Top Drop Vancouver 2022 was on May 10 and 11. Part of the event was a large tasting room, with 40 wineries presenting a selection of their wines. There was also to my great happiness, cider as well, which I will get to later in this article. Top Drop Canada puts on this event yearly (except during the COVID shutdown), sourcing the best wineries from around the world and bringing them to Vancouver and other cities across Canada. There were wineries from BC and Nova Scotia that showed that they can produce top-tier wines to compare against wineries from around the world.
All of the wines were excellent that I tasted, but this would be a very long article if I listed them all, so I have picked a few of the wines that I really enjoyed and hope you have a chance to try them, whether they are from BC or abroad. I had a limited amount of time, so I only was able to taste white wines. There were many red wines that I eyed and wished I had time to taste.
Hopefully, some of the wineries from Top Drop are staying around next week for the Vancouver International Wine Festival. Here are my picks from Top Drop.
My Top Drop Wine Picks
Aldegheri Custoza 2021, Italy – from the Lake Garda region of Italy, this wine is a blend of 7 white grapes. It has a light lemon colour. Medium intensity stone fruit aromas. Dry, soft, and round with a light body and acidity. Fresh stone fruit flavours. Medium length.
Bella Wines Reserve Brut Nature 2016, BC – made with Chardonnay grapes from the Oliver area. 66 months on lees with only 600 bottles being made. Made with the Methode Traditionnelle. It has a light small bubble. A light stony apple nose. Dry, with higher acidity and medium body. Crisp apple and citrus flavours. Medium-plus length.
Ashes & Diamonds Blanc, No3, 2017, Napa Valley – from a warmer vintage. Very rare to see a white wine from Napa Valley from this blend of 50% Semillon and 50% Sauvignon Blanc. A winery could make more money by planting Cabernet Sauvignon, but I am happy to see that this winery goes where its heart leads it. This wine is barrel fermented with 30% new French oak. No battonage as the winemaker indicated that the texture from the lees would overpower the texture from the Semillon. This wine has a deeper lemon colour. Medium-minus intensity aromas with vanilla and butterscotch. Soft, dry and lean with a light mouthfeel. Light citrus and crisp apple, along with a touch of butterscotch and toast. Citrus on the finish.
Bella Wines Ancestral Method Gamay Clone 787, 2021, BC – This wine is made with the Gamay Noir clone 787 which I was told is a rare clone for BC. The wine did not have a label on it yet as it is not yet released. We were privileged to try this wine before its release. It is made from the Ancestral Method, meaning one fermentation in the bottle. A pale orangy pink colour. Light red apple aroma. Off-dry, medium bubble, not too effusive. A touch of tannins. Tart red fruits with apple skin bitterness toward the finish. Exciting flavours. <sorry no picture for this wine.>
Benjamin Bridge Brut Rosé 2016, Nova Scotia – this sparkling wine was made in the Methode Traditionnelle using 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay grapes. The base wine underwent 100% malolactic fermentation. It has a pale peach colour and has a light red fruit and apple nose. Dry, high acidity with a medium-plus body. Light toast and apple flavours. A tart, puckering finish.
Bisol 1542 Cartizze Valdobbiadene, Superiore di Cartizze DOCG, 2021, Italy – Bisol is a quality producer of Prosecco wines. If you have not tried their wines, you should. Cartizze is the top tier of Prosecco wines with the grapes coming from a very small region at the top of a steep hill. There are only 107 hectares of grapes grown here. This wine has a medium lemon colour. Floral, apple, and stonefruit aromas. Off-dry with a medium-plus body. Medium-sized biting bubble. Tasty stone fruit flavours then marzipan on the finish. –
Château Dereszla Tokaji Hárslevelü 2019, Hungary – A native grape from Hungary, not as well known to us as the Furmint grape. Pale lemon colour. A light toast and stone fruit nose. Dry, roundish, medium-plus body and acidity. Toast, bramble stem, mint, and apricot flavours. Light tannins on the finish. A subtle wine.
Chateau de Pommard Meursault 2017, France – Meursault is an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) in the Côte de Beaune subregion of the Burgundy making primarily Chardonnay wines. This wine has pleasant medium-minus intensity aromas of ripe pears, apples, and vanilla. It is smooth and round with a medium-plus body, but not mouth-filling. Apples and sweet spices with some oak on the finish.
Chateau de Pommard Ladoix, Les Grechons, Premier Cru 2018, France – This Premier Cru vineyard is adjacent to the more well-known Corton appellation. It has light sweet apple and stone fruit aromas. Light body, soft and dry. Apples, butterscotch and vanilla flavours, with a touch of nutmeg and some pepperiness on the finish. Elegant. –
Elk Cove Vineyards Estate Riesling 2020, Oregon – Petrol and black liquorice aromas. Quite unique. Dry, medium-minus body, with a lean mouthfeel. Petrol and apples to start then bring in apricot flavours. Tart to start and then smoothes out to the finish. –
Elk Cove Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris 2021, Oregon – Nice ripe stone fruit nose. Medium-plus body, smooth with a thicker mouthfeel. Stone fruits then add some peach skin. Medium acidity. Good quality.
Okanagan Crush Pad free form Blanc de Noir 2017, BC – zero dosage for this sparkling wine made from organically grown Pinot Noir grapes. This wine is also vegan-friendly. Medium-plus lemon colour. Quite aromatic; crab apple, bruised apple, and apricot aromas. Medium-plus body, with small creamy bubbles. Round but offset with the higher acidity and bubbles. Crisp apples, and apple skin, plus other tart fruit flavours. Quality! –
Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Fitz Brut 2015, BC – this is their signature Cuvée, made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. It is aged on lees for 66 months. It has a light lemon colour with a green tinge. A ripe stone fruit nose. Very small creamy and biting bubble. Tart stone fruit flavours and a crisp apple finish.
Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Fitz Blanc de Blancs 2015, BC – A medium lemon colour. Nice aromas of crisp and bruised apples. Dry with higher acidity and small biting bubbles. Crab apple flavour then add bruised apple and citrus.
Orofino Vineyards Riesling Clone 239 2020, BC – Light aromatics showing apricots and other stone fruit aromas. Medium body, soft and lean with medium acidity. Light stone fruits and dried apricots on the palate.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a few cideries included in Top Drop. The day before I attended Top Drop, I opened a can of Creek & Gully Cider from the Naramata Bench. It was their Flora cider which is a mix of different apples. Flora can contain up to 18 different varietals. It was dry and very traditional in flavour profile. I enjoyed it, and when I attended Top Drop, they had a large table set up with a wide range of ciders. They produce both apple and pear ciders. They also had a collaboration with Cannery Brewing Company where they made an Apple Cider Saison blend and a collaboration with Lightning Rock Winery where they received Syrah grape skins from the winery and fermented it with their Golden Delicious and Jonagold apples. If you have not tried serious ciders, you should as they are very refreshing and a great break from beer and wine.
Creek & Gulley Cider Century 2021, BC – a blend of four apple varieties from their oldest farm block. These trees range in age from 80 107 years old. Equal parts Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Macintosh, as well as their Family Mystery Apple. A cloudy pear skin colour. Apple and apple skin aromas. Dry, high acidity with a traditional style flavour. Some apple tannins on the finish.
Creek & Gulley Cider Aurora 2021, BC – this is the collaboration with Lightning Rock Winery. The wine has a pretty rhubarb red colour. Cherry, strawberry, and apple aromas. Medium body with a lean mouthfeel and nice small creamy bubbles. Red fruits, cherries and floral flavours. Complex! –
Creek & Gulley Cider Cider Saison 2021, BC – Saison wart was made by The Cannery Brewing, then C&G added Spartan apple juice, and open-top fermented it all on Red Delicious mash. It looks like cloudy apple juice in the glass. Has a blend of both apple and Saison aromas. Dry, medium-plus body with spicy flavours and light to medium hoppiness.
Thank you to the organizers of Top Drop for putting on this excellent event at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre in Yaletown.