Today I’m tasting two white grape varieties from Alsace and from the Rhone Valley, but grown in BC! Church & State Wines grows both Pinot Gris (Alsace) and Marsanne (Rhone) grapes. And have done them very well. Church & State Wines originated on Vancouver Island near Victoria, and later added a second winery in Oliver in the south Okanagan. The Island winery let’s them grow cool climate grape varieties to make still and sparkling wines, while their Okanagan winery being in a warmer area grows mostly red varieties and some white varieties. The Pinot Gris and Marsanne grapes for these wines come from the south Okanagan. All their wines are VQA.
My Tasting Notes
Church & State Wines Pinot Gris 2017 (BC $22.99) – This wine has a medium intensity bright yellow pear skin / straw colour. It has a medium plus intensity nose with mainly pineapple and peach aromas, followed by grapefruit, and touches of floral and honey. With decanting the aromas are reduced a bit, but you can now add pears. It is very slightly off dry, has a thicker round mouthfeel, but also a higher acidity to give the wine a light prickle on the palate and keep it interesting. You start off getting pear and crisp red apple flavour, followed by citrus and peach, and then bramble leaf and some pepperiness. With decanting most flavours stay, but the pear flavour increases and bramble leaf decreases. It has a medium plus length finishing with tart citrus, apples, and pepperiness and some butteriness and tropical fruit at the very end. A solid wine.
Church & State Marsanne 2017 (BC $34.49) – a deeper, bright golden colour in the glass. This wine has an explosion of aromas; tropical fruit, in particular pineapple, vanilla, oak, some butteriness and pears. With decanting you still get those big aromas and you can add butterscotch and some incense. It is a big wine round with a thicker mouthfeel. Buttery and silky smooth. Lots of pineapple vanilla and oak, but then you also pick up pears and peaches. These flavours go all the way to the end. Wow. I’m thinking of pairing this wine with lobster with drawn butter! With decanting the flavours still hold, but you get a slightly lighter body and no peach flavour; add butterscotch. Whether you drink the wine upon first opening or have some the next day you are getting an excellent wine to enjoy.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
The following larger chains and some gov liquor stores carry Church & State Wines:
- Save on foods/Wines of BC (only those who have wine)
- Loblaws/Real Canadian Superstores (only those who have wine)
- Liquor for Less
- Liquor Depot/Liquor Barns
- Everything Wine
- Liquor Plus
There may be other private wine shops carrying these wines but you have to ask.