The trio of terroir driven, single-vineyard sparkling wine made using the traditional method by the sparkling-only producer Bella Wines is a welcome addition to the increasing focus on bubbly in British Columbia, and push the envelope on what can be achieved with sparkling wine in the Okanagan Valley.
We had a chance to taste the current wines at the Cornucopia 2013′s Grand Crush Gala, as well as meet winemaker Jay Drysdale, whose passion for his craft is overflowing. These wines, from Bella’s second vintage, exemplify the uniqueness of the vineyards they are from. Especially with the Chardonnays, which were made identically but grown on plots about 13 miles apart and picked a week apart, it’s interesting note the differences in the wines.
2012 Sparkling Chardonnay – West Side
The fruitier of the two Chardonnays, the West Side Sparkling Chardonnay is bursting with vibrant lemony citrus, and with a hint of tropical fruits. Frothy, with mouth-pleasing beads, the finish is leisurely elegant. Recommended!
About the vineyard: “Secrest Mountain Vineyards in Oliver, BC is a unique micro-climate in the South Okanagan. The site is comprised of eight inches of sandy topsoil above pure silt with a gravel seam at forty-eight inches where the roots find small amounts of water. This higher-elevation vineyard is bordered on the west by a steep rock face creating a heat pocket which holds the warmth of the sun.” Bella Wines
2012 Sparkling Chardonnay – East Side
The East Side Chardonnay is like the big brother of the two, with more minerality, a backbone of brisk acidity and a more distinguished, old world feel. That’s not to say there’s no fruit here, with citrus dominating. And the finish? Drier than its West Side brother, it lasts and lasts in a way you don’t want it to leave.
The East Side Chardonnay is a much more limited wine, with only 600 bottles made. I recommend you run, don’t walk, if you’re planning on getting your hands on this beaut. Highly recommended!
About the vineyard: “Cerqueira Vineyards on the Black Sage Bench in Oliver, BC is a unique property in the South Okanagan. The site is comprised of sandy loam topsoil over subsoils that are heavy with carbonate crusted cobbles throughout a 2 metre depth which allows for great drainage.” Bella Wines
2012 Sparkling Gamay Noir
This rosé bubbly, with its gorgeous pink hue and brimming with refreshing and lush field berries, just screams summer. There’s a slight sweetness that fills out the berry notes, and the wine brings out classic Gamay, with a gentler, rounder expression than the Chardonnays.
As with the West Side Chardonnay, the Gamay Noir is from the Secret Vineyard, with more details available above.
These wines are all splendid, and each unique in its own way. What’s all the more exciting is that Jay is considering expanding his lineup with single-vineyard sparkling wines from even more vineyards, even as far north as Kamloops. We’ll be sure to be sipping our way through his adventures in vintages to come.
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