There are five wine growing regions within BC and they are considerably more north of the Ontario growing region that spans the latitudes N42° and N44°. The southern-most growing regions (and western-most) are the Vancouver Island and Gulf Island regions around the N48° latitude, whereas the Fraser Valley, Similkameen Valley and Okanagan Valley regions snuggle against the 49th parallel, with Okanagan extending nearly to the N51° latitude, thereby northerly crossing the so-called wine growing belt that spans the N35° and N50° latitudes. The first thought may be that being so north and so close to Rockies, the climate would be cold and quite unpredictable, however these regions have in common a mild and relatively dry climate that is ideal for viticulture and aids in producing intensely aromatic wines.
The January 19th 2013 LCBO Vintage release saw 6 wines coming from British Columbia, along with a promotional machinery right behind:
– pre-release tastings (The below reviewed wines were sent to me directly)
– Twitter tasting (to take a place on January 24th between 8-9 pm using the hashtag #ONtastesBC)
– Contest to win 5 nights/6 days of accommodations, flights, transportation, private wine tasting and spending money for 2 people – sponsored by Wines of British Columbia and Tourism British Columbia; if you wish to have a chance to win enter here.
The 2011 Gray Monk Gewürztraminer is a light to medium bodied, fruity wine, with intense aromas of green apple, washed stones and subdued leechie. It is off dry, has good acidity and a medium finish. It is an easy, food friendly drinker for an early afternoon refresher. My impression: NICE, 88 pts. Tasted Jan/13.
Score 88 pts. BC $19.95 Availability 321588
The 2011 Quails’ Gate Chardonnay is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of buttery oak, bacon, nutmeg and yellow pear. It has a checked acidity and a long, oak-heavy finish. This wine is a sipper, but if served with salty/acidic foods, it will fare well; drink now or cellar for 2-5 years. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended buy for lovers of oaked Chardonnays. Tasted Jan/13.
Score 90 pts. BC $20.95 Availability 377770
The 2010 Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay is a light to medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with appealing aromas of yellow apple, pear, washed stones and subtle oak. It has a nice structure, good acidity and a medium to long finish. The intense fruit on the palate combined with acidity makes it food friendly; drink now – 2017. My impression: NICE, 89 pts – for $20, it is well priced wine. Tasted Jan/13.
Score 89 pts. BC $19.95 Availability 545004
The 2008 Eau Vivre Pinot Noir is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of pomegranate, rosehip, toasted chocolate, oak and vanilla. It has a good acidity, is slightly bitter, has subtle to refined tannins (decant for 30 min, especially to alleviate bitterness) and has a medium finish. Food friendly, drink now-2015. My impression: NICE, 89 pts. Tasted Jan/13.
Score 89 pts. BC $24.95 Availability 308353
The 2009 Mission Hill Quatrain, composed of 35% Merlot, 30% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc that was aged for 15 months in French Oak, is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of strawberry/raspberry, black cherry, cedar, thyme, coconut and vanilla. It has a good structure, is fruit forward, has refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long finish. This wine is meant to be enjoyed by itself; though ready to drink now, it will benefit from cellaring as it has an evolution potential – drink 2014/15-2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended buy. Tasted Jan/13.
Score 92 pts. BC $44.95 Availability 218636
The 2008 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin, composed of 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot that was aged for 20 months in French Oak, is a medium bodied, integrated wine, with intense notes of red and black currants, black cherry, violet floral notes and vanilla. It is tannic (decant for 1-2 hours to loosen up the tannins and to blow off cooked egg notes) and has a long finish. Cellar this one for few years to mellow out the tannins; drink 2015/16 – 2020. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL (once decanted), 90 pts. Tasted Jan/13.
Score 90 pts. BC $45.95 Availability 626325
My thank-you to British Columbia Wine Institute for organizing the wine delivery
and the twitter tasting