MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | Deciphering The Expressive “Stag’s Hollow” Grenache 2013

October 23, 2014 

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by Treve Ring | Quietly tucked away in sleepy, picturesque Okanagan Falls, winemaker Dwight Sick and winery owners Larry Gerelus and Linda Pruegger have been planting experimental plots of European grapes not typically (or ever) seen before in BC. Ballsy a bit, brave a lot, the team realized the high potential of their site’s soils, climate and terroir and started searching other wine regions for similar conditions. They’ve since planted and successfully produced limited wines/blends including tempranillo, dolcetto, teroldego, marsanne and albariño.

And grenache; a beautiful, kickass grenache, to be exact – one that references the Rhone and the south of France while tipping its hat to Australia and Spain. And yet it somehow feels firmly rooted in the Okanagan. Canada’s first commercial grenache should pave the way for many more. Now in its second vintage, it’s even better than the highly promising inaugural 2012. Expressive pepper at first whiff, warm cedar spice, ripe red cherry, cranberry, strawberry jam and a huge whack of savoury and cracked pepper spice on the bright finish. Impressive, exciting, alluring – we want more of this in BC! I recently asked Dwight about its Message In A Bottle

Stag’s Hollow Grenache 2013 | Okanagan Valley, BC | $30 +35501

Straight up – why did you make this wine? I’m a Granachista. I love everything about this pure, delicious grape. I started conceptualizing this wine 10 years ago and planted the vineyard in 2006. It has been my special wine child ever since. Grenache is everything pinot noir wishes it could be and it is only a matter of time before everyone discovers its wonders.

Where are the grapes from? The vast majority of the fruit (70%) was grown at Kiln House Vineyard which is on the West Bench of Penticton. It is a special site with a warm, southern sloping aspect and it remains frost-free late into the fall (long after most of the rest of the Valley’s vineyards have been frosted out). I personally planted this site in 2006 and have managed the vineyard ever since. The balance of the fruit is grown at Hearle Vineyard on the East Bench of Osoyoos. It is a stunning growing site and the grenache vines planted there in 2010 are showing great potential for the future.

Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? Duck confit is my favourite. I have a recipe that uses blood orange, Chinese five spice and anise in the glaze. It is a heavenly match.

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Tough call, as there are several. I’m going to single out some wines from a fresh face in the Okanagan, Dylan Roche. The single vineyard merlots he has produced for Intersection Winery are honest and delicious wines. Additionally, he and his wife have also started a new winery label of their own called Roche Wines and the Pinot Gris is unlike any other in the Valley (in a good way).

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? Wines: grenache (red, white, rosé and blends) from Rhone, Roussillon and Spain, Syrah from Washington State. Beers: I’ve been enjoying various wet hopped IPAs this fall and love Surrey-based Four Winds Brewing’s Wild Flower Saison.

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MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | Little Farm Winery Chardonnay 2013 – Similkameen In A Glass

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by Treve Ring | Boutique is almost too big to describe Little Farm, a family owned and operated winery in the striking Similkameen Valley. Unmarked by road signage, down a quiet road off the Crowsnest Highway in Cawston, you’ll come across four acres of organic vineyards, abutted by steep, rocky slopes and marked by the sole mulberry tree in the middle of the riesling block. A child’s chalkboard sign signals when their hand-built winery/tasting room/storage facility is open, a structure recently constructed next to their century-old farmhouse.

Rhys Pender MW works the estate vineyard while his wife Alishan Driediger makes the wines. They do everything themselves — sustainably, small-scale, without compromise but with minimal manipulation and intervention. Their first vintage in 2011 was more than some large wineries spill in a harvest – just 56 cases. The quantity has fluctuated with each vintage since, but the quality remains paramount. They produce only three wines: Riesling, Rosé, and this characterful, singular Chardonnay.

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The wine opens with an intriguing wild herb and stone, earthy lees and floral thistles. A textured mid-palate hints to the low yields, whole cluster press and partial wild ferment that Alishan utilized, while the slicing, savoury minerality communicates the chalky, mineral-rich soils. Pressed apple, lees, hazelnuts and citrus unite through the lingering finish. Only 68 cases of the 2013 Chardonnay were produced, so scoop it if you spy it so you can glean a sense of their Similkameen. I asked Driediger to share its Message In A Bottle

Little Farm Winery Chardonnay 2013 | Similkameen Valley, BC | $30 +841783

Straight up – why did you make this wine? I love Chardonnay! In all its incarnations. And we’ve been really interested in Chards that come from soils that are chalky and calcium carbonate-rich because we also have a high amount of calcium carbonate in our soils. I think it’s really interesting to taste the minerality in Chards from places like Chablis and Limarí, Chile. We wanted to make a Chard that shows the mineral influence of our soil and the unique terroir of the Similkameen Valley, so our winemaking is very minimal and light-handed.

Where are the grapes from? The grapes are from our 5 acre property in Cawston. We have 2 acres of Chardonnay and 2 acres of Riesling. We’re growing organically and trying to encourage lots of biodiversity in it. It’s a happy, healthy, sunny place – full of birds, insects, indigenous plants and windflowers.

Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? Freshly shucked oysters! Or a delicious rotisserie chicken from our friend’s farm, stuffed with lemons, and really crispy skin…

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? We share a lot of meals and good wine with John and Virginia from Orofino and we love their wines. In particular, I really enjoy their Chardonnay and Home Vineyard Riesling. I think you can really taste the Similkameen in them. It’s really interesting to taste some distinct flavour similarities from our shared terroir!

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? I kind of default to Chardonnay, Riesling and Rosé when I go wine shopping. I love them and it’s interesting to see what’s going on with these wines internationally and where we fit in the scheme of things. And I also love fizzy water. We got a Soda Stream a couple of years ago and I’m always drinking fizzy water with lots of lemon in it.

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VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #240 | It Had A Fleet Of These Citroen Martini Bars

September 29, 2014 

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by Treve Ring | Dubbed “The World’s Most Intimate Martini Bar”, the Grey Goose-commissioned camionnette van fits only two guests plus a bartender, whose express role is to create bespoke martinis based on guest tastes. The Citroen H’s exterior displays baguettes made from the same wheat used to create Grey Goose vodka, and a peep hole allows the curious/envious a boo inside at the marble, leather, bronze, etched glass, and deuce of happy imbibers. We’d previously desired something similar with wine (the Union Wine Co. truck in Portland), so why not cocktails?

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AWESOME THING WE DRANK #679 | Fernet Branca: The Darkly Wondrous Elixir Of Italy

September 29, 2014 

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by Treve Ring | The first time you try Fernet Branca, you will hate it. The second time, perhaps assisted by a couple of cubes of ice, you’ll slowly start to warm to its black bitterness and mountain mint charm. The third time, you’re charmed. Your mind thinks clearer, your gut feels clearer and you’re already thinking about buying your own bottle of “the angriest of amaro”. You’ve become one of the countless that have become entranced by this special digestif, known for its healing ways since the late 19th century.

Fernet Branca | Milan, Italy | $30 for 500ml + 674119

Fernet Branca is an amaro – an Italian aromatic liqueur – concocted from 40 different herbs, including trendy St. John’s Wort (though most health tonics aren’t 80 proof / 40% alcohol). The secret recipe was created in 1845 in Milan by spice trader Bernandino Branca. Once the extracts from 4 continents are carefully blended, the heady liqueur sees 12 months in Slovenian oak barrels for balance and taming. Included in the mix are aloe, myrrh, gentian root, rhubarb, chamomile, cardamom, red cinchona bark, galanga, zedoary and saffron. Branca neat is intensely bitter, in the most positive way. I take mine with a cube or two of ice to mellow.

Pointedly herbal, with full-bodied dark bitter, complex spice and apothecary flavours it’s also employed by barkeeps as a heady base for cocktails. Enjoy it after a large meal to aid digestion, or, the following morning to help with the aftereffects. If that’s a bit too much bitterness for you, try a shot of Fernet Branca in a cup of real cola, as the Argentines do.

A newspaper advertisement from 1865 claimed this “renowned liqueur” to be “febrifuge, vermifuge, tonic, invigorating, warming and anti-choleric”, a drink which had furthermore helped the venerable Doctor Fernet (and several members of his family) to live for over a hundred years. It was also marketed as a cure for menstrual cramps, to aid digestion, impede nervous irritation, stimulate the appetite, treat troubles of the “splean,” cure anxiety, quell stomach aches and headaches, and arrest the effects of old age. The drink’s numerous medicinal claims came in handy during the American prohibition; as a medicine, Fernet-Branca was still legal.

Try a shot. Or, better yet, try three.

EVERY AWESOME THING WE DRANK 

DRINKER | On Bottling Karaoke Courage & Booze Delivered By Models In Their Undies

September 15, 2014 

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by Treve Ring | Mix one British pub owner, one rocket scientist patron, a pint of Fullers London Pride, a Go Pro HD video camera, and a lego spaceman, and what do you get? Bingo! One small step for man, one giant stride for London Pride!

D’oh! Duff beer was pulled from Aussie shelves over concerns it is too appealing to youth due to its association with The Simpsons. This setback aside, it remains the #1 beer for people of all ages in Springfield.

Once again, science has proven red and white wine is good for youIf you exercise, that is (if not, you’re SOL).

If wine didn’t encourage / enable karaoke enough, bottles of house wine at England’s Plymouth Arts Centre are labeled with lines and song titles that correlate with different musical notes. When the wine is drained to the line on the label, the tapped bottle will sound at the marked note – providing the starting key for the karaoke classic. Liquid bravery? You just need one glass to reach C and belt out Like A Virgin, while draining a half bottle will get you to D, and American Pie.

Let’s see the Apple Watch do this! Vessyl is a Smart Cup that is able to determine exactly what you’re drinking by analyzing and breaking down your beverage to a molecular level. Good reminder that the double down caramel whip pumpkin spice latte that you’re gulping has 2000 calories.

Fall travel planning? This handy infographic breaks down the price of beer around the world (tip – Ukraine is a go!)

A perfectly preserved 200 year old gin was recovered from excavations of a shipwreck in Poland. No word on whether or not the captain was drinking when the ship actually wrecked.

Sacré bleu! A new law means that French employers can now legally stop workers from drinking wine at work. I sense a revolution…

Fashion statement or drunkenness statement? Vernissage Wines new ‘bag in bag’ packaging has disguised 1.5 litres of Languedoc-Roussillon wines into a handbag that promises to be “perfect for any event be it Ascot, Henley or the BBC Proms.”

Lastly, what could go wrong? An alcohol delivery service, with underwear models, in LA.

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | Getting To The Bottom Of “Liquidity Wines” Viognier 2013

September 5, 2014 

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by Treve Ring | Location, location, location. Liquidity Winery is flawlessly nested up in Okanagan Falls, sharing a ‘hood with Blue Mountain, Synchromesh and Meyer Family Wines, among others. Here on this picture-perfect peak between lakes Vaseux and Skaha is some of the finest terroir in the Okanagan Valley, offering ideal temperatures for cool (climate) kids pinot noir, chardonnay, gamay, and…viognier?

Liquidity Wines Viognier 2013 | Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, BC | $24

This viognier, absolutely. Though the aristocratic (if hedonistic) white grape of the Northern Rhone is fashionable, it’s tricky to manage in the vineyard, expressing its perfumed height only when yields are low. That didn’t stop winemaker Matt Holmes from giving it his all and treating the regal grape with all the attention she craves and deserves. The 2013 vintage is much more reined in and tighter than the exuberant and expressive 2012, gaining quiet confidence. Gobs of just-picked, sun-warmed apricot here, with a lovely bitter herb and wild thyme note. The full and creamy, lanolin-like palate rests in great balance with the key lime acidity and spiced finish. 80% wild ferment introduces a herbal intrigue, and 20% barrel ferment lends a well-worn suppleness to the whole. Only 465 cases – not that you needed another excuse to drive up to Okanagan Falls…

Straight up – why did you make this wine? I was inspired by stories from around the world describing skin contact white fermentations – part of the natural wine movement or a return to Georgian wine practices in many cases. Our viogniers from 2012 and 2013 are only about 10% skin fermented in the final blend, but I find it brings a more complete array of real fruit character: the taste of apricot skin, pulp and seed rather than just apricot juice, for example.

Where are the grapes from? We have 1.5 acres on site (planted in 2005 and 2008) and buy additional fruit from the excellent Blind Creek vineyard in the Similkameen Valley.

Your ideal pairing with these wines would be…? I think it’s a versatile food wine given the texture: creamy fall mushroom pasta, nut crusted fish, pulled pork or (shameless plug) anything from the Liquidity Bistro: the view is directly over the Viognier block, after all…

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? I can’t get enough of the OK Falls wines, but if I looked further afield I’d say Tightrope from Naramata, Eau Vivre from the Similkameen, and Stoneboat in Oliver have been on my dinner table pretty regularly this year.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? My go to wine regions are Chablis and Barolo, with red Burgundy (when I can afford it), German Riesling and Sonoma Coast/Anderson Valley Pinot Noir not far behind. On a hot day I’ve also been known to have a beer!

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VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #239 | It Had A Pop-Up Beer Garden Like Argentina

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by Treve Ring | You don’t need Google Translate to decipher the Refugio de Camping designs from IT MET Estudio, an architecture and design firm based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I, for one, would camp a helluva lot more often if my campsite featured a greenhouse and beer taps.

This 18-by-8.5 foot pop-up pop up refuge/party is designed to fold and open itself, the translucent façade (sinusoidal polycarbonate sheets, in case you were wondering) filtering in daylight and producing a lit-from-within lantern effect in darkness. Thin white metal bones and guatambu hardwood paneling can easily be disassembled, transported and reassembled as a puzzle, each part designed in order to be moved and built by anyone, anywhere.

In Buenos Aires’ hip Recoleta district, the first Refugio de Camping is perched on an urban rooftop, fully embracing the culture of alfresco drinking, transient and translucent. It doesn’t take much to imagine fitting in just about anywhere in Vancouver.

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AWESOME THING WE DRANK #678 | The Idiosyncratic Tahbilk Marsanne 2010 (Aus)

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by Treve Ring | In my line of work I get to drink taste a boatload of wines, many good, most average, a lot of plonk, and a slight few, awesome

Tahbilk Marsanne 2010 | Nagambie Lakes, Victoria, Australia | $20 +559716

Still think all Aussie wines are cheap and cheerful? C’mon mate! It’s a new day and that thinking is as dated as foam on a plate. Australia is a place of outstanding regional diversity, wine history and talent, and if you’re not open to accepting that terroir is a renewed and serious focus, then I hereby sentence you to Yellow Tail, for life!

Tahbilk {ta-BILK} is one such winery with a lineage rivaling that of our own country. The winery and original vineyards were established in 1860, and purchased by the Purbrick family, the 4th generation of which oversees operations today. Tahbilk’s ties to the rare, French-born Marsanne grape stretches back to the 1860’s when the first grapes were ever recorded. Though those initial plantings are no longer around, the Estate still produces Marsanne from 1927 plantings – some of the oldest in the world. In fact, Tahbilk claims to have the largest, single holding of Marsanne anywhere (take that, France!). Tahbilk releases library vintages from time to time (yes, even the 1927), so if you ever see “Museum Release” on the label, just trust me and buy it.

This is an idiosyncratic wine that gains so much complexity with time that it’s boggling. While juicy and bright in its youth, your patience will be exponentially rewarded (5-20 years+). The 2010 is still a junior, opening with whiffs of lemon, white peach, light petrol, marmalade and wild herbs. A medium-bodied positively oily palate bears pear, honeysuckle, earth, lemon, thyme, and stony spice. Its well-knit rope of herbal earthiness and floral perfume, bright acid and stone fruit is capped by a lengthy finish. All this for $20 and I’m pretty cheerful.

EVERY AWESOME THING WE DRANK 

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | Testing Tantalus Vineyards’ Experimental “Riesling Lab” 2013

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by Treve Ring | Here’s how wine geeks think: “Lessee what would happen if I took all my grape pressings leftover from the entire Riesling vintage and squeezed them together really hard to capture all the juice and good bits and then fermented it entirely with wild yeast…”

Tantalus Vineyards Riesling Lab 2013 | Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, BC | $19

Kiwi-Canadian wine geek and Tantalus winemaker David Paterson isn’t afraid to push – or in this case press – the envelope of experimentation. With Riesling Lab, the atypical results have proven so consistently interesting that the winery decided to slap labels on the bottles and sell them. The first Lab experiment (2011 vintage, #1) was tiny – just a handful of cases were produced. 2012’s Lab #2 was more of a purpose-driven exercise, with production bumped up to 70 cases or so. And last year, proven in method, Paterson produced 155 cases of Lab #3, sold solely out of their East Kelowna tasting room (also to a very few restaurants in Vancouver).

The playfully nerdy label is a clear departure from the norm (an indication that this ain’t your typical Tantalus wine), but the #03 Lab Results: Riesling is nevertheless a firm handshake. Pink and orange flowers, ripe peach and pear, apricot pit and a broad, solid, textured palate, amped up further through fermentation in old chardonnay-use barrels. Not shy on sugar, acidity or alcohol, the trio striking a chord that sounds like more, please. Especially at the price ($19!). Intrigued, I put the following 5 questions to Paterson…

Straight up – why did you make this wine? I originally created this wine in 2011, which was a cold growing season. I felt that the Riesling (Our biggest sku) would need some weight in a cold year and I did not want to use manufactured products to do so. I pressed all the Riesling really hard after making my original cut and took the resulting phenolic brown juice and fermented it wild in barrels. I did this to naturally oxidize out the phenolics. When it came time to put the 2011 wines together this new piece of the puzzle just didn’t fit but was really interesting and textural on its own…. so we bottled it. Since then we have made it every year and has been a really successful little wine in our tasting room with the general public and also with wine geeks because it has that different

Where are the grapes from? All the wines made under the Tantalus label come from our own 75 acre estate in SE Kelowna.

Your ideal pairing with this wines would be…? This wine is very versatile to pair with but I would say that something with sweetness and a little heat from the huge world of Asian food would go down pretty well. A classic Alsatian bacon and caramelized onion tart would be mighty fine, too.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? When I’m not making wine, I’m golfing in the summer and skiing in the winter, so I’m drinking German and Burgundian wines.

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Blue Mountain stripe label Pinot Noir or any of their vintage bubbly wines. They are always consistently excellent from vintage to vintage and their pricing has remained low compared to the demand for their product. They are the benchmark that the rest of the Okanagan should look too when deciding pricing and quality parameters.

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DRINKER | On More BC Liquor Law Stupidity And French Wine Bars For The Terminally Ill

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by Treve Ring | CAMRA outlines the knee-jerk reaction that caused the BC Liberals to change minimum beer pricing not once, but twice, within a week. The result? Lower minimum price on pitchers of beer (from .25 cents an ounce to .20 cents an ounce – still Canada’s highest) but not pints. So basically it’s much more cost effective for you to down a pitcher of beer than a pint. Way to promote health and well-being BC Liberals! Not that anyone has any clue how much a pint is anyhoo.

If you really want to enjoy that beer, no matter the size, you had better be playing the right music.

A 22 year old Australian man was arrested after he was caught driving under the influence down the middle of a suburban street. The tip off? He was riding a motorised beer cooler. Full of beer.

Lest you think that all Aussies are riding beer coolers down the street, some are into serious business. Like the filmmakers who have successfully completed the world’s first documented shark cage wine tasting – Great White Wine with Great White Sharks.

Incentive for cleaning up that spilled wine in your car? A Warsaw military university has developed a laser beam that can detect alcohol vapours in a passing car, at levels as low as 0.1%. Just don’t drink and drive, or drive anyone who has drank. Or burp. Or spill.

Drink a beer, safe a life? Spanish scientists have developed a new biomaterial from waste discarded after beer brewing which can be used to regenerate human bones.

USA Today headline asks “Good Idea? Coffee-flavored Wine in a Can”. Intelligent humans everywhere answer “Hell no”

Dentists in Manhattan are offering free wine to patients to take the edge off before treatments. I’m wondering what dentists in Washington and Colorado will propose…

Sex is natural, so why not on the natural wine label? Punch Drink tells us.

Logical-not-so-logical warning: Do not buy booze from “an independent off-license at a discount price” in Britian, as “fake” spirits are laced with bleach, nail polish and anti-freeze.

Flyers spend more money on booze than any other in-flight purchase, according to GuestLogix, which tracked 8 million transactions across five U.S. airlines between November 2013 and March 2014. What – the $5 plastic headsets and $9 Rondelé® Peppercorn Parmesan Cheese Spread wasn’t raking in the dough?

The Best Beer Ad Ever? Totally in the running.

Where’s Mr. Floatie when you need him? Vancouver’s spike in microbreweries could be clogging our sewer system.

Leave it to the French to exit in style. A French hospital is set to open a wine bar for terminally ill patients. Says the doctor who proposed the idea, “”Why should we deprive people reaching the end of their lives of the traditional flavours of our land?” Santé et bon voyage!

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AWESOME THING WE DRANK #677 | A Rosé That Is Much Better Than Its Bottle Is Weird

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by Treve Ring | In my line of work I get to drink taste a boatload of wines, many good, most average, a lot of plonk, and a slight few, awesome

Commanderie de la La Bargemone | Cuvée Marina Rosé 2013
Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France | $30 +650408

Yeah – I was skeptical too. I mean, just look at that bottle! Is it perfume? A marketing ploy? My skepticism is as finely attuned to wine BS as my palate is to Trichloroanisole, but then the aroma - savoury, stony, minerality, spice – and the colour! Its gorgeous gossamer pale peach salmon hue instantly conjures the warm, herb-laden winds of Provence.

Skepticism settled, tuck in and enjoy this bone dry and positively racy rosé. Stony spice throughout, with sun-warmed watermelon, Lilliputian strawberries, roses, mandarin and an undertone of a heady wild herb bouquet. The structure is quietly confident, acidity is vibrant and the pink grapefruit pith finish lingering. The sustainably farmed syrah, cab sauv and grenache in this blend are on a 150 hectare property that dates back to the 13th century, situated just outside of the village of Saint-Cannat in Aix-en-Provence. Only a limited amount of this striking wine found its way into our liquor stores, so find it while you can or befriend someone who has.

EVERY AWESOME THING WE DRANK 

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | Sipping Summer In Orofino’s “Celentano Vineyard” Gamay 2013

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by Treve Ring | From the stony, steep sided Similkameen Valley comes this single vineyard Cawston Gamay from Orofino. Planted in 1999 on sloping Stemwinder soils and granitic shale (gamay crushes on granite), this pale cherry-hued red should be your summer go-to.

Orofino Celentano Vineyard Gamay 2013

Because it’s hot out! You don’t want a giant, chewy, sweat-beading, muscular, heavy, oaked red. Too much work! You want this bright, fresh, light red – tart and earthy rhubarb acidity to refresh you and your palate, and finely spiced tannins to take on your dinner. This savoury, lissom red is laced with cured meats, wild strawberry, a swipe of stony minerality throughout, and an alluring bitter cherry note on the finish. Serve slightly chilled, and this versatile wine will suit anything from grilled pizza to charcuterie to salmon. Only 100 cases produced, so get on it.

I put 5 questions in front of winemaker, sports coach dad, fellow ping pong advocate, outdoor pizza oven afficianado, Similkameen stalwart and co-owner, along with his equally active wife Virginia, John Weber.

Straight up – why did you make this wine? We started taking these grapes in 2007. This style came out in 2010. We just loved the freshness and unmasked fruit that comes from these grapes. We started drinking a lot of Cru Beaujolais and thought we might try to imitate that style and see what we could do in BC with Gamay.

Where are the grapes from? A little vineyard about a 5 minute walk from the winery. It is owned and managed by an Italian couple Antonio and Carmela Celentano. They grow mostly Riesling but have a tiny little section of Gamay that comes to us. Shale and rocks all over the place. It is a stunningly beautiful vineyard. We make around 100 cases a year.

Your ideal pairing with these wines would be…? Summer. We chill it down just a bit and barbeque some sausages or roast a chicken in our cob oven. It is also a terrific Thanksgiving turkey wine with savoury stuffing.

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Our friends Rhys Pender and Alishan Driediger from Little Farm Winery just down the road from us are making delicious Rieslings and Chardonnays – wines that have Similkameen Valley written all over them.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? Can I say BC craft beer? Our cellar has a good mix of old world stuff. Chablis, Cru Beaujolais , Loire. We have a soft spot for dirty Spanish wines. Things with a little bit of funk are always fun to try and talk about. We drink Rieslings from Australia too.

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MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | Dissecting “Lock & Worth” Winery’s Cabernet Franc Rosé 2013

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by Treve Ring | Lock & Worth is a new Naramata partnership between Matthew Sherlock and Ross Hackworth, longtime colleagues and comrades from Nichol Vineyard, which is further up the Naramata Bench. The duo’s low interventionist winemaking philosophy shines again here, with this whole cluster, unfined and unfiltered (yes, there are harmless floaties in the bottom, get over it) cabernet franc rosé from a single vineyard. There’s a whisper of orange pink peach, but what this rose lacks in colour it makes up for in acidity. It’s bone dry, with ripping mineral and citrus pith-laced acidity, light smoked stone, green apple, Anjou pear and delicate mandarin and floral notes. Honesty and vibrancy – more of this please. I recently talked to Matt about this characterful and uncharacteristically BC rosé…

Straight up – why did you make this wine? Firstly, we felt that the vineyard material was best suited to making a rose. Something with very little extract and that trades on delicacy and nuance instead of power. We also wanted to push our hands-off approach here so we started with a natural ferment (which didn’t finish) then did nothing else to the wine really. No fining or filtering or stabilization or any adjustments of any kind. It is what it is.

Where are the grapes from? Naramata Village, below the road, lake side.

Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? Ceviche.

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? I think Dave at Tantalus, Matt at Blue Mountain the team at Le Vieux Pin and Alan at Synchromesh are really starting to change the game here. Oh and Jay at Bella and Richard Kanazowa as well. I’ve heard very good things about Tyler Carlton too but have yet to visit.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? Champagne, Loire whites and reds, Beaujolais, Jura, German Riesling, Sherry, whites from the Marche in Italy, bourbon and good rye. Mostly Old World wines but pretty much anything that speaks of vineyard and vintage and isn’t made in a lab. Beer when it’s super hot. I’m very fortunate that my neighbours in Naramata are oenophiles so we have a chance to pop a lot of corks between us.

Lock & Worth Winery | Cabernet Franc Rosé | 2013 | Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley. $20.

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AWESOME THING WE DRANK #676 | Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas Branco 2012 (Portugal)

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by Treve Ring | I drink/taste a boatload of wines, many good, most average, a lot of plonk, and a slight few, awesome

Luis Pato | Vinhas Velhas Branco 2012 | +403881 | Beiras VR, Portugal | $25.99

I appreciate obscure, curious and off-the-beaten-track wines, and I value tradition and time in practice and patience. This wine epitomizes both traits. Luis Pato’s family has been producing wine since the 18th century, and his father, Joâo was the first to bottle wine in Bairrada DOC after it was officially demarcated as an appellation in 1979. “Bairrada” is from “barros” (clay) and due to the clay-laden soils throughout the area. Though the region was relatively recently recognized by the rule books, it is an ancient area for grape growing. Viticulture in Bairrada has existed since at least the 10th century, when the area gained independence from the Moors. Recognized for its deep, full and tannic reds, the wines of Bairrada were sought after during the 17th century when the Douro’s illustrious Port houses – pressed to satisfy the growing British tastes for Port – would blend in wines from the region to ramp up quantity.

Together with his father, Luis is credited with bringing Bairrada back to life, legitimately. Though the Pato name (Portuguese for duck, and referenced by the bird in flight on the label) is rockstar synonymous with Bairrada, this brand new-to-BC-wine is sourced from the neighbouring and lesser-known Beiras region, just outside of the demarcated Bairrada borders.

Unoaked and raised in stainless steel, this bright trio of indigenous Becal, Cerceal and Sercialinho grapes highlight their pure-fruited nature and chalky clay soils like a mirror. Smoked stone, herbal white grapefruit, pear skin and lemon pith on the nose carry to a creamy, oily, leesy texture with ripe bitter melon, white peach, Asian pear, quince, wild honey, pine nuts and a perfumed elderflower blossom. Beautiful freshness and energy, tempered by a bitter edge. The pretty girl with the ugly sweater reading The Book of Disquiet in the corner at the party. I love the unapologetic authenticity of this wine, in a “yeah, I don’t care what you think about me because this is what I am and if you don’t like it then zarpar.

EVERY AWESOME THING WE DRANK 

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