Delving deep into the benefits of Therapy wines
There’s something cheerfully Mad Hatter–ish about the whole marketing side of Therapy wines; you expect the winemaker to look like Johnny Depp in his Alice makeup.
Therapy Vineyards claims to produce 10,000 cases and is striving for 15,000. If you add up the cases made in the lineup of six wines below, you’ll find that the total is less than half of that 10,000, so I’m assuming the balance is coming later in the year when the reds are released. (Wine writer John Schreiner draws particular attention to one called Super Ego, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon “filled out with Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz”. I can’t wait to try it.)
Pink Freud 2011
($17; 930 cases)
Let’s take a look, and a taste, starting with the one that had to happen—my favourite name, and a favourite rosé. Playing on the Rorschach blots game, the back label asks, “What do you see in this wine? Some see raspberries, plums, cranberries. Others focus on the palate, which is rich with dark, red fruits and finishes off-dry.” And so on. Well, you can “see” or—more to the point—taste all sorts of things. It ultimately rests with you, and there are no demerits for finding flavour components nobody else finds.
I just think it’s great that some wineries are starting to have fun with their labelling. It is just grape juice after all, and not something to hang on a wall (viz. Blasted Church, Moon Curser, and a few other bright lights).
So here we have chewy fruit of all kinds—full and vibrant berry aromas morphing into fresh, ripe berry flavours, waking up the tongue with tart acidity and a luscious finish, all wrapped in a deep-reddish colour that says “Come on in, if you dare; there’s nothing wimpy here!”
It’s a rosé as good as most in B.C. and better than many. And the name? Well, that’s become a classic by now. Invite your armchair-psychiatrist friend and have a Therapy party. Won’t hurt a bit!
Freudian Sip 2011($17; 2,388 cases)
This is the white powerhouse, volumewise at least. Green apple flavours, off-dry finish; despite its pale-grey colour it throws excellent fruit at your palate and coats the mouth with luscious, round flavours. Modest alcohol makes it just right for patio refills.
Alter Ego 2011($24; 510 cases)
A popular white blend that’s 45 percent Pinot Gris, 40 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 10 percent Viognier, and five percent Chardonnay. It’s got leafy/herby aromas, with lots of fruit for the tongue and some French oak accents at the back of the palate. This one can serve the whole meal, from vichyssoise or cold consommé, through a pasta-with-fish dish or poached chicken, to apple crumble or fruit yogurt.
Therapy wines aren’t all Freudian puns; here come three varietally labelled examples from the current release.
Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($20; 337 cases)
“Passion fruit, boxwood and herbs” states the label. Not knowing what boxwood is, or might taste like, I concur with the other two descriptors. The unidentified label writer goes on: “Grassy and medicinal palate with appealing freshness”. I’d strike medicinal from the lineup, and there we have it: a non-kiwi Sauvignon that’s fresh and bright and crisp, with a nice lowish alcohol (11 percent) for a change.
Chardonnay 2010 ($22; 305 cases)
They’ve obviously held the Chard back for a little extra time at the winery, whether in barrel or bottle. It’s a big, creamy wine, great finish, round in the mouth, very appealing on its own or with summer foods. While I don’t find the “toasted coconut” the back label references in the mix that washes my palate, I do find a lot of Chardonnay fruit, ripe and sturdy and fresh. Everybody makes Chardonnay, it’s true, but this is a really good one to stand alongside some of your current favourites and see how it fares.
Riesling-Kerner 2011 (Artist Series)
($20; 304 cases)
Taking a leaf from Calona’s long-running Artist Series, the Therapeutians have adorned this bottle with a commissioned painting. I’ve not encountered a blend of these two varieties before, but it’s an excellent blend (to the tune of 75-25 in favour of the Riesling)—citric, fruity, lovely and bright. You may find apple, grapefruit, and mango elements in here.
Next on my tasting agenda: the Shiraz, the Merlot, and Freud’s Ego and Super Ego, both red blends. In the meantime, browse the website (www.therapyvineyards.com/), or visit them on Debeck Road in Naramata. There’s even a guesthouse, but I bet it books up early. Lots more details in John Schreiner’s new Okanagan Wine Tour Guide, referenced here a couple of weeks ago.