Naming Moraine Winery did not happen by chance. The Naramata vineyard is situated on a glacially formed shelf – or moraine – overlooking Okanagan Lake, on land filled with rocks laced with minerals that impart complex, much sought after flavours to grapes.
Owners Oleg and Svetlana Aristarkov celebrate their vineyard’s unique geography by naming their wines with distinctive terms like Cliffhanger, Twin Peaks, Pink Mountain and Red Mountain.
“We know we have a great location, sitting on land pushed here by a glacier,” Oleg says. “It’s perfect for what we want to achieve—making quality hand-crafted wines in small batches. We take what the vineyard gives us and maintain those flavours right into the bottle.”
Winemaker Jacq Kemp has proven to be the right choice to help Oleg and Svetlana in their obsession with quality. In her home country of New Zealand she earned international recognition of her Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, all grapes she gets to work with at Moraine. Here, she strives to keep her focus on what the vineyards have to offer, creating balanced, elegant and distinctly varietal wines.
To capture the clean, juicy flavours of Pinot Gris, for instance, Jacq didn’t press grapes from the 2013 vintage. Instead, she allowed the juice to run free—not the best way to maximize production, but ideal for what Oleg and Svetlana are looking for—intense flavours and aromas. Jacq takes a gentle approach to Malbec, too, using handpicked fruit to make a hauntingly aromatic and beautiful balanced wine.
Red (Malbec and Merlot) and White (Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer) Cliffhanger 2013 vintages reveal her blending ability as she seeks to combine varietals in unique and very pleasing ways.
“The response from customers has been outstanding, which tells us that our winemaker and vineyards are a great match!”
~ Lorne Eckersley