Henry of Pelham

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Reported by Robert White

The National Capital Sommelier Guild was pleased to welcome Paul Speck, President and co-owner of Henry of Pelham Family Estates, to be with us for an evening in Ottawa.

As members savoured the sparkling wine, Paul described Henry of Pelham’s origins and goals for its wines. The Cuvée Catherine Estate Blanc de Blanc ‘Carte Blanche’ uses entirely estate-grown Chardonnay, partially barrel-fermented then aged for 54 months on the lees. The sparkler has garnered a number of awards and shows lively dry acidity with crisp green apple and toasty characteristics.

The first flight was three white wines. We started off with 2009 Speck Family Reserve Riesling grown from the 21B clone. The wine showed bright acidity with lemon- lime citrus on the nose and palate along with some pleasant petrol notes. The deep fruit concentration would allow this wine to age for some time. Second up was the 2010 Speck Family Reserve Chardonnay. With 6 months in oak, the nose showed apples and pears along with butterscotch and toasted vanilla notes. It had good mouth weight with an enjoyable mineral seam with the deep apple tart, pear and caramel-butterscotch flavours in the mouth. Paul introduced the members to the Family Tree White. This is a blend of 44% Chardonnay, 29% Gewürztraminer, 14% Viognier and 13% Chardonnay Musqué. This bold blend showed characteristics of many of the individual grapes including peaches, lychee with floral aromas. 40% of the wine was fermented and aged in the barrel for 8 months.

Paul then introduced four red wines. The 2009 Speck Family Reserve Pinot Noir displayed wonderful concentration of dense brambly fruit (raspberry, blackberry and currant) while the palate showed solid structure with excellent balance. The wine was still a little young and needs some time to more fully develop. The Family Tree Red (58% Syrah, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot) was once again very enjoyable with great fruit, pepper and some slight herbaceous notes. A member said that Family Tree was “Sibling Rivalry for adults”.

The 2010 Speck Family Reserve Cabernet-Merlot, made with Cabernet Sauvignon, showed concentrated dark fruit tones balanced by black raspberry nuances with finely integrated tannins and pleasant herbaceousness. This wine is only produced in exceptional years, such as 2010. We rounded out the flight with a favourite for many of the members, the 2010 Baco Noir Reserve. The wine showed “gamey” aromas of bacon fat, herbs and dark berry fruit. The ripe bing cherry, herbs and spice flavours integrated with supple tannin show a long, balanced finish. While the wine will age, Paul best enjoys it in a 5 to 6 year old time frame.

We finished the evening with the 2011 Riesling Ice Wine. This delicious icewine offers enticing aromas of apricot, lime, dried fruit and honey. It was beautifully balanced on the palate with notes of mandarin orange, apricot and honey with a fine acidity.

Paul Speck invites members to join their wine club via their website.

The Guild would like to thank Paul for the excellent tasting. We would also like to thank Stacey Robertson with Family Wine Merchants, whose help made the evening enjoyable for all.

The Wines

  • Cuvée Catharine Estate Blanc de Blanc ‘Carte Blanche’, 315200, $44.95
  • Speck Family Reserve Riesling, 2009, 643361, $30.00
  • Speck Family Reserve Chardonnay, 2010, 616466, $35.00
  • Family Tree White, 2010, 251116, $17.95
  • Speck Family Reserve Pinot Noir, 2009, 657874, $40.00
  • Family Tree Red, 2010, 247882, $18.95
  • Speck Family Reserve Cabernet- Merlot, 2010, 616433, $50.00
  • Baco Noir Reserve, 2010, 461699, $24.95
  • Riesling Ice Wine, 2011 (375 mL), 430561, $49.95