Vineyard owners Skip and Judy Stothert call their property Coolshanagh — a meeting place of friends. Coolshanagh is mostly planted Chardonnay, with small amounts of Pinot Noir. Conventional viticulture is not an option for the Stotherts. After rubbing shoulders with the likes of Italian wine consultant Alberto Antonini and Chilean terroir specialist Pedro Parra, the Stotherts are joining a small but growing band of Okanagan producers in a thoughtful search for their own identity.
Pedro Parra is a fan of this part of the Naramata ledge that sits between what was once the ancient west coast of North America and Okanagan Mountain, suggesting its limestone and calcium carbonate-loaded soil made from fractured glacial bedrock is the motherlode of wine soils.In short, the Stotherts have a good site.
Parra suggest it is among only 15 per cent of all the world’s vineyards that have the ingredients to be really great.
Parra and Antonini may be foreigners but they have a very broad and considered opinion about where the world of wine is headed.. At Coolshanagh, their advice is both simple and hard. No more synthetic fertilizers, nor more herbicides, farm organically, de-compact the soil and bring biodiversity and lightness to the soil.
The 2012, 2013 and 2014 Coolshanagh Chardonnays are well on their way to being terrific wines, the wine is already expressing the incredible minerality and stony notes that are the hallmark of the site. The use of large neutral oak barriques, egg-shaped concrete vats and lees aging all contribute to the subtlety and expressiveness of what is already one of the best Chardonnays in the valley.
The wine offers a distinctive combination of bright, nimble acidity and solid weightiness. There’s a characteristic sense of the vineyard in this wine with its stony complexity and bright fruit evoking the rocky subsoils and cool mesoclimate. The wine has great structure and a lush mouthfeel, which bodes well for its ability to cellar for at least a decade.