Richard Roskell, owner, viticulturist and winemaker of Marichel Winery on the Naramata Bench says his take on winemaking is very hands off. “The wine is quintessentially an expression of the farm. I don’t manipulate the wine… it’s the vineyard you are tasting.”
Marichel produces about 1,500 cases a year of Syrah and Viognier wines from the winery and vineyard tucked away at the end of Littlejohn Road with its expansive view of vineyards, the lake and Summerland’s Giants Head Mountain. Countless photos have been taken from Marichel’s patio with lovely wine bottles and half-full glasses of a white or a red in the foreground.
“It’s a pretty special spot in a really special part of Naramata,” Richard says. “So special that a couple got engaged on our patio this past weekend.”
As we head into harvest, Richard is anticipating his best year ever. “The grapes look fantastic and are sizing up extraordinarily,” he says. “The vineyard has responded in a positive way to last year’s great growing season and the early start to this year has really helped as well.”
The vineyard is divided up into eight small microclimates. He has left areas of natural plantings on the property, which is home to a variety of wildlife. Partway through the growing season he pruned off a good deal of the fruit to supercharge the flavour of the remaining grapes.
With a quiet, but dedicated following, Marichel is a wonderful surprise for new visitors who are astonished by the dramatic views, special wines and the warm welcome. The tasting room star this year has been the 2013 Estate Syrah.
Other Marichel stars are Trish and Jill who guide visitors through wine tastings and Colin who is helping Richard in the vineyard and cellar. “I have had a lot of challenges over the years, especially losing my wife Elisabeth a year ago. Buying the farm was due in large measure to her efforts and vision,” Richard says. “We found the property together and she was instrumental in acquiring it. “I eventually came to the realization that there was no way I could do everything myself and now have found some wonderful, supportive people to help me. I’m really proud of them.”
Marichel is a participant in Garagiste North, The Small Guys Wine Festival held in Penticton September 18th where Richard will be pouring his amazing Syrah-Viognier, Rosé, Viognier and Estate Syrah. For more info, visit garagistenorth.com.
~ Elaine Davidson