When River Stone owner Ted Kane was planning the vineyard that now covers their special south-facing slope north of Oliver, he had a particular wine that he wanted to create. That wine, called Corner Stone, is the flagship red Meritage blend that anchors River Stone’s portfolio and has recently been profiled in John Schreiner’s book, “Icon: Flagship Wines from British Columbia’s Best Wineries.”
The varieties are planted with similar proportions of grapes that go into the blend making Corner Stone a true reflection of the vineyard. Merlot is the dominant variety in the 2013 Corner Stone and this is echoed in the vineyard where three full acres of Merlot make up the largest block of any one variety. Ted chose Merlot based on his research about the Okanagan before he planted. “Merlot needs less time to ripen,” explains Ted, acknowledging the shorter growing season of the Okanagan Valley. This does not mean that he is locked into a particular blend. Ted hints that Cabernet Franc will play a more important role in future vintages after seeing the potential of that grape in his vineyard. The current 2013 vintage has the highest proportion of Cabernet Franc (21%) of any prior vintage. “The 2014 will be ‘Cabs dominant’,” indicating that the amount of Merlot will be less than the total amount of both Cabernets in the blend.
That Cabernet Franc will play a larger part in the future is not surprising as Ted’s wine career was inspired by Chateau Cheval Blanc, a famous Bordeaux property that blends Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Will there be a Cheval Blanc-inspired blend in River Stone’s future? “Perhaps,” says Ted with a grin.
Keep track of all of the new blending developments from River Stone through social media and on their website.
Pictured: Winemaker/owner Ted Kane