Last week the BC wineries who are part of the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) presented their latest releases of red, white, and sparkling wines. 74 wineries had tables and each poured around 4 wines on average. So 296 new releases hit our market, with some wines available at BC liquor stores, while others only available a private wine shops, or at the winery. In a few hours of tasting, talking to winery principals, and catching up with industry friends, it is impossible to taste that many wines. I did taste many wines, mainly white for this VQA release, but you will also find some red wines in my list. The whites range from 2014 to 2016, and the reds vintages from 2012 to 2016. Usually the older white vintages are Chardonnay that have had barrel aging; similarly for the reds, but the varietals are different. The older reds are either Bordeaux blends or single varietals from the Bordeaux varieties. The wines from this release are still showing the bright fruit flavours that I have come to expect from BC wines. I invite you to read through my latest VQA wine picks and if you find some enticing, to go out and buy them before they are gone.
White and Sparkling Wines
1st R.O.W. Estate Winery Unoaked Chardonnay 2014 (~$17) – Lots of vanilla and tropical fruit aromas. Round, soft with medium plus body. Lychee, vanilla and pineapple flavours. Medium acidity. Very tasty.
Backyard Vineyards Blanc de Noir Brut NV ($24.95) – This bubble has light pear skin colour. Light apple nose. Higher acidity with small to medium bubble. Tart green crisp apple and citrus on the finish. Nice.
Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery Chardonnay 2014 (~$23.49) – Light, elegant nose showing pears and sweet spices. Lighter body, dry, soft and round. Flavours of light tropical fruit, sweet spices and a touch of oak. Excellent. –
Bordertown Vineyards & Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2016 (~$15.99) – Light melon nose. Medium body and acidity, with a slight acidic prickle. Melon, pears and a later on a hint of peach flavour. Delicate.
C.C. Jentsch Cellars Viognier 2015 (~$20.49) – Nice light mix of orange and ripe stone fruit aromas. Dry, semi-round, with medium acidity. Light orange and stone fruit flavours with some spiciness on the finish. Longer length.
Grey Monk Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2015 (~$16.99) – Very light stone fruit nose. Off-dry, round, with medium plus body and medium acidity. Ripe pear and other stone fruits, some minerality, and honey later on. A nice wine. –
Hillside Winery & Bistro Gewurztraminer 2016 (~$16.29) – Lots of lychee on the nose. Dryish, with medium acidity. Flavours of apples and orange up front, followed by lychee later on, and honey at the very end. Very tasty. –
Haywire Winery The Bub Sparkling 2015 (~$24.49) – Nice bready plus McIntosh apple nose. Pretty intense aromas. High acidity, more McIntosh apple on the palate. Dry, medium body. Crisp. Good quality. –
Hester Creek Estate Winery Chardonnay 2016 (~$24.95) – Light ripe tropical fruit plus stone fruit aromas. Fuller mouth feel, round and off-dry. Ripe pears, pineapple and sweet spices. Very smooth.
Howling Bluff Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016 (~$17.29) – Light grapefruit nose. Dry, light body, with light intensity grapefruit and citrus flavour. A bit of honey at the end as well. Elegant.
Lake Breeze Vineyards Tempest 2012 (~$43.49) – This is a blend of Merlot (45%), Malbec (30%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), and Petit Verdot (5%). Opaque dull garnet in the glass. Deep, dark, sweet fruit and oak on the nose. Full body, off-dry, with medium plus tannins. Ripe black fruit and sweet spices on the palate. Dry semi-tannic finish. Good quality. –
Maverick Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2014 (~$25.49) – Medium translucent garnet. Light barnyard, sweet spice and red fruit aromas. Dry, medium plus body with a mineral streak. A mix of raspberries and bramble fruit flavours. Medium tannins. Dry finish. –
Monte Creek Ranch Winery Reserve Pinot Noir 2016 (~$26.08) – Pale, translucent garnet in colour. Light smoky nose, along with candied cherries and some floral. Silky, with light mouth feel and medium minus tannins. Light red cherry flavour, plus smoky raspberries. A hint of sweetness. Light peppery finish. A nice, understated wine.
Moon Curser Vineyards Tempranillo 2015 (~$25.19) – Deep opaque mix of ruby and garnet in the glass. Light candied dark fruit nose. Full body, round and soft with medium tannins to support. Ripe dark fruit, vanilla and chocolate flavours. Firmer, fine tannic finish. –
Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery Meritage Reserve 2014 (~$27.49) – A blend of 74% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cab Franc, and 2% Malbec. This wine has a light intensity, rich vanilla and red fruit nose. Ripe and round in the mouth, with a silky feel. Raspberries on the palate along with some pepperiness. Dry tannic finish. +
Privato Vineyard and Winery Pinot Noir – Private Collection 2015 (~$26.99) – Light smoky cherry nose. Light body with flavours of nutmeg, dill, and red cherries. Medium acidity and light mouth feel. A tasty wine.
Privato Tesoro Pinot Noir – Woodward Collection 2014 (~$34.69) – Light red fruit and floral nose. Light body, dry and soft, with fine tannins. Floral, nutmeg and red fruit flavours. Elegant and understated.