Change is in the air—always. Wineries are altering their bottle designs, labels, and livery. Sometimes the changes are dramatic: Mission Hill’s 5 Vineyards series has changed the base colour of all its varietal labels. Smart move and smart designs. Sometimes the changes are subtle—as with Blue Mountain. Here are a few recent releases.
Sumac Ridge Gewurtztraminer 2012 ($13.99)
New-vintage Gewürz from the oldest operating estate winery in B.C., in sleek new packaging, coming in March. Under founder Harry McWatters, Sumac Ridge became one of the major pioneers of Gewürztraminer in B.C. This is delicate and lovely, subtle and fresh, and lightly spicy; definitely a food wine—match it with anything you like to eat. The dramatic new black-and-silver label is contemporary and effective.
Sumac Ridge Cabernet Merlot 2011 ($14.99)
A matching red in the same series. Big and chewy, with licorice up front, just the thing with smoked turkey breast on Asiago ciabatta, pâté, or Tiger Blue cheese. If you “like” Sumac Ridge Estate Winery’s Facebook page, you could win a Le Creuset cookware set valued at over $1,000.
Blue Mountain Chardonnay 2012 ($20.90) and Pinot Noir 2012 ($24.90)
Blue Mountain Vineyards has tweaked its labels too, but very subtly. The 2012 Chardonnay is out now—fresh, light, and a little tropical in the finish. The 2012 Pinot Noir is the effervescent essence of fresh Pinot Noir, as good as it gets in the Okanagan.
Gehringer Classic Ehrenfelser 2012 ($14.99)
Light and bright, aromatic but not overwhelming, rich and perfumed, fruity, redolent of honey and Almond Roca, medium-dry, and perfect as an apéritif.
Gehringer Classic Auxerrois ($14.99)
Gehringer Brothers is one of the few wineries producing this relatively rare grape in the Okanagan. Off-dry, very fresh, with plenty of fruit; for cream-sauced pasta, especially with scallops. This winery continues to be one of the shining lights of the Golden Mile, as it has been for over a decade.
Inniskillin Estate Series Riesling 2012 ($14.09) and Pinot Noir 2012 ($19.09)
Sandor Mayer and his team of winemakers at Inniskillin Okanagan have recently released a couple of delicious wines from the 2012 Estate Series. The Riesling is a beautifully balanced white with a crisp, fresh finish and full of orchard-fruit aromas. This one pairs perfectly with seafood linguine or spicy Asian-inspired dishes, and the price is certainly right. There’s also the Pinot Noir, a perfect little party wine: full-flavoured and bright ruby-red, with toasty oak-spiced aromas and super-ripe cherry fruit. An ideal sipping wine.
Averill Creek Pinot Gris 2009 ($20 at the winery on Vancouver Island and select private stores around Vancouver)
Strong, full nose; barrel-fermented and left on the lees for 12 months. You might find hints of pear and cantaloupe amid the fruit flavours. Juicy and full, with excellent acidity.
Wayne Gretzky Okanagan Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah 2012 ($17.96)
Rich and full; a big surprise, given the name; superb, ripe fruit and heady aromas. You don’t have to be a hockey fan, either. There’s a companion Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio too, slightly cheaper, as usual.
Stag's Hollow Syrah Rose 2012 ($19.99)
Pretty, pale colour but an assertive taste. Excellent fruit and a very long finish. Only 400 cases made.
La Stella Moscato D'Osoyoos 2011 ($20)
Typical Moscato (eight percent alcohol), only from the south Okanagan instead of Italy. Not as sweet as the Italian original but with the classic orange-blossom aroma, also peaches and rose petal.
Rocland Estate Chocolate Box Shiraz 2010 ($24.99, specialty listing)
The winery was established in the Barossa Valley in 1999 by Franc Rocca and family. This is Essentially Australian: rich, ripe, and generous, brimming with spicy cherry, blackberry, and cassis. Wants meat.
La Miranda De Secastilla 2008 ($18.99, specialty listing)
Pruney and mellow, for empanadas, for sure. Hefty alcohol. Would ideally cost $14.99.
Veramonte Pinot Noir ($15.99)
First shown during the last wine festival by Landmark Selections. Huge, bright fruit, luscious and very rich.