This past week was very busy with wine events, but one event that I made sure to attend was the Bloom Vancouver, BC VQA Spring Release Tasting. This was a Trade only event, so people like media, restaurant owners, sommeliers, and other wine buyers for consumers were only in attendance. With spring you get the current release of the white wines, e.g. 2010 whites, and the previous year(s) vintages of reds as they are released by each winery. Before launching into the latest wines that I think were very well made and you would enjoy, I would like to give you a few quick facts about BC wines.
A Few Quick Facts about BC Wines
There are now over 208 wineries in BC
- BC has 5 designated viticultural areas (Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and the Gulf Islands). I am sure that this is going to grow with the Kamloops region starting to grow vines and produce wine.
- Over 65 varies of grapes are grown in BC
- Merlot is the most planted grape in BC
- Pinot Gris is the most planted white grape in BC (I would have thought Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc)
- BC wines were more than 2000 awards in 2011
My BC VQA Wine Picks
As usual, there are more wines to try than there is time, so here are my favourites from what I was able to taste. If you attended Bloom Vancouver and you found some other gems, please post your comment below. I posted the prices for the wines, and you may be surprised with many wines being under $20. A very good value for quality wines. And just in case you have not heard of the Vintners Quality Alliance, VQA, here is a Wikipedia link for you.
White and Sparkling Wines
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Chardonnay 2009 ($25). Light pear skin colour. Nice vanilla, pear and tropical fruit nose. Medium plus body, round, with vanilla tropical fruit and sweet spices. Medium acidity. It is nicely composed, not too overdone with the oak.
- Gray Monk Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2011 ($16.99). This could be my favourite white wine of the tasting. Pale straw colour. Nice light peach and honeysuckle nose. Medium body, medium acidity, off-dry with ripe stone fruit and apple flavours. Very tasty.
- Gray Monk Odyssey Brut Rose NV ($19.99). Here is a sub-$20 sparkling wine from BC. Made from the Gamay grape. Pale salmon colour. Nice strawberry aroma. Light body, light bubble, dry with strawberry and cherry flavours.
- Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Discovery Series Chenin Blanc 2009 ($16.99). Probably many of you are not that familiar with Chenin Blanc. It is a very food friendly wine, that can be made anywhere from a dry to a sweet style, and sparkling too. The Loire Valley in France is famous for their Chenin. Here in BC we have a nice example from Inniskillin. Medium straw in colour. Nice honey and stone fruit aromas. Off dry, round with honey, citrus, and peach pit flavours.
- Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Entourage Methode Classique Brut 2008 ($29.99). Light straw colour. Bready, pear, and candied Xmas fruit aromas. Light body with pears, apples, and a hint of oak at the end. Light bubbles.
- Kalala Organic Estate Winery Harmony White 2010 ($13.95). A white blend of Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Auxerrois and one other varietal that I did not get. Pale lemony green in the glass. Lots of honey on the nose. Medium plus acidity, with still nice and round mouth feel. Honey, citrus and orange flavours.
- Kalala Organic Estate Winery Gewurztraminer 2010 ($17.95). Lots of lychee on the nose. Off-dry, with cloves and lychee flavour. Soft mouth feel with light acidity. Very tasty.
- Mount Boucherie Estate Winery Estate Gewurztraminer 2011 ($15.99). Pale lemony green colour. Nice lychee and tangerine aromas. Dry, medium minus body, with citrus and flowery flavours. Medium plus acidity.
Okanagan Crush Pad – Bartier Bros., The Cowboy White 2010 ($22.90). A blend of 50% Schoenberger and 50% Sauvignon Blanc. If you are German, you would spell the first grape as Schönberger. Medium lemon colour, with a nice light lychee nose. Dry, medium minus body, round mouth feel, with apple flavour. Medium length.
- Okanagan Crush Pad Winery Haywire Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 ($23). Pale lemon in the glass. Restrained citrus nose. Round mouth feel, medium body with red apple and some stone fruit flavours. Medium length.
- Perseus Winery Viognier 2010 ($21.90). A very nice peach and apricot nose. Lighter bodied, round with medium acidity. Stone fruit and some mint flavour.
- Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery Mistura Branca 2009 ($17.90). This is a blend of 44% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Pinot Gris, 30% Gewurztraminer, and 6% Chardonnay. Medium golden in colour. Butterscotch and flowers on the nose. Dry and round, with medium body. Intense flavours in your mouth of apples, honey, and some oak. Nice.
- Recline Ridge Vineyards & Winery Bacchus 2011 ($16.90). Smoke and nettle aromas and flavours from this wine. Medium body, round mouth feel. Also some sweet spices on the palate.
- Spierhead Winery Chardonnay 2010 ($21.90). Pale lemon colour with a light citrus and vanilla nose. Light body with tropical fruit and sweet spice (cinnamon) showing up mid palate. Dry with a medium length.
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Merlot 2009 ($30). Light transparent garnet in the glass. Bright ripe cherry nose. Light body, dry with ripe cherries and vanilla flavours. Sweet cherry finish.
- Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Syrah 2009 ($35). Medium garnet colour. Intense dark black fruit nose. Dry, full body, with cassis, blueberries and vanilla flavours. Tasty.
- Desert Hills Estate Winery Syrah 2008 ($36.90). This could be my favourite red of the event. Deep opaque garnet in the glass. Nice blueberry and clove aromas. Full body with soft mouth feel. Spices, vanilla and blueberry flavours. Very nice.
- Fairview Cellars Madcap Red 2009 ($26.90). This Bordeaux blend is primarily Merlot, with lesser amounts of Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium garnet in colour. Light nose with dark cherry and ripe black fruit. Full body, dry, soft mouth feel, with ripe cherries, black fruit, and some spice.
- Fairview Cellars The Bear 2009 ($34.90). This is another Bordeaux blend using 5 red varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec). Medium translucent garnet. Light dark fruit nose. Full body, with ripe black fruit and ripe red cherries. The oak is integrated very well in this wine. Dry, with soft mouth feel. Very good.
Hester Creek Estate Winery Merlot Reserve 2008 ($26.99). Pale translucent garnet in the glass. Interesting nose, with orange peel, vanilla and cherries. Medium body, dry, with cassis, cinnamon, cloves and cherry flavours. Very nice.
- Moon Curser Vineyards Syrah 2010 ($24.90). Nice medium ruby colour. Meaty, cocoa nose. Fully body, with cloves, dark fruit and a streak of minerality.
- Moon Curser Vineyards Dead of Night 2010 ($37.90). This is a blend of 50% Tannat and 50% Syrah. Quite a blend, with these grapes originally from 2 very different regions of France, to come together to make this wine in the Okanagan Valley! Dark ruby colour. Cloves, vanilla and dark fruit aromas. Full body, with blueberries, pepper, vanilla and also a streak of minerality too. Dry with medium acidity. Tasty.
With summer coming up, there should be a nice range of BC wines for you to enjoy on the patio. Also remember that many of the BC wineries are not too far to drive to. Pick up some wines at the winery door and experience their terroir. Enjoy!