The Colour BC VQA Fall Release Tasting was held September 20 in Vancouver. It’s the largest annual tasting of BC VQA wines in Vancouver, with 75 BC wineries present, showcasing more than 300 BC VQA wines.
Before we get started on our notes, it should be noted that the 2011 summer was cool, and produced some fantastic white wines. Some wineries used malolactic fermentation to keep acidity down. For the most part, the whites were refined and elegant with really pure fruit flavors.
Here’s some of the highlights, at least for us:
Bench 1775, a brand owned by the Paradise Ranch Wines Corp. had a pair of solid wines in the mix.
Their 2011 Chardonnay is citrusy and light, which makes it very easy drinking. The fruit comes from the Partridge Rd Vineyard on the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley. Being 100% stainless steel fermented, there’s no oak monster in sight with this Chard.
The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc was also noteworthy with tangy grapefruit dominating, with a grassy hint. It’s lively and crisp. Made from fruit grown on the estate at the Bench 1775 Winery in Naramata Bench, this one was also 100% matured in stainless steel.
Clos Du Soleil‘s 2011 Saturn, is a Sauternes style dessert wine that not only plays nicely on the Sauterned word, but also delivers delicious honey notes without being overly heavy. Made from late harvest Sauvignon Blanc, production is very limited at 56 cases made, so get yours while you can!
Platinum Bench is a newcomer who arrived with a bang. This couple from Winnipeg made their white wines on the property while the reds have been made at Okanagan Crush Pad’s winery, all under the hand of Michael Bartier.
The 2011 Pinot Gris is full of tropical fruits, bursting with pineapple. It’s fresh, and a lively, lovely wine. Production is limited at 165 cases, and we’re seeing a Sold Out sign in the near future for this wine.
We’re surprised to see this review so full of whites so finally one for you red fans, though if you like your tannins racy, Platinum Bench’s 2011 Gamay Noir will be mellow like The Dude for that race. The juicy Gamay Noir is brimming with delicious candied red fruit.
Spierhead Winery has really outdone themselves. BC Riesling has a new star with Spearhead’s 2011 Riesling. It’s off-dry, chock full of lime and peach. Citrus and minerality in perfect harmony. The grapes for this wine were grown on our own Gentleman Farmer Vineyard. With only 185 cases produced, run – don’t walk – to get yours.
Stoneboat Vineyards continues going from strength to strength. We’ve previously reviewed their 2010 Chorus and 2008 Pinotage, and we’re fans of both wines as well as the Stoneboat brand. And their impressive 2011 Pinot Gris keeps the bar set high. Stone-fruit, specifically apricots and peaches, followed by a citrus finish.
We’re not very familiar with Terra Vista Vineyards so when both of their only two wines made the highlight reel from the tasting, we took notice, and it’s not just the experience but also the grapes they’re working with that pulled us in.
The 2010 Figaro – a Roussanne and Viognier blend – is only in its second vintage. We got stone fruits and a delicate floral component in white flowers and orange blossoms. It’s lively and light.
Then there was the 2011 Fandango – a Albarino and Verdejo blend that is in its first vintage. An extremely aromatic, floral wine, it’s rich and fragrant but with a freshness and lightness.
The View Winery does more than funny videos at the Vinos film festival. Their 2011 Gewurztraminer is a dry, different kind of Gewurz. Sure, it’s spicy but completely devoid of the heavy-handedness and full-on floral component of many run of the mill Gewurzes.
Hillside Winery‘s 2010 Merlot Cabernet Franc is a beautiful marriage of two of the Bordeaux’s Right Bank varieties. A very luxurious mouthfeel is filled with complex and lingering flavors, dark plums, bright cherries, milk chocolate and with a pleasant tart cranberry undertone.
Kalala, that organic winery making resonably priced wines, deserves an honorary mention as their 2010 Harmony White, a blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Auxerrois, was a pleasantly nice surprise, and we’re looking forward to seeing more of Kalala in the future.
And then there was McWatters, but we’re gonna make you wait for this one as we’re dedicating an article just for their wines – they’re that good.
For more on wines from the Okanagan valley, these are the best books I know.