When we were members of La Stella (and their sister winery Le Vieux Pin), we were treated like family. Every visit. A couple of years ago we left both clubs, simply due to the fact that had we remained in all the clubs we were in, we would have shortly run out of places to put all the wine. Now that we aren’t in the clubs anymore…..they still treat us like family.
A lot of this is due to Alex Russo, their wine club manager. He is the best in the business, and we know anytime we need anything from either winery, he will take excellent care of us. That’s pretty great service for EX-club members. Alex recently celebrated his 10th Anniversary as part of the team, and if you know anything about staff turnover in the Okanagan, that’s pretty remarkable. I think it’s probably more mathematically likely that an employee would work at 10 wineries in one year than at one winery (OK, two, in this case I guess) for 10 years.
We show up for our appointment and are quickly greeted and escorted out to their beautiful patio. We haven’t checked into our room yet, it’s too early, so we still have the dog with us. They are certainly dog friendly on the patio; in fact there are two other groups out there when we arrive and BOTH are accompanied by a furry friend!
Our guide today is someone we haven’t seen before, but he is very knowledgable and takes excellent care of us as we would expect. Now, let’s get to the wine!
Next up, because I guess winemaker Severine Pinte decided that making world class wine for La Stella and Le Vieux Pin wasn’t quite enough work, she decided to create a third label. Artakama is a new label featuring just natural wines. We were lucky enough to get to taste one, and although I didn’t love it (I have not yet jumped on the ‘natural wine’ bandwagon), I look forward to seeing how these wines evolve. If I recall correctly, this is the only one currently being featured at La Stella, while they also have a Viognier/Roussane blend, a Pinot Noir, and a Syrah being sold online or from Le Vieux Pin. Those three are currently only available in Magnums.
Next, two Tuscan-style blends that never disappoint, from two very different vintages.
To finish up, I’m giving this wine a bunch of “+s” because I really am not sure just how great it’s going to be once given some more nappy time in the bottle. Don’t get me wrong, if you have one of these and want to open it now (please aerate and decant it for a couple hours), you will thoroughly enjoy it. But patience is the key here, as I think this just might become one of the great Merlots in Okanagan history. Time will tell!
That’s all for today! Next up: The Okanagan trip continues as we meet up with Mike Dowell from Liber Farm & Winery at his new location which is basically across the street from La Stella! Stay tuned!