The summer is upon us, so it was time to head out to the Fraser Valley in the Vancouver lower mainland, and visit some of the wineries. I have visited Lulu Island and Pacific Breeze wineries in the past. Today my goal was to visit Township 7, Neck of the Woods, and Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery.
Well first off, where is the Fraser Valley? I assume some of you reading this have not been to the Vancouver area, so a brief geography lesson. The City of Vancouver is along the BC west coast, just north of the Canada / USA border. As you go east from Vancouver, you cross over the Fraser River, typically at the Port Mann bridge, at this point you are in Surrey and the start of the Fraser Valley. The Fraser Valley extends all the way east to Abbotsford and Chilliwack, and south to the border. It is quite a large area.The land is relatively flat and very fertile from the thousands of years that the Fraser River has brought sediments down from the mountains and deposited them in the Fraser Valley. It is a wonderful area for growing produce, and more recently, grapes for wine. This is a Google Map showing Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the wineries in the area.
View Larger Winery Map
The first winery I visited on this trip was the Township 7 Vineyards & Winery. It was near noon, and a wedding had finished earlier that morning. People were slowly clearing out. It looked very festive and not a bad idea for a wedding location. In the tasting room I went through most of their wines. Two of the white wines I really liked was their Viognier 2008 and their Chardonnay 2008. The Township 7 Viognier 2008 was medium lemon in colour. Honey, lime and tropical fruit on the nose. Medium acidity with citrus, mango and papaya flavours. If you have not tried a Viognier before, this one will get you hooked. Their Chardonnay 2008 is 100% barrel fermented and aged in French and American oak, giving it more body and some creaminess. Vanilla and apple aromas. With flavours of citrus oak and apples. Nice round mouthfeel with a slight bit of spiciness and a coconut finish.
It was now well into lunchtime so the next stop was the Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery and Bacchus Bistro. There was a wedding reception there. (I wonder if it was related to the one at Township 7?) The Bacchus Bistro has wonderful food. As it was noon, I chose a smaller meal, so that I would be awake for tasting wine later that afternoon. I enjoyed their Quiche of the Day, Tomato and brie, served with mesclun salad. On to their wines. For the white wines, I thought their Domaine de Chaberton Unoaked Chardonnay 2008 was quite nice. Pale lemon in colour, with lots of tropical fruit and pear aromas on the nose. Medium body with apple, peach and pineapple flavours. Medium acidity to make the wine refreshing. On the red side, their upper tier Canoe Cove range of wines should be tried. I throught the Canoe Cove Merlot 2004 was very nice. It is produced from Black Sage Bench grapes in the Okanagan. Medium garnet in colour. Vanilla, red cherries and plums. A very nice nose. Medium in body with cherry, vanilla and spice. Medium tannins to give the wine some structure. Enjoy with your summer barbeque.
The last winery for this short trip was the Neck of the Woods Winery. It just opened in October 2009 yet has a portfolio of 8 wine, which includes a sparkling Blanc de Noir! I was told that a few more wines will be added soon. The Blanc de Noir, is a Pinot Noir based sparkling wine made from wines from their 2007 and 2008 harvests. Light lemon in colour with yeasty aroma. Fine bubble with light lemony flavour. The two wines that I enjoyed the most was their Merlot 2006 and their Cabernet Merlot 2007. The Neck of the Woods Merlot 2006 was medium garnet in colour. Some vanilla, red cherries and cloves on th enose. Medium in body, but firm tannins. Full cherry flavour with a bit of spice. Their Cabernet Merlot 2007 was a deeper garnet colour with aromas of vanilla cedar and/or capsicum, and cherries. Round mouthfeel with cherry and vanilla flavour.
In Part 2, I will visit and provide my notes on Lotusland, Mt Lehman, and River’s Bend Wineries.