Corcelettes Estate Winery in Keremeos, is operated by Charlie Baessler and his family. The boutique winery is located on 15 acres of hot, dark rocks in the pristine Similkameen Valley. Production will probably exceed 2,000 cases of wine for the first time this year.
Chasselas: One of the rarest white grape varieties in British Columbia is Chasselas, which happens to be widely grown in Switzerland where it has several regional synonym names, the main one being Fendant in the Valais canton. It is considered an ideal pairing for fondue. Chasselas is also known as Perlan in the Mandement district of Geneva. In 2009, it was Switzerland’s second most grown grape variety at ~10,000 acres. In France it is mostly grown in the Loire region where it is converted into a blend with Sauvignon blanc called “Pouilly-sur-Loire”. California and Australian growers know this variety under the alias names of Chasselas Dore or Golden Chasselas.
There are only 25 acres of Chasselas grapes planted in BC, which represents only 0.5% of the total white grape acreage. Corcelettes Trivium is a blend of 50% Chasselas and 25% each of Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris. The blend came about because the original Corcelettes vineyard near Cawston grows those three varieties in those proportions. Charlie indicated that the early harvest this year would not be a problem as the Chasselas grape thrives on heat. With the varietals used in trivium, it’s difficult to ever achieve co fermentation as these varieties (Chasselas, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris) ripen at such different times. Corcellettes has been narrowing their focus on yeast strains and ferment temperatures to better meet the blend style so ultimately, it’s better to harvest and ferment these varietals separately and treat them as small lots with their own needs. The Trivium blend is perfect, beginning with aromas of spice and herbs with a touch of lemon. On the palate, there are flavours of green apple and peach. The finish is very crisp and refreshing.
The standout wine for me was the Corcelettes Menhir 2013 (200 cases). I had the opportunity to try the wine at the Garagiste North in Kelowna. This is the winery’s flagship red, a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah. Menhir (pronounced “may-near”) was named after the stone that still stands on the family farm in Switzerland. Intense spicy peppery, plum and blueberry aromas of Syrah combined with the savoury dried herbs, and currant of Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you have the opportunity to try the Corcellettes Estate Wines, please do because they are all excellent.