Hot off the Okanagan Crush Pad
Okanagan Crush Pad is a contract winery: it makes wine for wannabe winemakers and dabblers. But it also makes wine under its own labels—Haywire and B • S. The latter stands for Bartier and Scholefield, as in Michael and David, with various and sundry international consultants on the payroll. Bartier and Scholefield are a couple of high-profile men-about-wine in B.C.; between them, they’re responsible for many fine vintages for various labels.
Here are a few new tastes from Haywire and B • S.
Haywire The Bub 2011 ($24.90, 50 cases)
This is a terrific bubble blended from two of the principal Champagne grapes: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Nor does it stop there; it’s made in the traditional Champagne manner. A great sparkler, the only untraditional thing about it is the crown cap (read: beer-style) closure. Says Christine Coletta, one of the winery owners, “We are very bullish on the future of traditional method sparkling wine in the Okanagan”—something this writer has been saying for decades, at least since Summerhill got the ball rolling many years ago, with an audacious and successful foray into the New York City market.
Coletta continues: “Expect to see higher case production commencing 2013.”
Where does the name come from? Coletta again: “The wine was named for my daughter Alison. When you have the baby-name ‘Bub’ you should at least be compensated with some delicious sparkling wine. Our winemaking team made a small run of Pink Bub, which will be continued next year.”
The wine is very fresh and full of fruit, and the price is certainly right. For thirsty, classy, savvy sippers, to be best found at the winery in Summerland. Coletta was recently inducted into the B.C. Restaurant Hall of Fame as a Friend of the Industry. Find this sparkler while you can and reward yourself.
Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2012
($22.90, 971 cases)
It pours with a pinkish/yellow hue and originates in the Crush Pad home vineyard in Summerland. It was initially fermented in “concrete eggs”, which are becoming all the rage in forward-looking Okanagan vineyards. The wine is rich and creamy, deep and intense; you might not expect such depth of flavour from a B.C. PG. Winery consultant Pedro Parra calls it “the Frankenstein wine”, as it’s constructed from parts (five distinct vineyard blocks), the idea being that the sum is “a greater force than the parts on their own”. Supremely delicious.
Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir 2011 ($34.90, 413 cases)
Gotta quote Christine Coletta again: “The release of this wine has been highly anticipated by our cellar team. I believe that the original production was closer to 475 cases, and I personally take responsibility for the cellar loss.” When you have something you’re excited about, it’s hard not to give samples to those who visit—directly from Concrete Egg #13, where it has been resting for the past year. This is a gorgeous, luscious, soft Pinot Noir. It’s fuller than most, a little sweet to the front palate, rich and ripe, with a stunning finish.
Haywire Gewurztraminer 2012 ($19.90, 150 cases)
When Gewhattaminer (see previous column on Good Wolfe restaurant) is aromatic without being cloying, it approaches perfection. This one is all of that—and more. It’s lovely, spicy, and super-fresh. If it’s been a while since you enjoyed—really enjoyed!—a Gewürz, come discover one of the white wine world’s major treats.
B • S Rose Table Wine 2010 ($16.95, 792 cases)
I love a good rosé, and this is a great one, made from 100 percent Gamay Noir from a vineyard in the South Okanagan. Explains David Scholefield: “skin contact with the juice was allowed for a few hours, followed by a bit of a warm ferment (not typical practice—but it worked!) The wine is very Rose-like, with strawberry and truffle characters somehow occupying the same glass. Very intriguing, very good.”
My tasting notes: good and hearty, tending to dark pink colour. Sleek and velvety, full in the mouth: the texture of a great French rosé, like Tavel. Pair it with spiced dishes, say the producers. I say pair it with anything and everything! There’s a nice hint of bitterness in back of the fabulous, ripe fruit. Now all you have to do is visit the winery for your supply or persuade your nearest VQA store to bring in a mixed case lot, or three.
I like it when cheap table wines come in pairs—one each, red and white.
Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery Lions Red and White ($13.99 each)
The only vintage listed on this blend is the B.C. Lions’ 60th anniversary, with their six Grey Cup titles. (In case you’ve forgotten, they were in 1964, 1985, 1994, 2000, 2006, and 2011; I’m not speculating on 2013.)
These two blends are good value, and for once the red is better than the white: big and bold and full of fruit, not very subtle. A good deal, and a good introduction to the budget label. The white is tart and quite acidic, but with the right food—rich and fatty—it’ll work.
There are a couple of Fetzer blends from California just out too, but I haven’t gotten around to tasting them yet. Next time.