My First Visit to Corcelettes Estate Winery – Love It Here in the Similkameen!

My First Visit to Corcelettes Estate Winery – Love It Here in the Similkameen!

I must admit I had heard good things about Corcelettes but I had not been to the winery and vineyard before this year. I am so glad we took the time to stop here on our last journey to BC Wine Country. Corcelettes is a member of the Similkameen Independent Winegrowers.

The Similkameen is ideally located as a force in the burgeoning grape growing and wine making industry that is BC Wine Country. Nestled in a river valley surrounded by mountains and hills on either side. The terrain is rugged and rocky. When you stand on the balcony off the Tasting Room at Corcelettes you get a feeling of awe looking out towards the molten and steep cliff which is directly behind you. This area is no place for the faint of heart.

With very unique climatic conditions the area of the Similkameen Valley benefits from the river below, an abundance of sunshine and heat during the day, cool nights and the wind.

Grapes aren’t the only thing to grow in the Similkameen and many of us are familiar with Keremeos and Cawston in terms of fruit like the famous Ambrosia apples (the authentic ones are grown right there), and the many fruit and vegetable stands. I stopped on the way home to buy asparagus and in the fall I always stop for apples and the best garlic ever. Late fall Coronation grapes for eating and like so many other things that grow in the Okanagan and Similkameen they are uniquely BC.

Corcelettes was our first stop on our sojourn into spring BC Wine Country. What a pleasant surprise, lovely Tasting Room with the welcoming and friendly Jesce Baessler. Jesce is a one person team onto itself, Sales, Marketing, Wine Shop Manager, Managing Partner and mom to twin girls. Talk about multi-tasking but this former Nunavutite is a bundle of energy with a welcoming smile.

I tasted white, rosé and pinot noir, my travelling companion tasted the pinot noir and red wines. Here’s what we thought along with the winery’s tasting notes (in italics).

2018 Corcelettes Santé

Our quest to bridge traditional winemaking with our modern world is expressed in this festive Frizzante style bubbly wine. Blending Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, the nose bursts with pineapple and orange peel, while the palate is racy with ripe lemon-lime. 

What’s your reason to celebrate? Drink chilled and enjoy now- Santé! 

This wine’s grapes came from the Upper Bench in Keremeos. I found it fun, zesty, and festive in the glass. Fresh with peach scents. Delicious! $19.04

2018 Corcelettes Gewürztraminer

Proud growers Roxanne and Dennis Mutch- a couple that always have a little dirt on their boots- continue to deliver extremely aromatic and balanced fruit to our cellar every fall. Located on the Cawston flats and situated on Similkameen silty loam soils, here lies a unique combination of day time heats, contrasted by cool evening air drainage and rich soils that complete this wine. Tropical fruit characters balanced with grapefruit citrus tones make this Gewürztraminer a harmonious hit. Drink chilled, enjoy now.

This wine had the good scents and aroma I expected and love to find in a Gewürz. It is a blend of an early and slightly later harvest. Complex, stone fruit, citrusy and acidic. A nice taste, not sweet but finishes smooth not tart. $15.57

Corcelettes Rosé Oracle

This Provence inspired rosé is made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah. Gentle, whole cluster pressing combined with a cold and slow fermentation created this perfectly pale pink, dry, yet rich and creamy summer time marvel! Hand-picked from two contrasting vineyards to craft fruit and freshness. Oracle is layered with grapefruit citrus and wildflower aromas while bright melon, apple and cranberry keep length and focus to this fun yet serious rosé.

Drink chilled, enjoy now. 

Light, not tart but not sweet either. Lovely pale colour. Tavel-like but with more flavour 85% pinot noir, 15% syrah. $19.04

2018 Corcelettes Pinot Noir

Juicy and fruit forward, this Pinot Noir is crafted from two select vineyards in the Similkameen Valley. With a gentle fermentation process and careful French oak aging, winemaker Charlie Baessler is able to express a fresh and balanced Pinot style that provides versatility in both the lounge or in your dining room.

Enjoy now or cellar for 3-5 years.

Just a faint hint of smoky flavour. Sweet tasting but not too sweet. So tasty. A lovely starter wine with sweet aromas. $21.65

My companion didn’t make too many remarks in his little green note book so I’ll just list them here in the order of his preference from very good to excellent starting with:

2016 Corcelettes Merlot

Rich in texture with a traditional elegance, this Merlot is crafted from own-rooted, cl 181 and cl 184 vines hand picked from Corcelettes’ estate Stemwinder soils. Harvested on multiple dates and fermented in several small lots, winemaker Charlie Baessler crafts a Merlot with layers of complexity and depth. This wine is aged in a series of 1000L French oak vats that allow the wine to mature while maintaining it’s identity- Similkameen Valley terroir. Look for a stony, mineral component integrated in soft tannin. 

I guess he was thinking of food because he mentioned pairing with spaghetti, cheddar cheese and beef bourgogne. $23.39

2018 Corcelettes Pinot Noir

Juicy and fruit forward, this Pinot Noir is crafted from two select vineyards in the Similkameen Valley. With a gentle fermentation process and careful French oak aging, winemaker Charlie Baessler is able to express a fresh and balanced Pinot style that provides versatility in both the lounge or in your dining room.

Enjoy now or cellar for 3-5 years.

You are not seeing double we both sampled the Pinot Noir. Yep, we both liked this one. He found it pleasantly light but good. $21.65

2016 Corcelettes Cabernet Merlot

Finding harmony together- Cabernet/Merlot blends have long expressed a combination of structure and approachability. Winemaker Charlie Baessler drives a little more “new world” into his expression as cured meat on the nose introduces chocolate cherry and vanilla on the palate. Simply delicious. 

Harvested from rocky Stemwinder soils on our estate vineyard, aged in French and American oak barrels and vats for 18 months.

He found this to be on a par with the Pinot Noir. $27.74

2016 Corcelettes Meritage

Winemaker Charlie Baessler is always evaluating rows in the vineyard that express extra character. These hand-picked rows are the building blocks to assembling this full and concentrated wine. Rocky Stemwinder soils make up Corcelettes’ estate vineyard. A combination of this site’s character and the team’s drive for excellence in the vineyard management leads to ripe fruit flavour and structure, all wrapped in chalky fine tannins. 

Bordeaux style blend. $31.22

2016 Corcelettes Menhir

The Menhir of Corcelettes, Switzerland, is iconic. It stands tall and proud near the castle of Grandson, where the Baessler family originate. Corcelettes’ Menhir wine features a 100% Puncheon barrel aging program, following small lot fermentation with punch down extraction. Winemaker Charlie Baessler respects the Similkameen terroir and allows our vineyards to lead the expression by using these larger oak formats. Hand picked from the estate’s Stemwinder soils, look for Cabernet’s stewed black fruits and Syrah’s sweet and spicy pipe tobacco notes. Harvested by hand, unfiltered, unfined. 

Although still no notes he did indicate this one was his overall favourite. $34.70

So there you are, he may be a man of few words but he has good taste, in wine and other things too. Next time I will take control of the little green book.

About Corcelettes

Corcelettes Estate Winery, located on 150 acres in the Similkameen Valley, blends passion, precision and science to craft expressive, small lot premium wines. Led by Charlie and Jesce Baessler, the skilled team at Corcelettes is committed to creating exceptional wines and experiences. In history the word “Corcelettes” described a royal garden; this hasn’t changed with the team’s continued attention to the land and precision practices in both the vineyard and cellar.

We place greatest care in our viticulture and believe in making our wine on the vine. Cultivating our estate vineyard and working closely with our accoladed localgrowers, no short cuts are ever taken in finding balance between viticulture, our environment, and winemaking. Our first vintage was in 2011, consisting of 200 cases. We currently craft 4500 cases of wine per year, with plans of each future vintage growing in production size.

With 23 planted acres and expanding, we present a growing range of premium wines that showcase the versatility of varietal expression the Similkameen Valley offers. Our portfolio includes exquisite whites, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Bordeaux varietal reds, all crafted from 100% Similkameen grown grapes. There is also a small selection of premium wines from the Micro Lot Series, wines crafted from specially selected grapes available only in limited quantities.

The Similkameen Valley is a rugged, magical place that is the Canadian wine industry’s best kept not-so-secret anymore, and we couldn’t be more proud to have planted our roots here. Passion, precision, progression and purpose- this is what makes Corcelettes unique.

Corcelettes was named Top 10 Small Wineries and Top 25 Wineries at the 2018 National Wine Awards of Canada.

Be part of our journey.

Get a taste if it!

Spirals are found in many ancient cultures and are considered symbols of energy, growth, progression and evolution.  The single spiral is one of the oldest, most sacred symbols in humanity and is a reminder of our evolving journey in life.

The spiral symbol resonates with the family and team at Corcelettes Estate Winery as we too continuously progress, grow and evolve – through our vineyards, our cellar and the wine in your glass.

Club Corcelettes

Indulge in expressive, exceptional, Micro Lot wines, Stay connected to the ever evolving Corcelettes Winery & team…

Member Perks:

  • 3 different club selections to choose from
  • Free shipping on all scheduled Club shipments
  • Priority access to select pre-released wines
  • Priority access to all Micro Lot releases
  • 10% off of all additional wine purchases from Corcelettes
  • Access to Library wines, when available
  • Complimentary tastings for Club members and their guests
  • Access to our Club Only patio & vineyard golf experience

Spring releases shipped in April, Fall releases shipped in September.

More information on each individual Club Package

Tasting notes in italics and feature image courtesy of Corcelettes. All other images, except as noted, MyVanCity. I (we) received three complimentary bottles of wine after our tasting. All opinions are my own, his opinions are evidenced by his list of wines by preference with the last entry being his overall favourite.

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