Three Monte Creek Ranch Spring Releases for You

Monte Creek Ranch winery tasting room and restaurant

Monte Creek Ranch winery tasting room and restaurant

The Monte Creek Ranch Winery may not be familiar to you as it is not in one of the more well-known grape growing regions of BC, like the Okanagan.  It is in the Thompson Valley, just east of Kamloops.  It is a ranch with cattle, but it primarily grows grapes and produces wines.  The Thompson Valley does have to deal with a colder winter than the Okanagan, and the wineries in the area have tried planting hybrid grapes that withstand our cold winters.  But the cold winters are not as cold as they were many years ago.  In fact, noble grapes like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling are grown in the Thompson Valley.

I have been sampling Monte Creek Ranch’s wines for a few years, and their wines, with their distinct climate and terroir from the Okanagan, produces wines that taste different from Okanagan wines.  I recently received a bottle of their 2017 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and a bottle of their 2018 Reserve Riesling to taste.

2017 was the year of forest fires in BC.  Smoke, although it reached the Okanagan, I think was more intense in the Thompson Valley.  Smoke is always a worry for winemakers as the smoke can stick to the skins of the grapes and penetrate into the grapes.  During veraison is the worst time for potential smoke taint.  Smoke, on the other hand, filters sunlight so that the grapevines do not get overly hot and shut down during the growing season, allowing the grapes to mature more fully over a longer period of time.  The winemaker at Monte Creek Ranch I am told undertook many steps to try to minimize smoke taint in their 2017 vintage and from tasting these 2 wines, I can say that they have been successful.

2018 was a cool vintage; the coolest vintage on record in BC.  This allowed for a long growing season so that the grapes can reach full phenologic maturity, giving us great fruit flavour and aromas, and balanced acidity.

Let’s dig into my tasting notes for these three wines.

My Tasting Notes

Monte Creek Ranch Chardonnay 2017 with wine in glass

Monte Creek Ranch Chardonnay 2017 with wine in glass

Monte Creek Ranch Chardonnay 2017 ($17.49 at winery) – The grapes for this wine are not from the Thompson Valley.  Hopefully, future vintages will have Chardonnay grapes from the Thompson Valley.  These grapes came from the Naramata Bench and near McIntyre Bluff in the south-central Okanagan. This wine is a deep, bright lemon colour in the glass.  Almost medium intensity nose, showing toasty oak, hot buttered popcorn, butterscotch and light tropical fruit aromas. It is dry and has a very thick, smooth, buttery mouthfeel.  Low acidity.  Mostly tropical fruit flavours, along with lesser amounts of pears, roasted apples and oak.  With decanting you get lots of butterscotch and some sweet spices on the palate as well.  The wine has a medium length, finishing feeling thick in your mouth. Light tropical fruits, butterscotch, oak and some pepperiness.

Rating 4 out of 5 stars  A very heavy, buttery, thick mouthfeel for this Chardonnay.  Toasty oak and hot buttered popcorn on the nose, with mainly tropical fruit on the palate.

Monte Creek Ranch Riesling Reserve 2018 with wine in glass

Monte Creek Ranch Riesling Reserve 2018 with wine in glass

Monte Creek Ranch Riesling Reserve 2018 ($24.99 at winery) – Light, bright lemon green colour.  Fresh aromas of oranges and other citrus with peach behind.  With decanting you also get some lime and bramble leaf aromas. The wine is dry with grippy tart acidity at the back of your tongue but feels smoother toward the front of your mouth.  Lighter bodied with medium intensity citrus and apple, with lesser amounts of stone fruit; peach in particular.  Prominent salty minerality upon first opening it, and with decanting with wine takes on more of a steely character.  Medium plus length finishing with salty minerality, citrus, orange and some bramble leaf.  The tart acidity at the moment means you need to enjoy this wine with food.  With ageing, maybe 3-5 years the acidity should soften and the fruit and mineral components should be more enjoyable.  Note that other wineries like Tantalus also have very high acid Rieslings and to really enjoy them you have to age them.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars  High acidity, mineral with citrus and orange fruits primarily and a touch of peach on the nose and palate.  If you drink this wine now, the acidity is quite high so enjoy with food.  Ageing this wine is recommended for your pleasure.

Monte Creek Ranch Pinot Noir 2017 with wine in glass

Monte Creek Ranch Pinot Noir 2017 with wine in glass

Monte Creek Ranch Pinot Noir 2017 ($20.49 at winery) –  This wine is a translucent medium plus garnet colour.  Medium intensity nose showing red fruits, raspberries, red cherries, floral and sweet spices in equal proportions.  With decanting you get more red cherries and a hint of smoke.  The wine is dry, medium bodied, with medium acidity and lighter fine tannins.  Semi-round mouthfeel.   It is quite floral and also has raspberries and other red fruits, red cherry, and plum fruit flavours.  Light vanilla and oak as well. With decanting the wine shows lots of bright red fruit flavours and less plum.  The wine has a medium plus length finishing with red fruit, plums, sweet spices and a hint of cocoa on first opening.  Light tannins on the finish.  Some pepperiness and oak.  Decanting recommended.  This wine could be aged 2-4 years.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars  A Pinot Noir with equally proportioned aromas and flavours of red fruits, floral, and sweet spices.

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

Monte Creek Ranch does offer sales of their wines through their Buy Wine web page.  If you live in the lower mainland or the Fraser Valley, the list below shows all the shops that carry Monte Creek Ranch’s wines:

  • VQA Sumas Mountain Wines
  • Whatcom Wine & Spirits
  • Hot Springs Liquor Store
  • Aldergrove Liquor Store
  • Bainbridge Liquor Store
  • Bottle Jockey – Burnaby
  • Great Bear Beer & Wine
  • Hop & Vine Liquor Store
  • VQA Kensington Wines
  • Garrison Wine & Liquor Store
  • Boulevard Casino
  • John B Beer and Wine Store
  • Roo’s Private LIquor Store
  • VQA Westwood Wines
  • Woody’s Beer and WIne Store
  • Ladner’s Landing B&W
  • River House Pub
  • Speed’s Liquor Store
  • Sunshine Hills LRS
  • VQA Mud Bay Wines
  • Beatnicks Bistro
  • Berezan Liquor & Beer Store Langley
  • Jimy Mac’s Wine and Beer Store
  • Langley Liquor Store
  • Murrayville BW Store
  • Sharks Beer and Wine Store-langley
  • Town Centre Liquor Store
  • VQA Wine Emporium
  • Willoughby Liquor Store
  • Black Sheep Liquor Store
  • Firefly Fine Wines & Ales Ltd
  • Fox’s Reach Liquor Store
  • Haney Hotel Liquor Store
  • Maple Ridge Liquor Store
  • Office Liquor Store
  • Outpost Liquor Store
  • Witch of Endor Beer & Wine Store
  • City Hall Liquor Store
  • Mission Springs Beer & Wine
  • Sisto River LRS
  • Luckys Liquor Store
  • 8th Street LRS
  • Pacific Liquor Store – New Westminster
  • Spirits of Mt. Seymour
  • VQA Edgemont Village Wine
  • Firehall Bistro
  • Pitt Meadows Beer & Wine Store
  • Arms Liquor Store
  • Gillnetter Pub Liquor Store
  • Select Liquor Store
  • Port Moody Liquor Store
  • Bridgeport Liquor Store
  • Fogg N Sudds YVR
  • Malones Liquor Store
  • Pioneer Beer & Wine Store
  • River Rock Casino Resort
  • Tugboat Annie’s Pub
  • VQA Sip Wines
  • West Coast Liquor Co YVR
  • Brewsters Liquor Store
  • Central City Brewing Company
  • Citrus Pub & Grill
  • Clayton Liquor Store
  • Cloverdale Station Liquor Store
  • Guildford Station Beer and Wine
  • Pacific Liquor Store – Fleetwood
  • Robin Hood Liquor Store
  • Samz Liquor Store
  • Tudor LRS
  • VQA Price Smart Foods Int
  • VQA Save On Foods South Point
  • VQA Swirl White Rock
  • Waterstone Lounge LRS (Berezan)
  • Liquor Quicker
  • Caffe Barney
  • Eldorado B & W
  • Granville Island Hotel (Dockside Rest)
  • Hastings Liquor Store
  • Jimmys Cold Beer & Wine Store
  • Kitsalano Liquor Store
  • Legacy Liquor Store
  • Lennox Liquor Store
  • Liberty Wine Merchants
  • Pacific Spirits Wine Cellar
  • Sheraton Vancouver Fine Spirits
  • Speakeasy on Broadway
  • St Regis Fine Wine & Spirits
  • Value On Liquor Store
  • Viti Wine & Lagers
  • VQA Swirl Yaletown
  • VQA Village Wines – Kitsilano
  • VQA Village Wines Dunbar
  • West End Liquor Store
  • Westin Grand Hotel
  • Winking Judge Pub
  • 16th Street Liquor Store
  • Whiterock Liquor Store

Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings and restaurant reviews. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.

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