Forbidden Fruit port-style wines delight
A box of tasting samples arrived recently from Forbidden Fruit, the fruit-and-grape-wine operation in the Similkameen Valley whose products I happen to like a lot. Nothing for it but to pull the corks and taste the lot. This time there were two cherry port-style wines and three grape varietals, as Forbidden Fruit continues to expand its all-organic grape wines.
These five are the winery’s winter release of red wines and holiday fortifieds. This is what you—and I!—can look forward to in the weeks ahead. You can find these delights at Kim Brind’Amour and Steve Venables’s winery shop near Cawston and plenty of specialty wine shops around town.
Forbidden Fruit Earth Series Merlot 2011 ($26)
This got top-four placement in the Canadian national awards. A smooth and round Merlot, rich and silky, with lots of spicy notes and plenty of different berries in the taste. Ideal with cheese or chocolate. Delicious.
Forbidden Fruit Earth Series Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010 ($29)
Purple/black colour, big and brash at 15 percent alcohol, with grapes from Okanagan and Similkameen vineyards. It spent 20 months in American and French oak, then 12 months aged in the bottle. You can taste the oak alongside blackberry, allspice, pepper, and mocha. Winner of silver and bronze medals in various Canadian wine competitions. Great with lamb or rib roasts, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with creamed horseradish, Morbier cheese or Poplar Grove Tiger Blue. A fabulous, long, slightly smoky finish.
Forbidden Fruit Earth Series Redemption 2011 ($29)
This is Forbidden Fruit’s first Meritage-style red; the blend is 55 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 percent Merlot, and 15 percent Cabernet Franc, all certified organically grown. Softly spicy with an earthy hint of truffles. A worthy model of Meritage, if not in name then certainly in depth of flavour.
Forbidden Fruit Bliss White Cherry Port-style 2011 ($26.95 per 200-millilitre bottle)
Made from Rainier (Queen Anne) cherries. A unique wine, aged with young oak, sweet and with some brandy edges and lemon peel due to the fortification. Perfect as an apéritif or with pâté or smoked meat.
Forbidden Fruit Cerise d’Eve Red Cherry Port-style 2011 ($29.95 per 375-millilitre bottle)
This makes a lovely digestif with a slight chill on it. For after-dinner chocolate or cream treats. John Schreiner calls it the winery’s tour de force.
VQA Best of B.C. In October, the B.C. LDB’s Stephen Schiedel announced his lineup of 10 “Best of B.C.” wines, which will be featured in Signature stores until they’re sold out. This selection of all reds is fitting for the upcoming holiday feasting time of year.
Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc 2010 ($32.90)
Painted Rock Syrah 2010 ($39.95)
La Stella Fortissimo Selezione di Famiglia 2010 ($35)
Le Vieux Pin Syrah 2010 ($45)
Jackson-Triggs Sunrock Shiraz 2010 ($34.99)
Laughing Stock Blind Trust Red 2011 ($30)
Poplar Grove Cabernet Franc 2010 ($34.90)
Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Syrah 2009 ($34.99)
Stoneboat Pinot Noir 2011 ($24.90)
CedarCreek Pinot Noir Platinum Block Four ($39.95)
Despite the lofty prices, there are some true bargains on the list. I tasted them all during my recent VQA tour of the Okanagan, and they’re all brilliant. How did Schiedel limit his selection to only 10?
Buy a few and pour them for your snobbish doubting Thomas friends, who claim we can’t make world-class reds in B.C.