There are plenty of B.C. wine releases worth getting excited about. I’ve assembled a mixed case of local goodness with a little something for everyone.
Moon Curser 2014 Arneis ($25.90, Moon Curser website)
While most wine-lovers know flinty and crisp Arneis as a variety hailing from northern Italy, Moon Curser has gone out on a limb to prove the grape can express itself well in the deserts of Osoyoos. Jasmine, chamomile, and fresh-zested lemon on the nose lead to a bounty of lively lemongrass and citrus flavours on the palate, with a pinch of white pepper on the finish tying it up with a little spark.
Township 7 2014 Muscat ($17.38, Township 7 website)
Don’t think about sweeter, late-harvest Muscats with this one. What we have here is a very dry table wine, zippy with grapefruit pith and litchi, trailing off with a slightly perfumed finish.
Ex Nihilo 2014 Pinot Gris ($20, Ex Nihilo website)
Way up in the Okanagan’s Lake Country, Ex Nihilo plays around with aromatic whites pretty darn well. Orange blossom aromatics bloom into full mandarin segments on the palate, mingling with lemon verbena and sorrel notes. A lively, clean, fresh take on the variety.
St. Hubertus Estate Winery 2014 Pinot Blanc ($15.75, St. Hubertus website)
From vines planted in 1987, this Okanagan veteran winery unleashes a Pinot Blanc that jumps out of the glass with apple blossom and musk; then it all comes together with mighty fine apple and pear galette character on the palate. It’s a juicy and weighty Pinot Blanc, with a slight beeswax texture and a finish that includes a slice of guava.
Road 13 Vineyards 2013 Roussanne ($28 to $32, Road 13 Vinyards website)
Oh, yeah! Let’s see more Okanagan wineries play around with Roussanne, please. Winemaker J-M Bouchard’s take on the often-decadent Rhône Valley is all beurre blanc, butterscotch, and honey with a lovely ribbon of orange essence twirling throughout. I’m swooning here. The winery is already sold-out, but I have it on good authority that Kitsilano Wine Cellar (2239 W 4th Avenue) and Village Liquor Store (900 Main Street Village, West Vancouver) have just received fresh stock.
Monte Creek Ranch 2014 Rosé ($15.99, Monte Creek website)
After my first sip, I texted friends and colleagues about how smitten I was with Monte Creek’s Marquette Rosé. Marquette? It’s a distant relative of Pinot Noir, with various other varieties in its background. Don’t get too caught up in its heritage; just enjoy its lush profile of stewed cherries and thyme, candy apple, vanilla bean, and even a splash of bourbon. A handsome and confident pink wine.
Eagle Bluff 2012 Crooked Post Pinot Noir ($24.90, Fairview Cellars website)
Eagle Bluff Pinot Noir comes from Bill Eggert, the owner-winemaker behind Oliver’s Fairview Cellars, known for bold and luscious reds. When sourcing Pinot Noir grapes from the Okanagan Falls area, his wine has a much different profile, hence the alternate moniker on this label. Pinots don’t get much softer or more elegant than this; truffles, plums, and a wisp of sage sail across the palate with ease.
Garry Oaks Estate Winery 2013 Pinot Noir + Zweigelt ($19, Garry Oaks website)
Salt Spring Island’s Garry Oaks delivers cool smoky campfire aromas right off the bat. Then we head to the forest floor with notes of clove, currants, and dried autumn leaves, finishing off with mulled wine. No shortage of character.
Kettle Valley Winery 2012 Pinot Noir ($26, Kettle Valley website)
Naramata’s Kettle Valley Winery is famous for big, opulent reds, so it’s no surprise that its Pinot Noir should follow suit. Cherries macerated in brandy, black licorice, and ripe and juicy blackberries—if that sounds appealing, you’ll love this.
Burrowing Owl 2012 Cabernet Franc ($33, Burrowing Owl website)
Year in, year out, Burrowing Owl’s Cabernet Franc is a winner. It always lays claim to the variety’s potential as a pillar of Okanagan wine. Lightly braised red bell pepper, eucalyptus, and spicy currants are immersed in polished tannins, with a finish that goes on and on (and on and on).
Fairview Cellars 2013 Bucket o’ Blood ($21.19, Fairview Cellars website)
Remember how I was saying that Bill Eggert’s Fairview Cellars is known for bold and luscious reds? Well, here you go. The thing’s even called Bucket o’ Blood! It’s a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah; swaddle yourself in this abundance of purple fruit, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and pepper.
Jackson-Triggs 2012 Sunrock vineyard Illumina ($34.79, Great Estates website)
A Zinfandel-Shiraz blend? Indeed, and it’s delicious. I’m digging the Italian plum and black olive character, and blueberry jam. A massive wine that still offers balance. Cool stuff.