Time after time, the wines of British Columbia impress with solid varietal character, balance, and food-friendliness. With the promise of spring nearing (notice I didn’t say it’s just around the corner), it’s time to contemplate visiting wine country, taking road trips, or even ordering wine online.
This month, we wanted to share some excellent B.C. wines from wineries that have been on Alberta wine shelves and restaurant lists for a long time – classic and consistent producers with wines to seek out and taste.
Just a quick reminder: following each wine, we’ve included an approximate retail price and a CSPC code which can help you find which liquor stores may carry the product close to you (this can be done at liquorconnect.com).
Burrowing Owl 2013 Syrah
Great syrah is still pretty new to the valley. The right vineyard spots are being used, and both the grape and the winemaker seem to have figured out how to make the right style of syrah from BC. Cherry and plum fruits with savoury, smoked meat and herb and a little cocoa too. Flavours are wonderfully pronounced and very well balanced. Great stuff, drinking very well now.
$45 CSPC +1074184
Mission Hill 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Coming from the “hot” Okanagan around Osoyoos and the Black Sage Bench vineyards, this cab is blended with a little cabernet franc, merlot, and petit verdot. Cassis, tobacco, cherry, and graphite aromas lead to firm tannins buffered by solid fruit presence and nice acids. Overall, well balanced and ready to drink now, though two or three more years would let flavours integrate more.
$33 CSPC +330506
Township 7 2014 7 Blanc
A blend of gewürztraminer, pinot gris, and muscat, this off-dry blend is about hitting all the pleasure points. Almost juicy, tropical fruits with apple peel, spices, and enough acids to keep it from “feeling” sweet. Very enjoyable, much morefun to drink it than talk about it.
About $20-22 CSPC +114553
Bartier Bros. 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
Like your chardonnays oaky, but not too oaky? Look no further! I was a big fan of the richness and spiciness of this bottle – plenty of leesy character while not being just about the oak. Excellent balance of flavours; this chardonnay would work really well with slow-cooked pork shoulder.
$28-30 CSPC +771221
Clos du Soleil 2013 Capella
A full-on delicious blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon, with fine balance showcasing the bright lemon citrus and apple fruits along with a little bit of peachiness. Should be just about perfect with grilled seafood or some scallops…or halibut…
About $27 CSPC +823334
CedarCreek 2014 Pinot Gris
Who doesn’t love a nice and casual pinot gris to unwind with from time to time? Clean and bright tropical-type fruits on the nose while in the mouth, simply put, a tasty glass of gris to relax with. Food not required, but a crowd-pleaser like this could go with a lot of food.
$22 CSPC +561175
Serendipity 2014 Rosé
Sort of an “everything” rosé blend, it’s quite dark (good luck reading the label!) with intense raspberry jam and cranberry aromas, and a bit of rhubarb for good measure. Fairly dry, the fruits are quite prominent with a good herbal character. The solid acids really want to be paired with pizza, or something a little salty. Drink now.
$25 CSPC +649871
Tinhorn Creek 2014 Gewürztraminer
A classic offering from Tinhorn Creek, the nose shows all those lychee and mandarin orange aromas, with a little fresh pear and spice. A little gooey on the palate with some residual sugar, it’s easy, fresh, and tropical. Perfect for chilling out with a little chilled wine. Food-wise enjoy with Asian cuisine, fresh fish, or grilled poultry.
$19 CSPC +530675
Culmina 2013 Dilemma
I’m a big fan of the Culmina brand and what they are trying to accomplish (a wonderful grüner and some great vineyards) in a few short years. Their chardonnay is from a block of estate fruit going back about 20 years and is a big, lush, and oaky chard. Plenty of barrel aging and lees contact are apparent, along with solid fruit and spice notes. Drinking well now – another year or two will really make this sing.
$49 CSPC +842286
Poplar Grove 2012 Cabernet Franc
One of the producers making cabernet franc in the Okanagan that changed my mind about the grape – which I now love. A ripe, spicy, and clean tasting cabernet franc with lifted floral tones and slightly pungent summery fruit scents. Perfectly fine by itself, it will really shine with a nice selection of firm cheeses, but also a braised meat dish or top-shelf, slow cooked chilli.
About $45-47 CSCP +738640
Laughing Stock 2013 Blind Trust
A companion wine to Laughing Stock’s flagship – Portfolio, the Blind Trust is a blend of several Bordeaux varietals (which I won’t disclose here – but they are under the capsule). I’m really digging the 2013; plenty of plummy fruits leaning towards raisins, some preserved, jammy notes, and a little cocoa and spice. Drink or keep, roasts of any type will be excellent here.
$43 CSPC +737123
JoieFarm 2013 PTG
PTG stands for “Passe-Tout-Grains,” but what you need to know is that it is a slightly uncommon blend of pinot noir and gamay. The nose evokes dusty cherries, raspberry pie filling, cocoa powder, and plenty of earthy and spice box. Flavours are pretty consistent with plenty of fruit and mid-weight, and unobtrusive tannins. Should be perfection with prime rib, beef stir fry, or some good cheese.
About $38 CSPC +823799