Once again, the speed blogging challenge is upon me. An array of wineries are about to come visit our table here at the Wine Blogger Conference in glorious Penticton, Canada, and I will be writing about the wines as we are tasting them. Normally I take notes in 20th-century fashion in my notebook, but here, the wine will go directly from my tongue to the blog.
Let the onslaught of British Columbia whites and rosés begin!
2012 Bartier Brothers Gewürztraminer: This is the first vintage from a brand-new vineyard called “Lone Pine,” so-called because they couldn’t take a century-old Ponderosa pine out of the vineyard. What a lovely floral, minerally aroma! This 89% Gewürztraminer and 11% Semillon tastes perfectly dry and floral, with focused acids and a hint of tropical fruit. A fine effort for a first vintage. Just the kind of Gewürz I like to drink. A good value at $16.
2012 Tantalus Riesling: Located in Kelowna, this winery makes a number of Rieslings. This particular version comes from vines aged five to 35 years. I like the subtle minerally, appley aroma. On the palate, it has rich red apple fruit, zesty lemony acids and some gingery spice. Focused and delicious. At $23, and one of Jancis Robinson‘s favorite Rieslings from the region, it seems like a pretty darn good buy.
2012 Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris: This winery is devoted to keeping its 130 acres sustainable, which these days is ever more important. A creamy, tart lime aroma, and a surprisingly lush pear flavor combined with tart acids and a zing of warm spice on the finish. Priced at $18, and again, not a bad value at all. I’d much rather spend $18 on this than on certain mass-market Pinot Grigios I could name…
2012 Hester Creek Trebbiano: Hester Creek is perhaps the only BC winery producing Trebbiano, yet the vines date way back to 1968. Dusky, overripe, almost funky nose. Fascinating! Rich texture, but with a real spine of white-pepper spice. As one of my compatriot bloggers just remarked, “It’s much better than most Italian Trebbianos.” About $23.
2012 Fizzio Therapy Blanc: This wine with a rather cutesy name is an unusual blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Orange Muscat. I felt suspicious, because cutesy names tend to mask boring wines, but the aroma of sweet orange blossoms started to win me over, and the zippy, tart fruit along with some lively pétillance sealed the deal. A fun pool wine, assuming you have a pool, and can afford the steep $23 price tag.
2012 Joie “A Noble Blend”: A noble blend indeed — this is an Alsatian-style mix of Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrois and Schönberger. That aroma is lovely, with some caramel and honey, yet the wine is surprisingly dry and aromatic, with well-balanced acids and a touch of spice on the finish. This is a wine I would spend $24 for.
2012 Poplar Grove Pinot Gris: Poplar Grove has 50 acres of Pinot Gris here in Penticton and 50 acres in Osoyoos, and some feel this variety should be the signature grape of Okanagan. This expression has a wild, tart and funky nose. Whoa. I mean funky. I’m extremely intrigued. The flavor delivers with ringing minerals, green apples, taught acids and an aromatic finish with just a touch of b.o. And yes, that turns out to be a good thing. $20.
2012 Gray Monk Estate Pinot Gris: This is the first winery to bring Pinot Gris into British Columbia, importing vines from Colmar (one of my favorite cities) in 1976 (the year of my birth). I will try to remain objective while tasting this wine. The aroma here is a little more conventional, with white flowers, unripe pear and chalk. What lively fun — the flavor is cheery and sunny, with ginger spice, a breath of flowers and a zing of minerals. A great buy for $18.
2012 Black Hills Estate “Alibi”: Good thing I’m spitting — this white weighs in at a hefty 14.5% alcohol. Black Hills is in Canada’s only official desert, an extension of the Sonora, believe it or not. The wine, a blend of 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Semillon has an elegantly creamy, minerally aroma, and a rich texture leavened with a big blast of white-pepper spice. Zesty and fun, and with that alcohol content, it’s bound to get your intended unintentionally drunk. So that’s worth $25, eh?
2011 Monster Vineyards Riesling: Monster is the second label of Poplar Grove (see above), named after the monster in Okaganan Lake, Ogopogo. The one acre of Osoyoos vineyards benefit from the cooling influence of the lake, and I am digging the aroma of apples and rubber. It starts sweet before tart acids blast to the fore. There are some flowers in there, some spice… It’s great fun, and well worth the $17 or $18 price tag.
Woo! There wasn’t a stinker in the bunch. Maybe there’s something to this British Columbia wine…
If you liked this round-up of British Columbia whites, check out my previous white wine speed blogging effort here.