Locals Only Trade Event – a review

Locals Only | An Island Grown & Fermented Trade Tasting Event

Locals Only was an opportunity to meet and taste with farmers, fermenters & distillers behind our local cool-climate coastal appellation. Held on the first Monday in May, members of the media and trade were mingling with canapés, colleagues and friends.

Many producers were expected to launch their new releases at the event and barrel sample the ferments that are on the way.

These forward-thinking island producers  joined us in downtown Vancouver at Chambar Restaurant for a special ‘appellation-designated’ trade tasting event.

Wines tasted:

Alderlea Vineyards

2021 Bacchus

Bacchus is well-adapted to our Cowichan Valley climate and produces a clean, crisp white wine, with heady floral and citrus aromas and flavours of kiwi and apricot.

Alderlea’s Bacchus vineyard is one of Vancouver Island’s oldest plantings and its mature vines produce wines of full varietal character with balanced fruit and crisp acidity. Great on its own and excellent with all types of fish, seafood, and Asian cuisine.

2021 Bacchus – Gold medal – All Canadian Wine Championships

A herbaceous wine with excellent acidity, fruity with slight tangy notes of citrus. A very good wine.

To order call (250) 746-7122 or email alderleavineyards@nullshaw.ca

2021 Pinot Gris

Low yields and meticulous vineyard practices produce a Pinot Gris with fuller body and a longer finish than most Pinot Gris. Alderlea’s signature skin-contact winemaking style results in a dry, rose-coloured wine, showing aromas of peach, and apricot, with a balanced mouth-feel and flavours of tangerine, orange and mango.

An unexpected pink in colour this was not your typical Pinot Gris.

To order call (250) 746-7122 or email alderleavineyards@nullshaw.ca

Beaufort Vineyard

2020 Ortega

100% Estate grown Ortega

Beaufort Ortega is a wine perfectly suited to the coast. Expect delicate flavours of mango and melon, and a captivating aromatic profile of tropical fruits and citrus. Our cool ocean climate provides a twist of minerality and a beautifully balanced acidity in this dry white wine. Fermented in stainless steel. An ideal partner to most west coast dishes.

This is a fine expression of the Ortega grape, fruity, crisp with excellent acidity.

$26.00 available online

2021 Borealis 

Blend: 100% estate grown Siegerrebe, Schonburger & Pinot Gris

Estate-grown Siegerrebe and Schonburger are accompanied by a touch of Pinot Gris to create a delicate off-dry blend with floral and lychee notes. Expect softness and elegance along with the stellar aromatics captured by a stainless steel ferment. A crowd pleasing summer sipper, enjoy Borealis on its own, or with mildly spiced foods for an intriguing pairing of sweetness and spice.

A fruit forward wine that is smooth with good acidity. Flavourful ripe stone fruits.

$26.90 available online

Blue Grouse Estate Winery and Vineyard

2021 Quill Rosé Frizzante

100% Gamay Noir

This wine is spritzy, fruity, and fun. With aromatics of raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb, pomegranate and sunshine. This slightly effervescent Rosé style is sure to make your tastebuds dance.

Enjoy this fizz with charcuterie, creamy cheeses, spring rolls, and poultry dishes! It was made to be enjoyed with loved ones and friends all summer long.

This was a very nice wine and I enjoyed the flavours of ripe fruit and light effervescence.

$25.99 available online

2021 Ortega

100% Ortega

Ortega is Vancouver Island’s signature grape, and this wine is its perfect ambassador. Medium-bodied, savory, and well-balanced, with ripe ruby red grapefruit, orange, caramel, and a long finish.

It reflects the best that the Cowichan Valley’s warm summers can deliver. Whole cluster pressed, leading to a brighter, more fruit-forward wine. Great with oysters or rockfish steeped in a Beurre Blanc sauce.

This is a smooth and refreshing, lighter wine that is a favourite of Islanders familiar with the grape.

$25.99 available online

2020 Pinot Gris

100% Pinot Gris

Expect notes of creme brulee, caramel and green orchard fruits of granny smith apple and pear which shine through in the glass.

Our Pinot Gris vines are among the oldest on the Island (some 34 years old now). These fully mature vines are producing low volumes of high quality fruit. This is the only white wine made in our cellar that has been kissed by oak. Perfect for the Fall Season.

This is fast becoming my favourite varietal. Good acidity and mineralogy. Light, crisp and refreshing with pleasant fruit notes. This vintage is sold out. The 2021 Quill Pinot Gris is available online.

$27.99 available online

2021 Quill Rosé

100% Gamay Noir

This is a well-balanced wine, with flavours of strawberry, pink grapefruit, and forest floor on both the nose and palate. A lovely sipping wine on a warm summer day.

For the adventurous, pair it with cedar-planked salmon or a watermelon and goat cheese salad

Scents and flavours of ripe strawberries, this is a fruity, fun wine with excellent acidity, ripe and delicious.

$24.99 available online

2019 Pinot Noir

100% Pinot Noir

A sophisticated wine; elegant yet intense, complex on the nose and palate. Flavours of pine mushroom, baking spice and white pepper spiciness with nicely balanced fruit, tannins, and acidity.

It is a classic Cowichan Valley Pinot Noir, well suited for pairing with venison, lamb, cassoulet or braised lentils.

This wine was so good! Smooth as silk, lightish in colour with excellent clarity. Rich with flavours of ripe fruitVery tasty! This vintage is sold out at the winery. The newest vintage will be available in September and anyone wishing to purchase should contact the winery to have their names added to the waiting list.

$38.99 available online

Kutatás Wines

Pinot Gris 2020

Full solids (juice not settled). Neutral spontaneous barrel fermentation. Aged 10 months sur lie. Stone fruit, lemon curd, minerality, round, creamy, crisp, dry.

Crisp mineralogy, green apples and citrus. Good acidity. Simply delicious!

$25.22 available online

Whole Cluster Pinot Noir 2020

North Saanich, Vancouver Island grown clone 114 and Salt Spring Island grown clones 115 & 777 Pinot Noir.

Dry farmed. Spontaneous whole bunch ferment. 6 week maceration. Aged in 2-4 year old french oak barrels. Unfined/unfiltered.

Slightly lighter in colour with a light/medium body, smooth, with ripe fruit. This is a nice wine. Very good.

$39.13 available online

Patricia Bay Pinot Noir 2018

North Saanich, Vancouver Island grown Pinot Noir – Clone 114.
Dry farmed. Destemmed. Multiple ferments blended. Aged in 1-3 year old french oak barrels.

Aging potential 10+ years.

The wine really makes itself known with good acidity. Earthy with notes of mineralogy. Slightly lighter in colour and body. Both of the Pinots are very good.

$39.13 out of stock

Rathjen Cellars

“Saison Vineyard” Pinot Gris 2020

The follow-up vintage to our award-winning wine:

This Pinot Gris was dry-farmed on the gravelly slopes of Saison Vineyard in the Cowichan Valley. Fermented with wild yeast in neutral oak barrels, this richly textured wine spent ten months on the lees and was lightly filtered before bottling.

100 cases produced.

Light bodied with good acidity. Flavours of tart green fruit.

$27.83 available online

Pinot Blanc 2020

Our Pinot Blanc is grown on the southwest-facing slopes of Mount Newton Bench on the Saanich Peninsula. Following fermentation with wild yeast the wine was aged on lees for ten months in a combination of neutral French oak and stainless steel vessels. This vibrant wine is filled with notes of citrus and sea spray—an energetic compliment to our coastal fare.

A very nice, fruity wine with good acidity.

$26.09 available online

Sea Star Vineyards and Winery

2021 Ortega

Awarded Silver Medal at the 2020 All-Canadian Wine Championships; 2017 “Best in Show” at the B.C. competition for the Gold Medal Plates! The fruit for Sea Star’s Ortega is grown exclusively at our Pender Island vineyards. This varietal is sought after for its bright floral bouquet and crisp acidity. An excellent partner to Pacific Northwest seafood, spicy dishes, or enjoyed on its own.

A pleasant lighter, fruity wine with mellow citrus notes.

$23.39 available online

2021 Stella Maris

Our signature Estate white wine, Stella Maris, aspires to live up to the name “Star of the Sea.” Crafted from our sustainably grown, hand-picked and hand-sorted Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Schonburger and Ortega, at our Pender vineyards, Stella Maris entices with aromas of honey, apricot, pear and rose. Dry and crisp with a polished finish to balance the natural acidity of these Coastal grapes. An excellent partner to summer fresh vegetables and lighter fare or enjoyed on its own while relaxing in the sunshine with friends.

$21.65 available online

2021 Salish Sea

Coaxing out the best qualities of Ortega and Siegerrebe, our winemaker has captured the aromas of melon, pineapple and herbs. The bright acidity of this expressive and aromatic wine is balanced with a medley of tropical fruit flavours, creating an excellent partner to garden fresh vegetables and zesty salsas.

$23.39 available online

2021 Blanc de Noir

Awarded the 2016 National Best in Show at the 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships. Sea Star Vineyard’s Blanc de Noir is made in the dry Provence style with a zesty acidity bestowing a fresh and tangy finish. Pairs beautifully with Coastal fare and spicier dishes, as well as salads and lighter summer favourites. With hints of strawberry, cranberry and rhubarb, it also shines brilliantly on its own.

Limited Stock Remaining Exclusive to the Tasting Room and Wine Club Packages.This product is for customers who are participating in our allocation program.

Unsworth Vineyards

2017 Cuvée de l’île

The pinnacle of Unsworth’s sparkling wine collection, Cuvée de l’île is crafted in the traditional method. 2017 Cuvée de l’île is a blend of 50% Pinot Gris, 50% Pinot Noir, sourced from Saison Vineyard, Sunnydale Vineyard, and Zanatta Vineyard. Vinified in the traditional method, the grapes are hand harvested, whole cluster pressed, with only the finest free run juice being utilized. The majority of the wine is fermented in tank with the small remainder fermented and aged in neutral French barrels. After fermentation the wine is lees aged in tank and for a further 18 months in bottle before hand riddling and disgorgement. Following a minimal Brut Nature style dosage, the wine was aged for a further year before release. Presenting as a more complex and savory style compared to Charme de l’île as it takes several years from grape to shelf. The wine shows toasty notes of nuts and fresh brioche supported by apple and lemon. Cuvée de l’île is a wine of passion and made in very small quantities. It is bone-dry, poised and reminiscent of the finest Champagne showcasing Unsworth’s meticulous attention to detail.

1500 ml $94.90 available online

2021 Pinot Gris

Elegant and traditional Pinot Gris style, Cowichan Valley expression. Bright, fresh pear, green apple and citrus with delicate notes of fennel and herbs with distinctively pronounced Vancouver Island minerality.

Regional Terroir
Vancouver Island soils are a complex story of volcanic origin layered with marine sediments and gravel carved and deposited by glaciers. Today, clay-loam soils lay on top of this gravelly base.

Between the 48th and 50th parallel with strong oceanic influence, grape growing on the islands is marked by its long sunshine hours and cool climate.

Despite notoriously wet winters, summers are dry and droughts are not infrequent but temperatures typically

All of the above combine to create one of Canada’s most beautiful and unique wine regions.

VQA – Vancouver Island

100% Saison Vineyard, Cowichan Valley

Heaven, fresh and fruity. Smooth with medium body and excellent acidity. Delish!

This wine is available at restaurants and wine shops like Everything Wine.

2021 Rosé

This dry Rosé has vibrant aromas of wild strawberries and cranberries on the nose that reveal flavours of Rainier cherries, rhubarb, and red apple on the palate. Most associated with the summer months, rosé can add sunshine to every season.

Always a delight and a favourite.

$26.90 available online

Kutatás Wines
Zanatta Winery
Tugwell Creek Meadery
Rathjen Cellars
Sea Star
Salt Spring Island Mead Company
Ampersand Distillery
40 Knots Winery
Whispering Horse (Guest)
Sage Hayward Saturna
Alderlea Vineyards
Averill Creek Vineyards
Salt Spring Wild Cider
Beaufort Vineyard
Wayward Distillery
Lumette! | Non-Alc
Unsworth Vineyards
Blue Grouse
Arbutus Distillery

This season has proven to be extremely busy, so many events making up for a two year Covid imposted hiatus so much so that became necessary to decide between attending or missing any one event, this is not an ideal situtation for a wine blogger. Therefore it is with apologies to Massey Wines that prior commitments meant I had less time than I would have liked. I only wish I had had more time to taste all of the wines. This event was the same day as the Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting and I was registered to attend a seminar hosted by Eugénio Jardim, US Brand Ambassador for Wines of Portugal. The opportunity to attend a Masterclass or seminar is not to be missed so consequently my time available for Locals Only was unfortunately limited to tasting from just a select number of wineries whose wines I am, for the most part, familiar with.

Wine notes courtesy of the wineries. My notes (in italics) With thanks to Massey Wines & Spirits Ltd. for the invitation. Read my review of the Unsworth Restaurant here.

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