The Wine Festival wasn’t sold out but still a very enthusiastic crowd gathered at the Laurel Packinghouse to taste the latest wine from the small guys (less than 2000 cases produced annually). There were 22 wineries represented, all with a minimum of 3 pours so the challenge was how to cover this much wine in only two hours. There was no way to do justice to all the wines, so my apologies in advance to the wineries I missed. The Festival arrangers kept a close eye on the clock. No one entered before 2 O’clock and no pours after 4PM.
I started with the bubbly at Bella Wine. Jay Drysdale was pouring a flight of three 2013 SPARKLING BLANC DE BLANCS. All are 100% Chardonnay sourced from growers in Oliver, Kamloops and Keremeos. The wines were all cross flow filtered, then bottled and capped by hand for the second fermentation. The wines spent eleven months on lees and were hand riddled, hand disgorged and finished brut natural in style with no dosage added. All are great value sparkling wines. Jay hinted that this year’s vintage would be a challenge due to vastly different acid and sugar levels in the chardonnays compared to previous years
Anarchist Mountain Vineyards. Andrew Stone was pouring his Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay is lightly oaked which lets the delicate citrus flavours shine through. The pinot is light in colour but has a bold taste. Aromas of cherry and strawberry are echoed on the palate, with delicate and lingering fruit flavours. Silky tannins give the wine good weight.
BC Wine Studios Siren’s Call Syrah is a big red with aromas of black cherry, oak and spices. On the palate, there is more black cherry and plum with classic notes of white and black pepper. Siren’s Call Harmonious is a blend of 39% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 14% Malbec, 8% Petit Verdot and 4% Syrah. This is a medium-bodied wine with bright aromas of cherry and vanilla with silky tannins. The Merlot is sourced from Anarchist Mountain where the cropping is low at around only 3 Tons per acre.
Black Cloud Winery Bradley Cooper was pouring a flight of Pinot Noir, starting with the 2012 and working to the two older vintages. I really like the younger 2012 which was edgier than the older wines that processed finer nuances. Slight notes of plum and cherry with a finish of fig and raspberry. Black Cloud produces only Pinot Noir, and they do it well. The Pinot based Rose was also excellent.
Black Market Wine Company is the new brand owned by Rob Hammersley and Michelle Shewchuk from Calgary and Okanagan Falls. Production is only about 180 cases. They were pouring the Syndicate red, which is a solid Bordeaux style blend and the Secret Society white.
Corcelettes Estate Winery Keremeos, is operated by Charlie Baessler and his family. Production is quickly heading for 2,000 plus. One of the rarest white grape varieties in British Columbia is Chasselas, which happens to be the major white in Switzerland. Corcelettes Trivium is a blend of 50% Chasselas and 25% each of Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris. Charlie indicated that the early harvest would not be a problem for them this year as the Chasselas grape thrives on heat. The standout wine for me was the Corcelettes Menhir 2013 (200 cases). This is the winery’s flagship red, a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah. Intense spicy peppery, plum and blueberry aromas of Syrah combined with the savoury dried herbs, and currant of Cabernet Sauvignon.
More to come in part 2 of this blog.