We lovingly decant wines from the West Coast to Western Samoa and beyond, and then give you a highly opinionated, pocket-sized review.
“After whole cluster pressing to maintain the fresh acidity, the wine went through a long cool fermentation to bring out delicate flavours of coconut and lime.”
Suggested perfect pairings
One of the big upsides of living in Vancouver is that you never feel like you need to bulk up in the fall for winter—mostly because winter usually lasts about a week. (Added bonus, “winter” is nothing less than hysterical, that due to the fact that City Hall seemingly has one snow plow, no one invests in proper tires, and the transit system usually shuts down even faster than the airport when the first flakes fly.) So while the rest of the country is stuffing itself full of slow-cooker pot roast, shepherd’s pie, and beef-chuck stew with Yukon gold potatoes, this time of year we’re all about West Coast halibut, Pacific albacore tuna, and irresistibly sweet BC blue mussels.
When you’re committed to walking the seawall six days a week, you need to be focussing on light and fresh, not a diet made for trekking to the North Pole. Bursting with fresh lemon zest and bruised apple blossom, the Hester Creek 2022 Sémillon plays wonderfully with chili-marinated Dungeness crab, prawn linguine, or—you guessed it— West Coast halibut, Pacific albacore tuna, or irresistibly sweet BC blue mussels.
Hester Creek has certainly been having a moment in 2023, taking home Great Northwest Wine Magazine’s Winery of the Year honours this past spring. The motto at the Okanagan Valley estate is “Our roots run deep,” with its celebrated Golden Mile Bench vineyard dating back over a half century. Meanwhile, the hand-harvested Block 12 grapes used for Hester Creek 2022 Sémillon come from vines planted in the late-’90s.
Falling somewhere between elegant and easy-going, this Storied Series entry has had wine-lovers scrambling for more, to the point where the Hester Creek wine shop is now running low. (For the first time ever, the winery has decided to library its 2022 Sémillon, putting a case aside to be re-released within the next three to five years because it is perfect for cellaring.)
Act fast and you will get is a bright, crisp, and juice-packed beauty, with a rush of sweet citrus and tart passion fruit up front, and crushed lemongrass and fresh-from-the-garden sage carrying things across the finish line. That, obviously, makes it perfect for summer patios and backyard socials.
Actually, let’s correct that.
For the rest of the country, Hester Creek 2022 Sémillon is a bottle to store away for when the summer sun is shining, and the weather forecasts call for shorts and sandals. In BC, there’s nothing to stop you drinking the budget-friendly winner year round, especially on the pre-winter days when you can walk Stanley Park in a T-shirt and flip flops while the poor saps in Ontario and Alberta are still in parkas and snow boots. Now pass the Fanny Bay oysters.