Every Fall we have the Colours Fall Release of BC VQA wines. Over the last year, what changes has there been to our vineyards, grape varieties, and the number of wineries? Comparing the tasting booklet from both years by the BC Wine Institute we know:
- there are 10 more wineries,
- and 299 more acres of vineyards.
- that Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon are still the top 3 red grape varieties.
- that Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer are still the top 3 white grape varieties. I’m surprised about Gewurztraminer being more produced than Riesling in BC.
- that BC wineries contribute $2.8 billion annually to BC’s economy.
- besides our 9 Geographical Indicators (e.g. Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley) we now have 4 sub Geographical Indicators (SUB-GIs). They are Naramata Bench, Skaha Bench, Okanagan Falls, and Golden Mile Bench. My next article will be about SUB-GIs in BC.
This does not cover any sales of wineries or the big loss in our wine community with the passing of Harry McWatters. I began my tasting with white wines then switched over to Pinot Noir and finally to other red wines. I noticed that many wines, red or white, this season seemed to have a bit more sweetness to them. I wrote “off-dry” many times. I am not sure if this is a style direction for some BC wines, or if it is an artifact of the hot growing seasons we had in the previous years. It will be interesting for me to taste the cooler 2018 vintage wines when they are released and see how dry these wines are fermented. Below are my favourite wines from the tasting. I tasted 45 wines, but I estimate that there were more than 350 wines at the tasting so I only tried 13% of the new releases. If you don’t see your favourite winery or wine listed, it may be because I did not have a chance to try their wines. I hope you find a few wines of interest and will stock up for the upcoming holiday season. Enjoy!
My Favourite Wines
White and Sparkling Wines
Indigenous World Winery Chardonnay 2017 – Light toasty, vanilla, and apple aromas. The wine is dry and soft with a medium-plus body. Crab apple and other apple flavours mixed together with vanilla and some sweet spices. An elegant wine.
Intersection Estate Winery Riesling 2016 – Nice petrol and stone fruit nose. The wine is medium body, semi-sweet with medium acidity. Petrol and apples primarily on the palate with a lesser amount of stonefruits. Dry finish. –
Lake Breeze Vineyards Pinot Gris 2018 – Stone fruit mixed with citrus and grapefruit rind aromas. The wine is dryish, fuller-bodied, round with medium acidity. Grapefruit and rind with honey toward the finish. Very tasty. –
Lariana Cellars Viognier 2018 – Nice deep ripe stone fruit nose. Fuller bodied, off-dry, medium acidity, with quite fruity flavours. Primarily stone fruits flavours along with some toastiness. Quality.
Meyer Family Vineyards McLean Creek Road Chardonnay 2017 – Light toasty nose along with apple aromas. Butterscotch and tropical fruit flavours, along with toast and oak. The wine has a medium body, is smooth, lower acidity and buttery mouthfeel. Yum. –
Meyer Family Vineyards Tribute Series – Joannie Rochette Chardonnay 2017 – Every year the Meyer Family issues a new Tribute Series wine to some deserving Canadian. For 2017 it is Joannie Rochette, a Canadian figure skater who won a bronze medal at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, two days before her mother passed away. I think this wine is a fitting tribute to Joannie. This wine has a light toasty nose. It is dry, round, and soft with medium-plus body that is still very mouth-filling. The wine has toast and dense tropical fruit flavours, along with sweet spices. Peppery finish.
Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2018 – Nice stonefruit nose. The wine is off-dry, medium body with ripe stone fruit flavours. BC fresh fruit in the glass. –
Bonamici Cellars Pinot Grigio 2018 – Ripe fresh stone fruit nose. Off-dry, semi-sweet with a medium body. Honey and stonefruit flavours. –
Ex Nihilo Vineyards Riesling 2016 – Petrol, honey and ripe stone fruit aromas. I really enjoyed the aromas of this wine. It has a medium-plus body with a thicker round mouthfeel. Medium acidity. The has petrol, orange and stonefruit flavours complemented by an acidic edge. Quality. –
Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Fitz Brut 2015 – This sparkling wine has a light toasty apple nose. It is dry, with high acidity and small biting bubbles. Crisp apple and toasty flavours. Not meant for sipping on its own at the moment. Enjoy with seafood or a cheese platter. –
Fort Berens Estate Winery Chardonnay 2018 – This wine has a toasty, tropical fruit nose. It is dry and round with medium-plus body. Toast and tropical fruit flavours. Quality. –
50th Parallel Estate Pinot Noir 2016 – this wine is made from 6 different Dijon clones they grow in their vineyard. The wine is a lighter translucent garnet in colour. It has a funky earthy nose but leads to nice red fruit and raspberry aromas. The wine is a medium minus in body, dry with a smooth mouthfeel. Medium acidity and light tannins. –
50th Parallel Estate Unparalleled Pinot Noir 2016 – this wine uses only 4 of the Dijon clones for this wine and is exclusively sold at the winery. The wine is a medium dull translucent garnet in colour. It has a light funky and red fruit nose. Medium body, fruity with flavours of red fruits, candied cherries, and gets peppery toward the finish. You also get tart red fruit and bramble fruit o the finish. Medium acidity and tannins. –
Arrowleaf Cellars Pinot Noir 2017 – Pale garnet translucent colour. Light red cherry nose. Medium-plus body, off-dry with medium acidity and soft tannins. Floral and red fruit flavours. –
Arrowleaf Cellars Archive Pinot Noir 2016 – Medium intensity translucent garnet. Light tea leaves, bramble and red fruit aromas. The wine is dryish with medium-plus body. Medium acidity and light tannins. Tea leaves, red cherries and red berry fruit flavours. Some sweet bramble fruit on the finish. –
C.C. Jentsch Cellars Cabernet Merlot 2016 – This is the LAST vintage of this wine. Buy it while it is still available. This wine has a medium-plus garnet colour. It has a light tarry and dark fruit nose. It is medium-plus bodied and off-dry. Capsicum, ripe black fruit and some pepperiness on the palate. The wine has more acidity than tannins providing structure to this wine. –
C.C. Jentsch Cellars Syrah 2016 – Medium-plus intensity ruby colour. It has a nice raspberry and toasty nose. It is dry and soft with a medium minus body. Silky mouthfeel. Raspberries and light touches of vanilla and pepperiness. Off-dry finish. –
Lake Breeze Vineyards Meritage 2017 – This wine is a blend of Merlot (45%), Cabernet Sauvignon (25%), Cabernet Franc (20%), and Malbec (10%). It has a nice juicy black fruit nose. The wine is full-bodied and has a round, off-dry mouthfeel. It is very fruit showing black fruits primarily. You also get some minerality and pepperiness to the wine. It has medium acidity and fine tannins; the tannins firming up on the finish.
Lake Breeze Vineyards Merlot 2017 – The wine is medium intensity translucent garnet. It has a smoky, coffee, green pepper and dark fruit nose. It is off-dry medium-plus bodied with medium acidity and medium tannins. Coffee, dark fruit and peppery flavours. –
Robin Ridge Winery Merlot 2014 – This wine has a deep garnet colour. It has ripe delicious apples and juicy red fruit aromas. Apple, bruised apple, and red fruit flavours. The wine is slightly off-dry with medium acidity that provides the backbone to this wine. Some pepperiness toward the finish. –
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
You can, of course, purchase these wines through each winery’s website. There are also local wine shops, such as Swirl, Everything Wine, and Save-On-Foods, which I hear has a large selection of BC wines.