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.
Today we put our Picking Grapes questions to Cody Dodds, Wine Director at The Mackenzie Room in Railtown. “The Mackenzie Room is the second restaurant that I have worked at to serve an all BC wine and beer list. Since I was 19 years old, buying, selling and consuming local product is all I have known.”
What was the BC wine that you first fell in love with?
Tantalus’ 2015 Old Vine Riesling was the first BC Wine that I would say I ever loved. It was one of the few BC wines I was able to get in Toronto. I tried to sell it to every possible guest I could. This was my favourite way to boast that I was a BC boy and that we had killer juice. The balance of citrus, stone fruit and minerality was enough to make your mouth water, but was only the beginning of the layers that that wine has.
What are three local wineries that don’t get as much recognition as they deserve?
Echo Bay – I can’t say enough great things about Kelsey. What she is doing on her family farm is inspirational and delicious. Kelsey’s use of cover crops, preparations and compost on a small-scale farm I believe will be the blueprint for others in the near future.
Lightning Rock – Jordan, Tyler and now Finn (their newborn son) are focused on light and fresh wines with a respect for vineyard expression. I think Finn is doing most of the heavy lifting these days.
Daydreamer – This was the first winery I visited when I came home to BC. Marcus is a Master Sommelier making world-class wines and his vineyard has a spectacular lake view in the morning. He really got it right.
If you could work in just one local winery for just one harvest, which would it be and why?
Echo Bay – The scale of the winery, its practices and the focus on later ripening varietals makes this my dream place to do harvest. As someone who has never done harvest before, I couldn’t imagine a better place to learn about organic and biodynamic farming. They also have a trampoline from the 1970’s to jump on. I can’t say that influenced my decision….but it may have.
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?
Nichol Old Vine Syrah – The Okanagan is filled with people planting varietals new to the region to see how they do. That’s what Nichol did with their Syrah 28 years ago. My love for history, wine and BC is all wrapped up in this wine and we love having it on our list at TMR.
What about a white?
Little Engine Chardonnay – I think for anyone who is just getting into wine should stop in at Little Engine and a do a flight of their chardonnays. The wine is always produced at a very high quality, but it’s by drinking them side-by-side that you are able to understand how a wine changes because of malolactic fermentation and extended oak aging.
And finally, a rosé?
Synchromesh Cab Franc Rose – Is it delicious? Yes! That is always the first question I ask myself when tasting wines. If it isn’t delicious and doesn’t pair with our food the conversation usually stops there. This rose enhances Sean’s food with its notes of grapefruit, melon and apple.