Hello all! I hope you have been enjoying great weather and fantastic wine!
Last week, I was invited to attend a stunning seminar on the state of our British Columbia wines and how they compare and stack up beside international competition. The seminar was moderated by Rhys Pender, M.W. and was organized by the B.C. Wine Institute. In case you missed it, British Columbia is producing quality wine and consumers around the globe are noticing…
We looked at three flights that included a B.C. wine against some pretty great examples from around the world. It was an informal ‘put your hand up if wine number 1 was your favourite’ type of voting but there were about 70 of us in the room. This was an entirely blind tasting and Pender revealed each wine after all the votes were tallied.
The first flight was a mini-flight of two sparkling wines. Our mission was to figure out what wine was from B.C. and wager a guess on where the other wine came from. This one was a no-brainer for me – the first glass was fresh and crisp – totally B.C. bubble. The second was, without a doubt, champagne – I even wrote in my notes ‘grower champagne’ – and I was correct.
- 2010 Cipes Blanc de Blanc BC VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C. 12.5% $35
- NV Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne, France $50.99
Our next flight was four examples of Chardonnay – again, we were asked to rank them in order of what we liked most to least and then determine what were B.C. wines and where the other wines came from – all on International Chardonnay Day #Chardcore!
- 2014 Chartron et Trebuchet La Chapelle Pouilly-Fuissé, France 13% $34.99
- 2015 JoieFarm ‘En Famille’ Reserve Chardonnay BC VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C. 13.6% $29.90
- 2014 Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Chardonnay BC VQA Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia 13.5% $34.99
- 2013 Robert Mondavi Reserve Chardonnay Carneros, Napa Valley, California 13.5% $48.99
Whew – so – I was not with the pack with my choices. My favourite in the group was the Robert Mondavi – a big, luscious wine from Carneros. The room liked the Tinhorn Creek the most ( it was my second pick ). I was not a fan of Joie Farm’s ‘En Famille’ – I have had this wine before and it is not to my personal taste. The Pouilly-Fuissé was very good and my third choice.
Our final flight was a selection of Syrah/Shiraz – three from B.C. and three international selections.
- 2013 Leyda Single Vineyard Canelo DO Leyda Valley, Chile 14% $25.99
- 2015 Okanagan Crush Pad Narrative Syrah BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia 14% $29.90
- 2014 J Boutin Les Hauts Granites Crozes-Hermitage AC, France 13% $35.99
- 2014 Stag’s Hollow Renaissance Syrah BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia 14.5% $34.99
- 2013 Poplar Grove Syrah BC VQA British Columbia 13.5% $30.35
- 2014 Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz Barossa, Australia 14.5% $30.99
Now, Syrah/Shiraz is not my ‘go-to’ red grape but after this tasting, it has risen higher on my list. The crowd favourite was, shockingly, the Chilean wine from Leyda. I think it surprised many veteran wine lovers in the room and that is why wine is always so incredible – no one has the same palate or taste preference profile and no one is wrong for what they like. My first choice of this flight was the Australian Shiraz and, quite honestly, I never buy Australian Shiraz. It is so fantastic when I discover something I didn’t know about myself and my personal wine preferences…Yay!
Major respect and lip-smacking happiness came from both Stag’s Hollow and Okanagan Crush Pad’s examples – two outstanding B.C. offerings that came second and third in my personal ranking of the six.
As Pender stated, he wanted to show B.C.’s wines up against some solid competition and B.C. represented remarkably well. Ultimately, B.C. isn’t ‘trying’ to craft good wine – quite simply, it already is and there is much to look forward to in the years to come…
Yes, I’ll drink to that!