Who is Calliope Wines?
The Wyse Family, founders of Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, has a second label called Calliope, which pays homage to a tiny hummingbird found in southern British Columbia. The grapes for Calliope wines are sourced from local vineyards in the South Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. Their goal is to create expressive, fresh wines from each grape variety or blend. They use only a light touch of oak and their wines are under screw caps to retain their freshness.
I’ve tried their wines at various trade events since 2012, and they end up on my recommended wine list. Not listed below, is their Riesling and their Viognier, which I have reviewed and recommended in the past.
My Wine Reviews
Calliope Figure 8 Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer 2014 – A more pronounced youthful nose with aromas of lemon, baby powder, peaches and a hint of herbaceousness (which increases with decanting). Off dry, medium bodied, very round and smooth. Tropical fruit, pears, and peaches up front with green apples, green fruit, some spice, minerality, and soapiness on the finish. With decanting, the lychee flavour becomes more evident and the soapiness becomes mineral. Mouth watering acidity, together with some bitter rind and pineapple flavour on the finish. Add some pepperiness on the finish with decanting.
Rating: With decanting I rate this wine 4/5. Without decanting, the soapiness is more prominent and I would give it 3.5/5. Overall a nice fruity wine, quite round and smooth.
Calliope Gewürztraminer 2014 – Light straw colour. Sweet nose with Juicy Fruit gum, spearmint, lychee and apple aromas. With decanting you will get a lime edge to the nose. Dry medium bodied, but feels quite round and soft on the palate. There is also a light peppery feel on your tongue toward the finish. More Juicy Fruit gum flavour, together with pears and lychee, and a hint of green fruit. With decanting, there is also some lime flavour. The wine finishes with some minerality and higher acidity.
Rating: Lots of Juicy Fruit gum aroma and flavour, followed by some spice on the tongue.
Calliope Sauvignon Blanc 2014 – This wine has a really nice nose, with aromas of guava, green fruit, melon and grapefruit rind. With decanting you can add some stone fruit to the list. Dry, round, with a soft mouth feel. Medium bodied. Stone fruit, green fruit, citrus, in particular grape fruit rind, and some wet stones on the palate. Also a bit of pepper. Lime/citrus rind, pepper and stone fruit flavour on the finish together with mouth-watering acidity.
Rating: Nice fruit on the nose and palate together with soft roundness to balance the acidity.
Calliope Figure 8 Cabernet Merlot 2013 – The blend for this wine is Merlot and Cabernet Franc, together with lesser amounts of Malbec and Syrah. Medium ruby in colour. Youthful, medium intensity aromas of cassis, baby powder, vanilla and blueberries. Also some hints of cedar and violets. With decanting the aromas were a bit lighter and oak was a bit more pronounced. Dry, round and quite smooth. Medium tannins. Flavours of cassis, raspberries, plums, black fruit, and vanilla (toward the finish). I also picked up some minerality on the palate. Thinner and more acidic in the mouth with decanting. Medium length with some bitterness, spice, dark chocolate and vanilla on the finish. With decanting you can add some sour red cherries to the finish.
Rating: An uncomplicated, easy sipper. This wine tastes better without decanting. Recommend to enjoy with a slice of cheddar cheese, a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich (why not?), or a slab of sweet bbq pork ribs.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
Calliope Wines are widely available across BC and Alberta. Calliope Wines provides a Store Location Finder at this link. Some local Vancouver stores includes Firefly Fine Wines on Cambie, Kitsilano Wine Cellar, and Everything Wine. Enjoy!