The Next Chapter for Osoyoos Larose
Written by Christopher Waters
Change has come to Osoyoos Larose in the form of a new winemaker and a deal that saw Groupe Taillan assume total control of the project last year.
Originally a 50/50 joint venture hatched in 1998 between the Bor- deaux-based Groupe Taillan and Vincor Canada, Osoyoos Larose quickly rose to prominence with its Bordeaux-styled red blend, Le Grand Vin. The inaugural vintage, produced in 2001 from two-year- old vines, showed the potential of the vineyard and the overarching ambition of the project.
A second label, Petales d’Osoyoos, was introduced in 2005.
Bordeaux-trained winemaker Mathieu Mercier took the reins in March 2013, replacing Pascal Madevon, who spent 10 years working on the project.
A native of Cognac, France, who grew up on a vineyard, Mercier worked in Chile as part of the winemaking team responsible for Viña Concha y Toro’s iconic Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon and in California at Swanson Vineyards and Cain Vineyard in the Napa Valley. He was tapped for Osoyoos Larose while working at Château Carcanieux, a cru bourgeois property in Médoc owned by Groupe Taillan.
“When I tasted the wine in France, I was impressed by the quality,” explains the 25-year-old winemaker. “I jumped at the opportunity to continue elevating the quality of the brand.”
Mercier, who recalls being shown pictures of the west-facing, 32 hectare estate overlooking Lake Osoyoos, says the beauty of the place also struck him. A year later, he hasn’t grown tired of the view.
“It’s a very beautiful panorama,” he says. “Walking in that vineyard, I am reminded how lucky I am every day.”
Mercier also explains that the ability to control winemaking operations from vine to wine also proved to be a major drawing card.
According to the young vintner, the next chapter for Osoyoos Larose will be shaped by evolution, not revolution. The winery will continue to operate within the confines of the Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate facility and the established practices will continue in the vineyard, which is planted to the five classic Bordeaux varieties, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, grown in separate blocks.
“I’m looking to settle here a long time and improve my skills and knowledge at Osoyoos Larose year after year,” Mercier says. “With wine, there’s always something else to learn, something else you can do to improve quality. Even a small thing can have a significant impact on quality. You can never claim to know everything.