a bit tight. There is cherry and dark fruit on the palate with medium acidity and heavy tannins. This is an elegant wine that will be able to stand some time in the cellar. The 2009 V is a blend of 68% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5.6% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon and 0.4% Petit Verdot. It has red fruit on the nose and palate along with some spice and cedar. It is still a bit tight but should open nicely in a few more years. It has medium acidity and tannins. Rob then poured me something a little special. He partnered with Tom DiBello to make a Pinot Noir. Rob supplied the fruit and Tom supplied the barrels and expertise with the Pinot Noir grape. This wine will be released on Valentine’s Day 2013 and as such bears the title of V D. These letters are obviously also the initials of both Rob Van Westen and Tom DiBello. The 2011 Pinot Noir is a deep ruby colour and has a rich red cherry nose. It has elegant flavours of cherry and spice. It is smooth with soft tannins and medium acidity.
I took a bit of time to walk around the property and to play with the winery dog while the guys got the crush pad set up to start crushing some Petit Verdot. It was particularly exciting for one group in that the fruit was some of their first vintage for their new winery, Deep Roots. Rob was helping them out with some advice and equipment use. Finally the fruit came and was being processed through the destemmer, with the crusher opened up so that the machine would be the least harsh possible on the fruit. The whole process at Van Westen starts in the vineyard, growing the best possible fruit and then in the winery it is focussed on the least possible intervention with the fruit. The wine is always gravity fed between all areas in the winery. I believe that this shows in the high quality of the wines that are produced here.