Can you match the French wine region with the following grape varieties?
Region: Bordeaux, Alsace, Rhone Valley
Variety: Pinot Gris, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
If you can’t figure it out, scroll to the bottom of this article for the answer. Assuming you guessed correctly, or checked with the answer below, All four grape varieties are grown at Perseus Winery, located in the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan, BC. We are blessed to be able to grow any grape variety (assuming they can reach maturity here), and produce a single varietal wine, or mix grapes from the same, or different, regions to produce a blend. In France this is not the case. Only certain regions are allowed to produce wines from certain grape varieties if they want to be part of the AOC.
I recently received 4 bottles of wines from Perseus Winery to try; 3 being single varietal, and one being a red blend. Perseus Winery, in case you have not heard of them before, are located in the Naramata Bench, just to the north of Penticton. This area has several very good quality wines, and is a sought after area by BC wine lovers. Perseus has their Lower Bench Vineyard at the winery site, and other vineyards in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. I have tried their wines in the past, and have always has a good experience. In the past their wine maker was Tom di Bello, who has moved about a year ago to work at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery. Tom made the Pinot Gris and the Cabernet Shiraz that I am tasting for this article. The other two wines were produced by wine maker Matt Dumayne, from Okanagan Crush Pad.
Perseus Pinot Gris 2012 ($16.90) – Medium lemon in colour. It has a youthful aroma with citrus and pear fruits, as well as some vanilla and lees. The wine is dry with medium plus body and has a round mouth feel. It does have medium plus acidity that manifests as an acidic prickle on your tongue. Lots of tropical fruit, in particular banana and pineapple, together with green melon and citrus fruit flavours. I also picked up more vanilla and lees. It has a spicy mid palate that continues to the finish. The higher acidity leaves you with a mouth-watering finish. This is a good wine, and with the screw top, means to be enjoyed now.
Rating: Tropical fruit with a nice acidic prickle makes this a lively wine to enjoy with seafood.
Perseus Viognier 2013 ($14.90)- Pale lemon in colour. It has quite a pretty nose, with mandarin orange, pear, apricot and vanilla. Medium plus body and again has that acidic prickle on the tongue. It is dry, but has some roundness to it. Continuing from the nose, I again picked up mandarin orange, pear, and apricot fruits, and added lemon, peach, and tropical fruit. This wine also had some stoniness to it. It was a bit spicy on the finish and has some bitter peach pit as well. It is another good wine that I think was meant to be enjoyed now, but might evolve a bit. You might want to try holding back a bottle for 2-3 years.
Rating: A fuller bodied white wine with mandarin orange and summer fruits on the nose and palate.
For the 2 red wines, I tried them initially upon opening the bottle, and then 6hrs later, giving the wines some time to breathe.
Perseus Cabernet Shiraz 2012 ($19.90) – Medium ruby in colour, dark yet still translucent to the core. Quite intense nose with lots of fruit; plums, red cherries and other red fruits. I also picked up a whiff of flowers. After 6hrs, the wine had a more meaty nose together with capsicum and/or cedar notes. I checked the bottle and although it is listed as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, it also has 10% Cabernet Franc. I was wondering where that cedary scent came from until I checked the bottle notes. The wine is dry, but not puckering dry. Light mouthfeel, and quite fruity again, with plums, ripe raspberries, black cherries and black currant flavours. After 6hrs of breathing, the wine picked up some meaty/sausage flavour as well as more prominent minerality. Also the mouthfeel felt richer. The wine has a medium length with a peppery finish at first taste, which diminished after 6hrs. Also on the finish I picked up a hint of tobacco. This is a fun wine to drink now.
Rating: A quite intense fruit nose, which offers up meatiness and cedar notes with decanting. Decanting also brings out more flavours on the palate for you to enjoy.
Perseus Syrah 2012 ($19.90) – This wine is a deep, solid purple colour in the glass. It is sweet-smelling with ripe fruit; raspberries, black cherries, red currants, and cassis. Vanilla, flowers (from the 5% Viognier in the wine), and sweet spice round out the aroma profile upon first sniff. After 6 hrs, I could smell the oak that went with the vanilla plus lovely milk chocolate. It is dry, full-bodied that fills your mouth with fine tannins and a silky texture. What I enjoyed is that the flavours kept going strong and did not fade toward the finish. Ripe raspberries, black cherries and black fruit, together with a hint of cinnamon, tobacco and vanilla on the palate. I also picked up some minerality in the background. The wine has medium acidity, and that acidity together with the minerality makes the fruit in the wine shine. After 6hrs of air, I did pick up on the oak more together with the milk chocolate, red fruit and red currant flavours, but the minerality was toned down. Medium plus length with red cherries, vanilla and oak on the finish. This is a very nice wine, and feels very masculine. I would be happy to drink this wine now, or to let it age for a few years for added complexity.
Rating: Decanting helps open up this masculine wine, full of fruit flavours supported by acidity and minerality.
Answers to My Quiz
Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Alsace (Pinot Gris)
Rhone Valley (Syrah, Viognier)
Did you guess correctly?