If you’ve ever been to the Vancouver International Wine Festival Friday awards lunch, you know Brad Royale. He’s the scarved and stylish young man collecting nearly all the wine list awards for Alberta. As the respected Wine Director for Rocky Mountain Resorts he oversees the purchasing, training and wine lists for 16 properties in AB and BC, is one of Alberta’s most important fine wine buyers, holds a couple of wine diplomas and is one of Canada’s national wine judges. Though Royale is a pretty sweet surname, he is also known as Canada’s wine poet laureate, with his singular and spectacular notes like “A sheer rock race covered with brussel sprouts and lemon pith.. the body has taken on some rolls… getting plumpy.. fat you can slurp.” (2010 Dönnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling GG).
In 2012, Royale launched his own micro-négociant wine label, Kitten Swish, making tiny lots of wines around the globe as well as designing the label and packaging for each.
Kitten Swish 2014 Target Practice | $40 | The warm and floral Target Practice Cabernet Franc is a joint project between Royale and the Okanagan Valley’s Laughing Stock Winery. This wine comes from a young cabernet franc vineyard in west Osoyoos, 70% of which was whole cluster, before aging in one sole puncheon. Abundant and perfumed red florals and lush raspberry lay on a bed of thorny wild blackberry, sweet tobacco and brambles. The soft, sandy soils are expressed in the gentle expansiveness of the palate; a core of bramble berry, plum and wild thyme stretches out and relaxes in the glass with time, finishing with a finely rasped pink peppercorn. Though full bodied and generous, long tannins are spun silk textured and acidity is naturally lifted. Quite pretty, while powerful, this is a unique cabernet franc worth setting your sights on. Fifty cases made. Follow: @kittenswish.