Taking a last-minute trip to Kamloops before summer holidays was a great idea. Over two days you can very pleasantly visit the four wineries that are in the area, plus do some sightseeing and enjoy a few meals at the variety of restaurants in the city. My first stop was to Monte Creek Ranch Winery which is located about a 10-15 minute drive east of Kamloops. They have a beautiful location with the winery and tasting room on the south side of the river. They have vineyards beside the winery and north of the river. From their tasting room, you have a beautiful view of their north shore and river.
Monte Creek Ranch Winery grows the most hybrid grapes in BC to the best of my knowledge, and are doing a very good job. Marquette and Frontenac Gris are two hybrid grapes that they grow. These grape varieties were developed at the University of Minnesota to be able to handle cold winter conditions. Kamloops still has harsh winters for grapes so you cannot yet successfully grow all vitis vinifera here every year. Monte Creek Ranch does grow some vitis vinifera that are more tolerant of the climate, but they also purchase grapes from the Okanagan Valley.
My Tasting Notes
Sparkling Reserve Rosé 2018 ($21.99) – this wine is made with the Marquette hybrid grape and uses the Charmat method to make the bubbles (same method that is used for Prosecco). The wine is a pale rose petal colour and has a nice mixed strawberry / cranberry nose. It is off-dry but very tart. Medium body with medium-sized biting bubble. Rhubarb, strawberry and cranberry fruit flavours. I also picked up some minerality in the wine. A fun sip.
Frontenac Gris 2018 ($17.49) – is another hybrid grape that does well in Kamloops. The wine has a medium golden colour. Ripe pineapple and toasty nose with more on the palate. Lighter acidity with a smooth mouthfeel. Along with the pineapple you also gets toasted apple flavours and there is some smokiness. –
Riesling Reserve 2018 ($24.99) – This vintage is the first to have the Thompson Valley VQA label on it. Their other wines will follow to have this designation. This wine has a medium intensity bright lemon colour. Light petrol, apple and stone fruit aromas. Medium body with higher acidity, but still smooth. Medium intensity flavours of petrol and crisp apples. The wine gets tarter toward the finish, finishing with Granny Smith apple flavour. There is also some minerality to this wine. With the higher acidity, this wine will age well.
Pinot Noir Reserve 2017 ($34.99) – pale, dull garnet in the glass. Medium intensity aromas of red cherries and red fruits. Smooth and round with medium-plus body and lighter acidity. A mix of red fruits, red cherries and sweet spices. Nutmeg obvious from mid-palate to finish. Peppery finish. Overall very light, fresh flavours. –
Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2016 ($31.99) – This wine is 90% opaque garnet in colour. Capsicum, cassis and sweet spices on the nose. Full body with medium acidity and fine tannins. Great structure. Flavours of red cherries and black fruit, capsicum and dark chocolate that gets stronger toward the finish. Not overly drying tannins. FInishes with dark fruits and cherry flavours. Very good. –
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
Monte Creek Ranch does offer sales of their wines through their Buy Wine web page. If you live in the lower mainland or the Fraser Valley, Monte Creek Ranch does have an interactive web map finder. On this web page is also information about where you can buy their wines outside of BC.