Have you ever felt like you have a daunting task, but persevere with the hope you will discover a few gold nuggets? I’m sure many BC prospectors felt this as they searched for gold in Barkerville and further north. This is also how I feel when I attend the Colour BC VQA tastings. There are so many BC VQA wines to try. You cannot try them all, but persevere and hope that you hit some nuggets. And I always do, and pass them along to you. We all share in the wealth!
A Few Quick BC Wine Stats
But before we get into the gold, let me tell you a few quick statistics about BC wines and regions (from the winebc.com).
- There are now over 220 grape wineries in BC
- BC grows more than 75 different grape varieties
- Merlot is the most planted grape in BC
- Pinot Gris is the most planted white grape in BC
- BC wines received more than 2,000 awareds in 2012
Check out my May 2012 article about my BC VQA Spring tasting; compare the stats and see what has changed in a little over a year in BC.
My Wine Picks
As always, there are more wines than you can try in one tasting, so I try to pick and choose wineries I don’t know much about, new wineries, and wineries I know but may have something that I have not yet tasted. If you attended this tasting and you found a gem, please post a comment below. Here are my finds:
Sparkling and White Wine Selections
Grey Monk Estate Winery Odyssey White Brut 2011 ($24.99). This sparkler is made with Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay Musque, and Riesling grapes. Very light bread and white peach aromas. Light creamy bubbles with a waxy edge, citrus flavour. Dry and elegant.
- Grey Monk Estate Winery Gewurztraminer 2012 ($16.99). Light lychee and rose petals nose. Light body, dry but quite fruity, with flavours of lychee, lime and peach. Medium acidity. Light spice on the finish. Chinese food or a light curry might be the right match.
- Howling Bluff Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2012 ($18). Peach skin nose. Light body, higher acidity, dry, very juicy with ripe stone fruit flavours. Nice!
Intersection Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve Barrel Fermented 2012. Although barrel fermented you just get a hint of oak and vanilla, which should make this wine a hit with everyone. Light citrus with a hint of oak on the nose. Round, soft, medium minus body. Tropical fruit flavour grows as it lingers in your mouth. Followed by sweet spice and acidity.
- Joiefarm En Famile Reserve Chardonnay 2011 ($27.90). What can I say about this wine? It was quite amazing as every component of this wine; the fruit, sugar, acidity, and oak were perfectly in balance and totally integrated. Light citrus and stone fruit nose. Dry with light body, tropical fruit flavours and cinnamon spice on the palate.
- Lake Breeze Semillon 2012. This is one of my surprise wines of the event. I am a Semillon fan, but not many people know much about the grape. Don’t be afraid of this wine; try it. It has a light peachy nose. Medium minus body, soft and round with peach and citrus flavours.
Maverick Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2011 ($19.90). A relatively new winery in BC, but the owner, Bertus Albertyn, is a past wine maker for Burrowing Owl in the Okanagan. He hails from South Africa, where the wine style sits comfortably between Old World restraint and New World fruit and vibrancy. I was charmed by this Pinot Gris. It is quite aromatic with stone fruit and a sweet spice edge on the nose. Medium body, round with medium acidity. Stone fruit and peach flavours with a hint of mint. Very tasty.
- Meyer Family Vineyards Tribute Chardonnay 2011 ($30). Every year the Meyer Family pays tribute to a BC local. This year it is Winnifred Mary Stewart founded the first school in western Canada for children with developmental disabilities in 1953. In 2013 the Winnifred Stewart Association which she created will celebrate its 60th Anniversary. Light tropical fruit and vanilla nose. Medium body, dry with soft mouth feel. The tropical fruit follows on the palate together with some nutmeg spice. Citrus and vanilla on the finish. A very elegant wine.
- Fort Berens Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2012 ($17.99). Fort Berens is located in the Lillooet area, one of the new emerging wine regions in BC. I’ve commented on their wines before. I didn’t try any reds today, but I’ve really enjoyed the bottles I’ve tried before. This wine has a nice light stone fruit nose. Light body, soft mouth feel, with a medium stone fruit flavour that builds in intensity in your mouth. Quite remarkable. Take time to aerate this wine in your mouth before swallowing.
Red Wine Selections
Black Hills Estate Winery Syrah 2011 ($35). Rich chocolate, black fruit and spice aromas. Medium body but a light mouth feel. Ripe black fruit, milk chocolate and coffee flavours. Quite complex flavour profile. An elegant Syrah.
- Gold Hill Syrah II 2011 ($26.90). Light berry, raspberry nose. Dry with soft tannins and medium acidity. It starts out with licorice then adds blueberries and a light touch of vanilla. Soft finish. A really easy Syrah to sip and enjoy!
- Maverick Estate Rubicon 2011 ($23.90). Bertus Albertyn crossed the Rubicon with this wine and didn’t look back. A wonderful Bordeaux blend, it was nearly opaque ruby in the glass. Medium intensity, restrained aromas of cassis and oak. Very juicy black fruit and cassis followed by vanilla. Dry with soft tannins. Buy it.
- Mount Boucherie Family Estate Winery Summit Reserve Merlot 2008 ($21). Light translucent brick colour in the glass. Light cherry, tea leaves and vanilla aromas. Medium body, dry with cherries and plums on the palate. Medium plus tannins with a spicy finish. An elegant wine.
- Orofino Vineyards Home Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 ($31.90). I enjoyed the violets and cherry aromas of this wine. The violets continued on the palate together with some cinnamon, followed by cherries and nutmeg flavours. Light body with soft tannins.
- Stoneboat Vineyards Pinotage 2010 ($24.90). Smoky raspberry nose. Medium plus body, dry with a heavy mouth feel. Firm tannins. Primarily cherries on the palate. A very masculine wine, when compared to The View Winery Fossil Fuel, whih is another Pinotage.
- The View Winery Fossil Fuel 2012. This wine is a blend of 95% Pinotage and 5% Baco Noir. Nice nose with aromas of red cherries and vanilla. Medium body, dry with higher acidity. Red cherries and vanilla on the palate followed by sweet spice. Light mouth feel.
Give these wines a try. Hopefully you will be able to get them in a BC government liquor store, or one of the private wine stores across BC. Again, I love feedback, so if you tasted a wine at the event that you think is notable, then note it in the Comments section. Enjoy!