by Treve Ring | Blue Mountain is one of BC’s first real cult wineries, and in my view, one of the few that has not lost its spark and drive. Ian and Jane Mavety have been growing vines since the 70’s in Okanagan Falls, slowly transforming orchard and meadow land into prime vineyard land. Spurred by an eye-opening trip through Burgundy and Champagne in the 80’s, they began to rip out their hybrid vines in favour of pinots – noir, blanc and gris – as well as chardonnay and gamay. Their wines have always been thumb-printed with cool-climate, old world finesse and understated elegance — astounding quality for price. No shit – these are among the top quality/value ratios in Canadian wine. Now comfortably into their second generation, son Matt is head winemaker and daughter Christie oversees all marketing and sales.
The bottle of Gold Label Brut NV I sampled was based on 2010 fruit and disgorged March 2013; a helpful note added to the back label providing consumers with a glimpse of maturing/aging of the wine. Pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris are whole cluster pressed, fermented separately and then blended and left sur lie for 24 months and after dégorgement (popping out that plug of spent yeasty goodness) an additional 6-9 months rest. The result is BC’s most consistent, classic, and impressive sparkling wine, year over year. Light dough, nuts, and stone aromas lead to a crisp and nimble palate. Green apple, crisp pear, Meyer lemon, lemon rind, herbed salt and stone come together in lip-smacking raciness; lively acidity and mineral driven finish with a gentle cushion of pinot gris fruitiness to carry. Pair with oysters, spot prawns, and moules frites — liberally and often.
I asked winemaker Matt Mavety about its message in a bottle...
Blue Mountain | Gold Label Brut NV | Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, BC | $24
Straight up – why did you make this wine? Can’t afford to drink Champagne every day! The climate is extremely conducive to making sparkling wine in the traditional method in the Okanagan, great acidity and very precise fruit.
Where are the grapes from? All the fruit that is used to make any Blue Mountain wine comes exclusively from our estate in Okanagan Falls. Pinot noir and chardonnay make up the majority of this wine with a splash of pinot gris to support the house style.
Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? Anything that is tasty! More specifically, oysters on a half shell (just have to find them up here in the Okanagan desert).
Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Too many to choose from as the quality of wines is increasing at a rapid pace. Riesling from Tantalus, syrah from Le Vieux Pin, pinot noir from CedarCreek….
What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? The dream is always to be drinking fantastic Burgundy (many options available) and also a few from the Northern Rhone, and don’t forget the winemaker’s friend during the hot days of summer and vintage – a nice cold bottle of beer. My pick is a nice clean pilsner with just the right amount of hops to refresh.