Back in May I had the opportunity to attend the media preview of twelve BC Wines with presenter Barb Philip MW, with speakers Mark Holfrod, Mary McDermott, GalenBarnhardt, Dwight Sick, Lyndsay O’Rourke and Chris Tolley.
The tasting was by invitation and organized by Wines of British Columbia. Always an ideal way to meet winery principals, owners and winemakers and learn more about the background and history of the winemaking process.
Here are the twelve wines tasted:
Rocky Creek Winery – TLC White Blend 2021
Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island
Try some TLC: Reference to Linda whose germanic name refers to tender and caring. Gentle picks with our grapes so that they are not crushed until they get into our crusher destemmer. This vintage is from the hottest year since we began yielding beautiful delicate aromas. This vintage is very unique and has interesting flavour profiles, see review below.
An aromatic wine with scents of hard candy and a lovely floral essence with flavours of green apples. Nice acidity, crips, dry with green apples following on the palate with a lingerling finish. A very nice wine.
Seven Stones Winery Rain Stone White 2021
Inviting aromas of orange blossoms, mixed citrus and tropical fruit notes lead to rich palate that is held it check by bright Similkameen minerality and acidity. A very balanced and highly drinkable wine that is best served cool but not too cold.
The wine has a slightly Rosé tinge which is rather attractive. Strawberry scents mixing with aromas of find cognac tempt the nose. Lightly flavoured and an easy drinking patio wine.
Township 7 Winery Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Okanagan Valley, North Oliver
The Benchmark Series is our standard for evaluating quality. Through meticulous winemaking, sustainable viticultural practices and deliberate vineyard site selection, we create distinctive wines echoing their unique terroir.
We have a singular focus. It’s about quality wine and nothing else.
Our premium, single vineyard Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is bright and aromatic with vibrant aromas of passion fruit, honey, and boxwood. The palate follows through with gooseberry and citrus flavours, accented by a subtle toasted oak. The finish displays a roundness enhanced by the lees contact.
This vintage is crafted with fruit from our estate Blue Terrace Vineyard in north Oliver. Its stony soils retain heat throughout the cool September evenings allowing the fruit to thoroughly ripen and provides a distinct minerality to the grapes. This 100% barrel fermented, and aged (7 months) Sauvignon Blanc is fermented in 15% new and 85% neutral French oak barrels all coming from the Bordeaux region. Lees stirring occurred weekly during fermentation on both batches contributing to the full mouthfeel and balancing the crisp acidity.
Wonderfully structured, this Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is excellent as an apéritif or enjoy with fresh shellfish with a citrus mignonette, balsamic braised Brussel sprouts or Risotto and bitter greens.
The 2021 vintage is considered one of the most challenging growing seasons we have seen in the British Columbia wine industry. The warm spring led to an extremely hot and dry summer. Record temperatures were set across the province and challenged us to keep the vines cool and watered. The heat dome struck the province just as the berries set and bunches were swelling, shutting the growth down. This resulted in much lower crop levels, varying by location, from 10-50% down. The lower yields meant earlier ripening and we started harvesting Chardonnay for sparkling August 24th and completed our reds harvest October 14th, well ahead of usual.
We also had challenges with local smoke in certain south Okanagan regions. Most growers were unscathed, however a few vineyards in Okanagan Falls and Osoyoos were affected by smoke taint, as they were extremely close to the fires.
Overall, despite the challenges from Mother Nature the quality of the wine is great. We have maintained excellent acidity and balance within the wines. Yields were low but quality was certainly high.
Grapes 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Dense aromas of peach cobbler, stone fruits and red apple with apple and stone fruit predominate on the palate. Fruit forward with light acidity and a nice finish.
Township 7 Reserve Pinot Gris 2021
Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley
Crafted in the fresh Italian style, this unoaked Pinot Gris bursts with aromas of peach, honeysuckle, pear, and a wet stone minerality. These are displayed on the wonderfully textured palate, followed by a flinty mineral finish. Overall, a lovely balance of tangy fruit with lifted acidity.
Crafted with fruit from our Naramata Bench estate and Hidden Terrace in Oliver, this vintage is 100% stainless steel fermented to retain the wine’s fresh fruit character. The juice was kept cool during a low fermentation at 14°C for three weeks. The cool temperatures help to retain the fruit forward character of the wine and refreshing crispness. The two terroirs contribute layers of complexity to the final blend.
Incredibly versatile, enjoy this bright Pinot Gris with blackened mahi mahi tacos and a peach salsa or try caprese toasts with roasted tomatoes and basil.
The 2021 vintage is considered one of the most challenging growing seasons we have seen in the British Columbia wine industry. The warm spring led to an extremely hot and dry summer. Record temperatures were set across the province and challenged us to keep the vines cool and watered. The heat dome struck the province just as the berries set and bunches were swelling, shutting the growth down. This resulted in much lower crop levels, varying by location, from 10-50% down. The lower yields meant earlier ripening and we started harvesting Chardonnay for sparkling on August 24 and completed our reds harvest on October 14, well ahead of usual.
We also had challenges with local smoke in certain south Okanagan regions. Most growers were unscathed, however, a few vineyards in Okanagan Falls and Osoyoos were affected by smoke taint, as they were extremely close to the fires.
Overall, despite the challenges from Mother Nature the quality of the wine is great. We have maintained excellent acidity and balance within the wines. Yields wercreamsicle,e low but the quality was certainly high.
Scents of wet stone, lime and green apple. Delicate but with a bolder flavour palate, fruity with good acidity. A very nice wine.
Monte Creek Winery Ancient Water series Riesling 2021
Thompson Valley, barrel sample
The Ancient Waters Series at Monte Creek represents the historic geological connection our terroir has. Whether it was glaciers, rivers or lakes, water and ice shaped the valleys in which our vineyards reside. The ancient waters left behind the broad spectrum of soils that create diverse flavours and character in
our fruit, and we respect these elements that contribute their unique dimension to what we drink today. This Riesling, from our Lion’s Head vineyard, was hand harvested and sorted. Fermented in stainless steel for over 5 months before aging on fine lees.
2021 was marked by an abundance of early-season heat, with more moderate temperatures later in the summer and fall. Budbreak timing was average, with most varieties budding out around the first week of May. The spring was the driest on record for the South Thompson region, with none of the late May or June rain that we normally get. Temperatures were moderate until the third week of June when most of B.C. went through an unprecedented heatwave. We had our earliest start to harvest ever on August 18th, as well as (by far) our earliest finish ever, with the last grapes being picked on October 7th. 10 years ago, it was almost unheard of to even start harvest before October in B.C. As a hot season with small berries, expect concentrated and tannic reds and flavour intensity to the whites.
The wine had a slight cloudiness but exhibited interesting cittrus scents with stone fruit and grapefruit. Flavours of citrus, with some tartness on the finish.
An anticipated fall release, due to a limited quantity this wine will be offered to wine club members.
Monte Creek Winery Pinot Noir 2021
Similkameen Valley, barrel sample
Fairly light in colour with a substantial scent of rich plums with ripe fruits. Quite bold with light tannins. Light flavours of raspberries and blueberries. Lighter but delicious.
This wine is expected to be released in 2023.
Rocky Creek Winery Pinot Gris 2021
Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island
This is our new release based on 2 generations making previous barches and combining styles to create a new version of our best seller. This is vibrant and fruit forward. Intense flavours from a very hot summer, giving smaller grapes with more intense notes. Style brings out a bit of tropical or peachy tones.
A slight orangey rosé colour.
Wonderfully clean scents, with dusty closet, in a good way, ripe fruit aromas with stone fruit and scents of green apples, peach, and some tropical notes. Light and fresh with medium acidity. Smooth and very good.
Seven Stones Winery Pebble Beach Rosé 2021
Unmistakably Pinot Noir with aromas and flavours of early picked strawberries, rhubarb, and desert sage. A vibrant and juicy wine with an edge of austerity to give this Rosé some serious food pairing potential.
A bit earthy with stronger essence. Yummy strawberry flavours and some tartness. Smooth drinking, light with lingering flavourd. A nice patio wine.
Tightrope Winery Riesling 2021
Fleet Road Vineyard – Tightrope Estate, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley
IN THE GLASS: pink grapefruit, dried mango, papaya, marmalade, baking spices; off-dry, crisp & refreshing.
The Riesling grapes are sustainably grown on our Fleet Road Vineyard – Tightrope Estate & then hand-picked. The warm year resulted in a higher brix at picking than typical.
The grapes had 14 hours of skin contact before being whole-cluster pressed. The wine was then stainless steel fermented with minimal intervention, to show a true expression of the vintage & terroir. The fermentation was at a low temperature of between 11 – 14 ⁰C and took 30 days to complete. After fermentation was complete there was some residual sugar left, which balances out the acid in this wine.
The estate grown grapes are grown sustainably with great care and attention. They are then hand-picked to maximize ripeness and flavor.
The grapes were whole cluster pressed after 14 hours of skin contact. The wine was then stainless steel fermented with minimal intervention. The fermentation was at a low temperature between 11-14 °C and took 30 days to complete.
Food Pairing Notes
Seafood salad; Thai food or any curry
Drink now through 2028
The year started with a warm and dry spring. The dryness continued along with a warmer than usual June and a record-setting heat dome. The summer continued to be warm and dry, with minimal precipitation, resulting in excellent flavour concentration. Just prior to harvest sugar levels were increasing rapidly, though acid levels also remained high. Harvest was compressed and fast.
Wonderful distinctive scewnts of stone fruits. You know before tasting you will love it~ Peaches, Green Gage plums, some tropical notes of pineapple. Unapologetically off dry. A riesling for riesling lovers. Rich and smooth with distinctive body, mild acidity with mineral notes. Not off dry, not dry, but mid way.
Tightrope Winery Sauvignon Blanc – Sémillon 2021
Thomas Vineyard, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley
IN THE GLASS: nectarine, kiwi, lemon, star fruit, lime leaf; dry, fresh & crisp, in a style reminiscent of a traditional white Bordeaux.
The grapes for this wine are sustainably grown on our Thomas Vineyard – Tightrope Estate on the Naramata Bench & then hand-picked.
The Sauvignon Blanc was destemmed, crushed, then pressed, while the Sémillon was whole cluster pressed. Fermentation started slowly at low temperatures (12°C) to preserve the aromatics and took 28 days to complete. Post fermentation, the wines were blended to make this wine reminiscent of a traditional Bordeaux blend.
The grapes for this wine were sourced from Tightrope’s Thomas vineyard on the Naramata Bench.
The Sauvignon Blanc was handpicked, destemmed, crushed & pressed. The Semillon was grapes handpicked, whole cluster pressed. Fermentation was slowly at low temperatures, (12°C) to preserve the aromatics and took 28 days to complete. Post fermentation the wines were blended together.
Food Pairing Notes
asparagus risotto; grilled pork chops
Drink now through 2023
Another beaute in the glass. The aromas draw you in with ripe peach and stone fruits, excellent acidity, some tropical and citrus notes.
Moon Curser Vineyards Viognier 2021
Osoyoos East Bench, Osoyoos West & Oliver West, Okanagan Valley
A sure crowd-pleaser, the 2021 Viognier is the quintessential perfect summer wine. A light to medium-bodied dry white wine with pale straw yellow colour, this wine leaps out of the glass with its fresh and lush aromatics of white flowers and stone fruit. Mandarin, lemon and coconut flakes lead the way on the nose. The typical soft, rich and oily texture of the Viognier rests on a mouth-watering structure of zesty acid and a palate filled with flavours of quince, honey, lime, a hint of nutmeg and a note of minerality that has been consistently shining through over the last few years. The wine has a long and lovely finish, inviting the next sip. Our 2021 Viognier is bright, refreshing, with a good weight on the palate and elegant mouthfeel. Ready to drink now, or should be enjoyed before 2025 in order to retain its fruit-forward characteristics.
BRONZE MEDAL – 2022 All Canadian Wine Championships
Dense scents of fruit salad, rose, apricots with floral notes. subtle scents of dill, herbaceous with hard candy, resin and a strong acidity. Good body with light flavours. Not harsh like many viogniers can be. In all fairness to the varietal I am in a viognier learning curve.
Moon Curser Vineyards Dolcetto 2021
Osoyoos East Bench, Fernandes Vineyard, Okanagan Valley
A rare sight in the Okanagan, this unoaked, juicy red wine remains true to its Italian origins and will be sure to charm with its vibrant flavours of plum and berries.
We honour the traditional way of making Dolcetto, without any oak influence in order to showcase the fresh and fruit driven flavour profile. The 2021 vintage of Dolcetto perfectly embodies the spirit of traditional Italian Dolcetto. This medium-bodied red wine has a deep ruby colour in the glass, bursting with intense aromas of raspberry, cranberry, violet, blueberry and a hint of milk chocolate on the nose. Flavours of blackcurrant, fresh plum, rose, and Morello cherry intertwine with a soft tannin structure, carried by a bright acidity that brings this wine to life. A light but rich texture, and an extremely long finish close the deal on this incredibly well-balanced Dolcetto. This is a fantastic food wine, pairing well with your favourite tomato-based dishes such as prosciutto and burrata pizza, bolognese lasagna or eggplant parmesan. Drinks very well now, and should be enjoyed before 2026 for best results.
Heavenly ripe fruit scents of blueberries and blueberry pie, red apple, and blackberry with medium tannins. A bit lighter than expected with a dark rich colour and a lingering finish.
Wine notes and bottle shots courtesy of the wineries. My notes (in italics) Feature image: MyVanCity Please note that on this particular day I was more focused on the whites but I enjoyed all of the wines tasted.