For those of you who have not heard of the Harper’s Trail winery, they made news across BC as they started the first winery in the Kamloops area. Not knowing if the vines would last the winter, they tried and were successful. The weather in Kamloops for the summer and fall is sunny and warm; perfect conditions for grape growing. But which grapes to grow?
Ed and Vicki Collett, had to experiment. They currently have planted 4 white grape varieties: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay, and 3 red grape varieties: Cabernet Franc, Gamay Noir, and Pinot Noir. This year was the release of their first vintage of their Cabernet Franc, and I was lucky enough to get a bottle to sample. This wine is very limited in production, with only 138 cases. Probably the best way to get a bottle is to order through their website.
I have previously tasted their Riesling and their White field blend, and both have been very good quality wines that I recommend without hesitation. I had high expectations for the Cabernet Franc and was not disappointed.
Harper’s Trail Cabernet Franc 2012
The grapes come from their Thadd Springs Vineyard. According to their vineyard manager, John Dranchuk, 2012 had a late summer and a cool fall, but they ended with a long harvest, with sunny days and cool nights, giving them high quality grapes. They started picking their Cabernet Franc grapes on October 22, 2012.
The wine had a vibrant medium ruby colour in the glass. It had a light intensity, youthful nose with raspberries, red cherries, other red fruits, along with some cinnamon and vanilla. Dry and round on the palate and very fruity; with raspberry, red cherry, red currant, vanilla and a hint of violets flavours. I also picked up a whiff of chocolate on the mid palate. The wine finished with pepper, vanilla and red cherries flavours, and mouthwatering acidity. The tannins were quite fine, and not overpowering on the finish. I tried the wine again 1.5 days later to see what changes there may be after the wine has interacted with the air. On the nose I picked up some cedar in addition to the previously mentioned aromas. On the palate, the fruit intensity had decreased, but it had a very pronounced round silky mouthfeel. I like this wine a lot and it would be very interesting to buy a few bottles and see how this wine changes with age. Harper’s Trail say that this wine could age for 5-8 years. If you buy it to enjoy it for the Christmas holidays I’d recommend drinking it soon after opening it as the fruit is quite wonderful.