Harper’s Trail Estate Winery in Kamloops has been a leader is showing the uniqueness of the area for grape growing and wine production, and has lead the way for a few other wineries like Privato and Monte Creek Ranch. The Colletts’ 25.5-acre vineyard has a wonderful backdrop of limestone and clay cliffs. I’ve enjoyed tasting their wines for several years and had the opportunity to visit the winery and walk in the vineyard a few times. Walking in a vineyard, seeing the vines, the soil, and experiencing the terroir really makes you understand what you are experiencing in the glass.
The Collett’s have been experimenting with various grapes, to see which grow the best and make quality wines in their vineyard. Their latest changes in 2018 was to remove their lower block of Gewurztraminer and replace it with Cabernet Franc, as well as adding some additional Cabernet Franc to an unplanted area.
Michael Bartier has been their consulting winemaker since their first vintage. He was born and raised in the Okanagan and worked in many wineries, and has his own winery, Bartier Brothers. Michael’s wines at Harper’s Trail have always shown off vibrant fruit flavours and would be great pairing to many dishes, especially seafood out here on the coast. I was fortunate enough to receive a box of their 2018 Spring release wines and have diligently made notes for you. I hope you find a few wines that you like and will give them a try, and maybe even drive out to Kamloops for a weekend during the summer. Enjoy.
My Review of Harper’s Trail 2018 Spring Wine Release
Harper’s Trail Field Blend White 2018 ($13.99) – This is a blend of 43.1% Pinot Gris, 29.2% Chardonnay, 24.2% Riesling, and 3.4% Gewürztraminer. In a brown coloured Riesling style bottle. Medium lemon colour. Bright in the glass. Medium plus intensity, ripe juicy tropical fruit flavour along with some grapefruit, white floral and pears. Very aromatic. With decanting you get deeper fruit aromas and some butterscotch. The wine is dry with higher acidity and a bigger body. Some roundness but there is a tiny acidic bite to this wine. You get rich, ripe tropical fruit from start to finish, with lesser amounts of pears, peaches and yellow apple. With decanting the wine is not as acidic, so tastes slightly off-dry. The wine also feels rounder in your mouth. The wine has a medium plus length finishing slightly off-dry, with bramble leaf, citrus pith and citrus, then at the very end lingering pepperiness. With decanting you get a softer finish, with no pith or bramble. A tasty wine.
Rating: – Ripe juicy tropical fruit on the nose and palate. It has a nice round texture complemented with some acidic prickle. If you give it some decanting time the acidity will soften a bit.
Harper’s Trail Pinot Gris 2018 ($16.99) – This wine is in a clear Riesling shaped bottle which I typically only see in Alsatian white wines. This wine is a bright straw colour in the glass. Light intensity nose of stone fruit and a touch of citrus and lime. With decanting, the wine becomes more aromatic with stronger stone fruit aromas and less lime. The wine is slightly off-dry, with a thicker mouthfeel. There is an acidic backbone as a prickle to the wine that goes from the start to the finish of your sip. Mixed stone fruits on the palate mainly, with a lesser amount of tropical fruit, a hint of floral, and some stony minerality. With decanting there is more stone fruit flavour and the wine feels drier. It has a medium plus length finishing with tart citrus, peach and citrus rind. With decanting the wine also has some pepperiness on the finish. Should pair nicely with many seafood dishes.
Rating: Very bright vibrant stone fruit flavours with a tart acidic prickle through the sip, finishing with peach, citrus and citrus rind.
Harper’s Trail Pioneer Block Riesling 2018 ($18.29) – This wine is a bright medium intensity lemon colour. Medium intensity nose showing mostly lemon and lime, and lesser amounts of peach and white flowers. With decanting the nose gets a little lighter in intensity. The wine upon opening is off-dry to medium dry with a light, textured mouthfeel. It has a light acidic prickle on the tongue but is quite tart overall. You get stone fruit flavours first, followed by citrus, rind, apple and bramble leaf. With decanting the wine feels drier and you also get some tropical fruit flavours. It has a medium plus length finishing with tart and sweet stone fruit and citrus flavours, plus some grapefruit pith. A wine that will age well over the next 3-5 years.
Rating: Vibrant acidity buoys the mix of stone fruit and citrus flavours. Enjoy in youth with a salad or sushi, but let it age 3-5 years to reduce the acidity and gain flavour complexity.
Harper’s Trail Silver Mane Block Riesling 2018 ($18.29) – Lighter, bright lemon colour in the glass. The wine has a lighter intensity nose that starts off with white flowers (that burns off quickly) together with a touch of bramble, peach and citrus orange. With air, the bramble component gets stronger. This wine is off-dry with a thicker mouthfeel. Drier tasting than the Pioneer Block but does have more residual sugar (Silver Mane: 19.87 g/l vs Pioneer Block 16.73 g/l). Lighter acidic prickle. The wine is mostly crisp green apple flavoured, with lesser amounts of citrus, peach, lime, honey and bramble. Toward the finish, it is quite steely. With decanting the wine becomes tarter and the mouthfeel lighter. It is also fairly peppery with decanting. The wine finishes with tart citrus, peach and citrus pith.
Rating: – Upon opening you get more subtle peach and citrus on the nose; apple on the palate with touches of lime, bramble, citrus and peach. Decanting really brings out the bramble on the nose, the wine becomes tarter, peppery, and the mouthfeel lighter. Both interesting ways to enjoy this wine.
Harper’s Trail Rosé 2018 ($16.99) – This Rosé is a blend of 93% Pinot Gris and 7% Cabernet Franc. A new rose blend for me. It is not that common to mix a white and red wine to make a Rosé wine, but it comes with the benefit that you can blend the aromas and flavours of two different grapes. It has a light bright orange colour. Bright aromas and flavours. Rhubarb and red fruits with a touch of lime and bramble leaf on the nose. It is dry, medium bodied with some roundness and acidic prickle. Mostly red fruits, strawberries in particular, on the palate with a touch of floral and bramble leaf. I also picked up some tropical fruit on the mid-palate. Acidity and pepperiness build toward the finish. With decanting the wine adds a smoky component and red cherry flavours, and becomes more peppery. It finishes with bramble leaf and strawberry flavours. Maybe try with a piece of smoked cheese or charcuterie.
Rating: A lighter rose, with rhubarb, red fruits and bramble leaf on the nose. Mainly strawberries, and other red fruits, along with some bramble leaf. Acidity and pepperiness builds toward the finish.
Harper’s Trail Chardonnay Sparkling 2016 (Traditional method sparkling) ($26) – Bright medium plus lemon in colour. Medium sized bubbles cling to the sides of the glass. The wine has medium plus intensity with bready, toasty, citrus and roasted apple aromas. It is dry with a fine, creamy bubble on the palate and some acidic prickle. Crisp apple flavour with some toastiness. Tart acidity. Some pepperiness toward the finish. It finishes crisp with roasted apple flavour. Very good quality.
Rating: A quality sparkling wine. Nice bready and roasted apple nose. Creamy fine bubble. Toast and crisp apple flavour, with tart acidity and some pepperiness toward the finish.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
You can, of course, purchase these wines in person at the winery, but you can also order their wines online from the winery. The winery also has an extensive list of private liquor stores from BC, Alberta, and Manitoba where you can buy their wines.