BC VQA wines are released twice a year; once in the Fall and then in the Spring. The Fall wines tend to show more white wines, as well as Pinot Noir, while the Spring event has more red wines. This tasting I was able to taste many fine white wines as well as some surprising reds. The Okanagan Valley is warmer and drier than Napa Valley and gets nearly two hours more sunlight per day during the peak of the growing season, but we are still a cool climate region. I think the cool desert evenings are what contribute to the bright fresh, crisp fruit flavours we get from our white wines.
Let me take you through a few of my favourite white and red wines from this event. Thirty-six wineries from across BC attended, each pouring four wines on average, making 144 wines to try. I was not able to visit every winery table, so if you do not see a wine listed that you really like, let me know in the comments sections below.
White and Sparkling Wines
1st R.O.W. Estate Winery Gewurztraminer 2017 – Nice apples, spice and peach aromas which follow on to the palate. Light body, dry with a mineral component. An elegant wine.
50th Parallel Estate Pinot Gris 2017 – Light stone fruit plus honey nose. Smooth with light acidity and some minerality. Delicious stone fruit flavours.
50th Parallel Estate Riesling 2017 – Light petrol, honey and stone fruit aromas in the glass. Medium body, semi-dry with medium acidity. Higher acidity helps balance the sugar. Lime and citrus on the palate, with honey marmalade finish. Refreshing to drink.
Bench 1775 Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – Nice nose, with aromas of oranges, ripe peaches and honey. Medium plus body and acidity, giving a roundish mouthfeel. Leafy, green fruit and some pepperiness on the palate. –
Burrowing Owl Chardonnay 2016 – Light citrus, apple and butterscotch aromas. Round with medium acidity. Very flavourful with ripe apples, butterscotch, sweet spices and a hint of peach on the palate.
Calliope Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – Light lime on the nose, with more on the palate. Also jalapeno pepper and citrus flavours, followed by peach. Medium body with higher acidity. Tasty.
Clos du Soleil Winery Capella 2016 – this is a white Bordeaux blend; Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. It has a light crisp apple and flint nose. Medium plus body, round and rich mouthfeel. Apples and a light toast touch on the palate. Elegant.
Eau Vivre Winery & Vineyards Riesling 2017 – this winery is located in the Similkameen Valley. I had not tried their wines before but will try to taste them more often now as this Riesling was quite good. It has a light intensity rich pineapple nose. Medium body with higher acidity. Crisp red apple flavours. An age-worthy wine.
Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Fitz Brut 2015 – This sparkling wine has a light apple aroma. Dry, with high acidity and a creamy biting small bubble. Bruised apple and toast on the palate. –
Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Blanc de Blanc 2012 – A top bubble. This wine has apples and floral notes on the nose. Higher acidity with a small, semi-creamy bubble. A mix of apples, citrus and flint on the palate. Quality. –
Privato Vineyards & Winery Tesoro Pinot Noir – Woodward Collection 2015 – This wine has a light smoky, red fruited nose. Light body, dry, with light mouthfeel. Floral, red fruit and sweet spices on the palate. Elegant. –
Privato Vineyards & Winery Grand Reserve 2014 – This wine has undergone a natural ferment, so you never know what aromas and flavours you will get with the indigenous yeasts. This one worked very well. The wine has a light cinnamon nose. Medium body, round and soft in your mouth. Medium acidity. Flavours of red fruit, floral, nutmeg and cinnamon. Fine tannins. Another elegant Pinot. –
Privato Vineyards & Winery Pinot Noir – Privato Collection 2014 – Flowery, red fruit nose. Medium plus body, off-dry with a roundish mouthfeel. Spicy, bramble and red fruit flavours combine to make the wine have some complexity. Nice. –
Rust Wine Co. SV Syrah 2016 – A new winery for me to try, but it is now on my radar to try. Some very good wines! This Syrah has deep aromas of dark fruit and bramble. Dry, full-bodied with flavours of dark fruit, bramble and some pepperiness. Medium fine tannins. Nice! –
Rust Wine Co. Gamay 2017 – Gamay may not jump out at a grape you know much about, but it is very similar to Pinot Noir at a lower price point. Have you heard of Beaujolais wine? That is made from Gamay. I will write more about Gamay grapes in an upcoming article but read on about this wine. It has a juicy nose with aromas of bramble and raspberries. Medium plus body and acidity. Bramble and spice flavours, along with a mineral streak. Light tannins. –
Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard Dolcetto 2016 – Nice ripe, juicy dark fruit on the nose. Light mouthfeel with floral and dark ripe fruit flavours. Dry. Very light, fine tannins. Dolcetto is another grape you may not have heard of. This wine is not going to age, but is delicious and should be enjoyed now. Give it a try.
Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 – Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard 2015 – a single vineyard Pinot from brand new vines. This wine is exceptionally good, which is usually surprising for very new, young vines. This wine has a smoky, burned beeswax nose. Fuller bodied, off-dry with light tannins. Burned beeswax, dark fruit, followed by bramble later on. –
The View Winery Pinot Noir 2017 – Red cherry aroma in the glass. Medium body with waves of flavour alternating between red cherries, bramble and raspberries. Sweet spices and pepperiness as well. –
Tightrope Winery Pinot Noir 2016 – Light red fruit and floral aromas. Light body, dry with medium acidity. Red fruit, floral and nutmeg on the palate.
Tightrope Winery Cabernet Franc 2016 – one of the wines that surprised me at the tasting. So good. It has capsicum (a characteristic of Cab Franc), red cherries, and sweet spices on the nose. It is dry and round, with firmer tannins. Lighter mouthfeel. Red cherries and vanilla on the palate primarily with a touch of floral and some pepper on the finish. –
I hope one or more of these BC wines sparked your interest. These wines would be available through the wineries’ websites, but you may also find them in the BC VQA section of BC Liquor stores, or private wine shops. Enjoy.