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BC Wine


paul mitchell
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Even though I have been critical of the BC wine industry while partaking in this forum, I find it inspiring that some regard it so highly. Perhaps it has a future.

Not only do BC residents feel strongly, so do others who vist our province from abroad. I don't think I will spend my hard earned dollars on BC wine yet but maybe someday. I'm sure this should serve as an inspiration to all those winemakers in the Okanagan.

David Cooper

"I'm no friggin genius". Rob Dibble

http://www.starlinebyirion.com/

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I think BC whites are pretty good and there are some good values out there. Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc are good bets - I liked Wild Goose, Blasted Church and Tinhord Creek Pinot Gris lately. Actually the whole line up of whites at Blasted Church was pretty good this year. The Mission Hill Pinot Grigio isn't my style, but it is well made and has its fans. Hester Creek Pinot Blanc at about $11.00 is a good sipper. I don't drink a lot of chardonnay but I agree with Merlin that what is coming out of BC is much better than the industrial stuff coming from California and Australia and prices are much better. Reislings are coming along and again, at the sipper level, there are some good value choices like Geringer Brothers. I liked the Wild Goose Stony Slope too, didn'tget a chance to try their regular bottling.

I'm less enthused about the reds, even though there are some good ones emerging, more because of the relatively prices than anything else. However I don't believe BC wineries are highly subsidized and I would guess there is far more government subsidy going into California and Australian wineries than there is in BC. And certainly agricultural subsidies in France are commonplace. While there are lots of great wines produced in those areas, there's lots of crap too. There's tanker loads of industrial reds from California and especially Australia being sold at some pretty prices. But the hot climate jammy reds are in fashion with a lot of the market, so they are doing well despite their manufactured origins. In BC I liked Note Bene, but not enought to buy more than one bottle, and found the Fairview Cellars reds to be good value.

It is hard to find BC wines made by smaller producers unless you go to the winery or are on a mailing list, but hey there's a ton of good wine out there so why sweat it. I enjoy an annual trip to the Okanagan and buy some wine, ask my favourite product consultant at the liquor store for recommendations, go to tastings at the VQA store once in a while, see what's recommended at the private wine stores, and seem to end up with way more wine than I can drink once the rest of the wine world is factored in. So if I miss out on some Poplar Grove, Burrowing Owl or Blue Mountain big deal, there's lots of other good choices?

I think the wine industry in BC is getting its act together and whether it has taken "too" long or not doesn't really matter to me, I'm looking at what's here now. I don't go out of my way to buy BC wines, but I don't ignore them either. I'm always trying new wines, BC or otherwise, and mostly you have to rely on recommendations from people you trust. The Village VQA stores at Dunbar and Edgemont have free tastings every weekend, you can try BC wines for free and decide for yourself whether or not to buy them,

Cheers,

Anne

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  • 1 month later...

Still jere Paul and sipping on a glass of Geringer Brothers reisling that is very tasty.

Are you going to the Naramata Bench release on April 20th at the Roundhouse Community Centre? It will feature wines form 10 wineries from the Naramata Bench and food by some pretty good restaurants from Vancouver and Naramata.

More information can be found on Tony Gismondi's website: www.gismondionwine.com at the left side of the home page near the bottom.

Cheers,

Barolo

Cheers,

Anne

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I can't resist and just have to chime in on this. I too, in the past, have thought that no good can come from buying or drinking BC wine. But I must confess, that following a trip to the Okanagan some years ago (1997) I decided to bring my nose down to sea level and give BC wines a chance. We now have a sizable cellar of BC wines and I can heartily recommend many wines at all price points.

In particular, I love the Blue Mountain wines - the Pinot Noir, the Gamay Noir and the Pinot Gris. Their Brut is a staple in our home and we always serve it with appetizers. It is just plain wonderful. I am a big fan of Ian's Pinot Noir and have never been disappointed. We still have some 1997 Pinot Noir Stripe label and recently opened a bottle - it was wonderful paired with a beef tenderloin.

We also really enjoy the La Frenz wines - the Vigonier, the Semillion and the Pinot Gris are wonderful. So far, however, not very enthusiastic about the 1997 Cab but it was the first year for this varietal at La Frenz and we are hopeful that the other vintages we have will "come good" as the Australians say.

Red Rooster is always an easy wine to drink and I agree with the previous review about the Meritage. Their Gewurtz with the takeout food from Vij's is a made-in-BC delight. For everyday drinking their Merlot is good, but I still think the Tinhorn Merlot is one of the most reliable and just plain old delicious every-night wines we drink. I always enjoy opening Tinhorn wines and can vouch for the Pinot Noir and the Gewurtz as well.

I have recently come to appreciate the Sumac Ridge wines - prior to the Vincor acquisition so I hope nothing changes there. We are going to have a vertical tasting of a 96, 97 and 98 Cab from Sumac tomorrow as well as a vertical of the Merlot and Meritage. I will let you know what we think.

As has been mentioned by others, the Note Bene and Burrowing Owl reds are also very good and are very food-friendly wines. A true find are the Fairview Mountain reds - and they are improving with every year.

I agree that I can buy wine as good and likely better from Aus, France or Calif for the same price perhaps. But to me, that isn't the point. For me, the delight I get in spending time at the winery, learning about the industry and understanding what actually went into the bottle I am about to drink makes all the difference.

I have an office job, albeit in an incredible risky business, but I certainly don't put in near the sweat, blood and tears my dear friends, the Okanagan wineries, put into their product. They are, when all is said and done, farmers. They are subject to the whims of Mother Nature - frost when you don't expect it, rain when you don't need it and on occaison, too much sun and terrifying fires. But they struggle through and put their product in the bottle for me to enjoy. Then they have to deal with our arcane tax structure, a ridiculous marketing monopoly and our fear of acknowledging home-grown talent.

So, when I have a choice, which I do when I drink wine, I choose to drink BC wine to support my local community. I am grateful that I can get in my car, drive for 5 hours and get to talk to people who love their product and want to share it with me. I can't do that with the Australian, Californian or French wine. I also try to buy BC produce, fruits and meats for the same reasons. If I have a choice, I want to encourage those who take far greater risks to earn a living than I do as a salaried employee.

I don't particulary see myself as a blind loyalist - I just believe that BC wine is good and I want to encourage them to stay the course. I know that they will continue to improve and I will be the beneficiary. I hope that others will give BC wine a chance and open their minds as well as their palates. Not all BC wines are great, but I promise you will find some you like. And by drinking locally, you help to ensure we continue to have broad and diverse choices, not what some corporate campaign can sell at the provincial wine store. Support our local industry and they can and will improve.

Cheers,

Karole

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I think we need to put things into perspective here. The BC wine industry is very young in comparison to the rest of the world. The oldest red wine vineyard in BC (which I beleive is Inniskillin's Darkhorse vineyard) is merely a teenager. So of course we haven't produced many remarkable reds yet. Also, it takes decades of trial and error to find specific microclimates and soils, and which grapes are best suited to those sites. BC is a baby, give it time to grow. I think it is remarkable that we produce anything reasonably drinkable at this stage. And there are a few impressive examples, be they fluke or master wine-making. Poplar Grove and Blue Mountain are a few that come to mind. And Grey Monk makes a few chuggably delicious German varietals priced in the teens, nothing exceptionally complex, just yummy everyday swag.

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  • 3 weeks later...

aaah Note BEne, Black Hills so tasty! and all i can say is the Inniskilin, Meritage.. what value, i think $25, worth so much more!

DANIELLE

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

-Virginia Woolf

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Not only do BC residents feel strongly, so do others who vist our province from abroad. I don't think I will spend my hard earned dollars on BC wine yet but maybe someday. I'm sure this should serve as an inspiration to all those winemakers in the Okanagan.

Coop is harsh.... If you have all this hard-earned money to go out to dinner, then why not check out Gismondi's website, or even the vancouver Magazine's Top 50 BC Wines in the 2004 eating and drinking guide? I'm sure by now you know your palate and could find some nice red that ages well.

Here's my two cents: the Sumac Rideg Steller Jay's Brut is a good substitute for the $50 bottle of French champagne I had the week before. It was a very good Xmas holiday.

I also had the pleasure of visiting the Wolf Blass winery in South Australia. Granted the Aussies have a hell of a lot of cheap good wine (especially on a backpacking budget). The Wolf Blass Black Label rocks - it's soooo hard to go back to wine in a cask after you've tried a sip of the A$130 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz.... But for great value, you have to try the more affordable 2001 Brown label Classic Shiraz - great finish, chocolate flavors, a v.g. aussie shiraz.

the only down side to wine in Oz? The country was awash in its own wines, and the stores reflected that - hard to get anything else other than European... (I missed that diversity in the Canadian LDB) :raz:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can you name this wine?

I'm hoping someone can help me. My wife and I just returned to Calif. from a long weekend in Vancouver. We had dinner at Bis Moreno. Because I was running the marathon on Sunday, I didn't order any wine, but my wife had a glass of a BC red wine. I tried it, not expecting much, but was very pleasantly surprised. It was, in my nonexpert opinion, an excellent wine. Unfortunately, I didn't write down any of the details. I remember only that it was a 2000 reserve of some sort and it was $16 per glass. (There were only 2 BC reds by the glass on the wine list, the other being a 2001 for $12.) Does anyone out there know what it was (and, better yet, how I can purchase a bottle or two)?

Edited by arkestra (log)
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Well, you were vague enough to allow for anything, but here goes.

La Frenz Merlot

Black Hills Nota Bene

Kettle Valley Cab Reserve

Poplar Grove Reserve

Those would be my choices, sounding about right on the price point. . .

Why don't you check their website?

btw, I don't think you can get any of those except maybe directly from the winery. . . . I'm pretty sure they all ship only to restaurants. . . . anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Good Luck!

I'm no expert on the restaurant industry, but I know a thing or two about drug abuse ...

-Daddy-A (Kitchen Troll)

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gastropimp:

Not a correction per se, but Black Hills will ship to individual customers. They just released their new vintage of Note Bene a few weeks ago.

Not sure about La Frenz [have only had their wines in west coast restaurants], Kettle Valley or Poplar Grove.

I have seen the occasional bottle of KV or PG in our wine stores but it is an increasingly rare occasion and the pricing horrendous. I think one of the big liquor store chains carries a Cab Franc from PG which I was going to pick up until I saw that it was priced at about $70 to $75.

I'll have to check but one of the better wine stores was to start stocking La Frenz. Which varietals and at what quantity I do not know.

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Liberty Wines in Park Royal has had it in stock now for around two weeks.

Bought three bottles so far, may pick up a few more this week.

Curious about the Osoyoos Larose I've been reading about. Should be released next week. A friend of mine tried barrel samples and said it was quite good.

slowfood/slowwine

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"T":

For what it is worth, the May 2004 issue of Wine Access which arrived in the mail today contains an article by John Schreiner, "Quite A Debut...Both Canadian and French partners surprised by the quality of the first vintage of Osoyoos Larose.".

In an insert it reviews it at 88 pts and observes:

Says that it a bordeaux blend of 66% merlot, 25% cab sauv and 9% cab franc.

"A fine effort from a fairly miserable vintage"

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I think the Larose was going to sell at around $35.00 per bottle. Cheap enough to buy a few, drink one now to see it's aging potential, one in a few years time and one to sell at stup prices to those willing to pay.

Better than buying Nortel shares.

Well at least until Nortel goes down to below $3.00 again.

slowfood/slowwine

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I got to try both the bottled 2001 and barrel samples of the components for 2003. I may pick up a couple bottles of the 2001 out of interest but it is made from very young vines and had a few 'bumps' in it that are not uncommon in a first vintage from any winery. Provided nothing goes wrong between now and bottling I will be intereted in getting more of the 2003 vintage and maybe even 2002 depending on how it turns out. It sells for $35 at the winery or in wine shops without a mark up (ie, VQA stores).

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Well, we may not have a lot of "great" wines, but there are a lot of perfectly drinkable BC wines. I like the Lemberger from Blasted Church, and Burrowing Owl, especially the whites. I like some of the Summerhill stuff too- the Baco Noir is good if you want something off dry to sip. I have never been that into to BC but lately I keep finding my self ducking into Broadway International to see if there is anything interesting- and it seems like more and more of what I am bringing home is BC.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Just got back from a weekend in the Okanagan, for our annual resupply mission.

Spent a couple nights at the Naramata Heritage Inn & Spa. It's a great looking place, nice and quiet, but I think they put the word "Heritage" in the name to justify why the rooms are so small and have only a couple of hard wooden chairs for furniture. The beds are very comfortable, though. Got the best sleep I've had since Christmas.

Spent Friday evening in the Cobblestone Wine Bar at the Inn, where we had a terrific bottle of Blue Mountain Pinot Noir, along with a few very nice, very reasonably priced dishes. Great live entertainment by "Bad Parkers", a local band. I was afraid from the name that they'd be C&W, but it was mostly classic soft rock. Also had lunch on the terrace at the Mission Hill winery, which was excellent, and a dinner at Sumac Ridge's Cellar Door Bistro, which was a bit of a disappointment compared with our experience there a couple of years ago. The food just wasn't the same.

Picked up about as much wine as the Mazda could haul back along Hwy 3: notably some Red Rooster and Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris', Sumac Ridge Meritage, Gehringer Bros Pinot Noir, Summerhill BlauFrankisch, and an assortment of fruit wines from Elephant Island. Also dropped about a hundred bucks in the slots beside some blue haired ladies at the casino in Penticton. Great coffee at Hog's Breath cafe!

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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  • 1 year later...

Ding, Ding, Ding.. Houston we have a winner

Loving:

La Frenz Viognier

Joie Noble Blend

Laughing Stock Portfolio

:biggrin:

sarah

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was. --Unknown

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I would look for these wines:

2004 Black Hills Nota Bene

2004 Sumac Ridge "White Pinnacle" (this is awesome if you are a Caymus Conundrum Fan)

2004 Ken Winchester Pinot Noir and or the Cab/Sauv

2003 Alderlea Pinot Noir (decent value at $22)

2004 Venturi-Schulze Milli Fiori

2004 Gray Monk "Odyssey" Pinot Gris

JOIE has a very unique unoaked Chardonnay Musque with a small amount of botrisyzed (sic) pinot blanc.

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....Laughing Stock Portfolio....

I have heard positive things about this wine although I could not bring myself to spend that much on this wine (better places to sink my cash for less). Does anyone recall the article about BC wine pricing. I think it was about how BC wines are pricing themselves out of the market. I thought it was in City Food (sic).

officially left egullet....

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....

2004 Sumac Ridge "White Pinnacle" (this is awesome if you are a Caymus Conundrum Fan)....

Always good wines coming out of SR. I do not think Conundrum is carrying Caymus on the label anymore. I recall there was a shift to only produce Cab's there.

officially left egullet....

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