Picking Grapes is a new series that asks wine professionals to map out their complex relationships with British Columbian wines by citing the ignition point of their interest and some of their favourite wineries.
What was the BC wine that you first fell in love with? Do you remember where you were? What was the circumstance?
Obviously there have been a few. I recall many years ago I found an older Kettle Valley Reserve pinot noir in my cellar – 2002 or 2004 vintage – and could not believe the quality of that wine. It could easily have passed for a good producer in Burgundy.
What are three local wineries that fly somewhat under the radar?
Township 7, Kettle Valley, Sperling Vineyards.
If you could work in just one local winery for just one harvest, which would it be and why?
Mt. Boucherie/Rust winery. I have been friends with Jesse and Kane for years. They would be overjoyed in seeing me sweat during a harvest. And the fun factor would be legendary. I love how they have improved the quality of those two wineries.
Can you recommend one local, emblematic-of-BC red wine for someone who didn’t even know wine was made here? What would it be and why?
I think something of a Bordeaux blend — a richer fruit forward style that most people enjoy. Some very talented winemakers have figured out how to balance power and finesse. Table-side I have seen the acceptance of this — very different from 15-20 years ago. Try Blind Creek Collective Consensus 2015.
What about a white?
This is a tie between chardonnay and riesling, I’ve personally challenged many a tourist on trying these two varietals from our backyard — to reactions of amazement on the quality. Checkmate Little Pawn 2014, & Sperling Old Vine Riesling 2012.
And finally, a rosé?
Sea Star or Mireille Sauve’s Dames Wine. The rosé train has been full steam ahead for many years now. We are creating some world class rosés!