Sunday, March 15, 2015

Monthly Picks: March '15 - March Meritage!

In honour of the upcoming NCAA Men's Basketball tournament, affectionately known as "March Madness", this month's wine picks feature a selection of our favourite BC Meritage blends from the past year.

River Stone Estate Winery 2011 Corner Stone - $28.50
Certainly, a refreshing Meritage with mouth-watering acidity, mannered tannins and lots of wild berry fruit supported by oak, sage brush and spice box flavours on the palate. Ready to go now with mid-range ageing potential.
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Fort Berens Estate Winery 2012 Meritage - $29
The components follow a Right-bank recipe of 72% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, delivering a masculine wine with firm, blue fruit and underlying layers of savoury notes like toasted oak, cured meat and coffee grinds.
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Gold Hill Winery 2012 Family Reserve Meritage - $35
A nice entry into the popular 'big-blend' category for the Golden Mile-based winery from the Southern Okanagan. A sweetly scented, feminine nose billows from the glass with engaging, blackberry, cassis, raspberry seeds, pine needles, sweet pipe tobacco, vanilla-mocha and French oak aromas.
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Serendipity Winery 2010 Reserve Serenata - $40
A dense and meaty red blend of Bordeaux varieties, delivering concentrated aromas of cassis, plum chutney, black cherry, anise, menthol, incense, toasted oak and eucalyptus on the complex nose. The dry, mouth-watering palate offers good continuity from the nose with concentrated, dark fruit flavours and added savoury elements from French oak and coffee grinds.
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Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2011 Meritage - $45
A dense, masculine blend of Bordeaux varieties that opens with a complex nose of cool blackberry, wild red currant, menthol, black cherry, coffee grinds, cardamom and baking spice aromas. The medium-plus bodied palate is loaded with brooding, dark fruit and toasted oak flavours, with light, savoury notes adding depth.
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Black Hills Estate Winery 2012 Nota Bene - $55
The latest edition sees a whopping 57% Merlot mixed with 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cabernet Franc and despite the changes, the 2012 offers good typicity for the iconic brand suggesting the vineyard site is the most dominant influence over the finished wine and not the finite percentages of the main components.
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Painted Rock Estate Winery 2012 Red Icon - $55
Though the components change year-to-year, Painted Rock's Red Icon is an exceptionally consistent, high-end blend that successfully executes its but de vie to deliver complex, New World flavours wrapped in an elegant, Old World structure.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Photo Album - Fairview Cellars

After many trips through the Okanagan Valley to visit its wineries and meet the folks behind the great wines on offer, I've accumulated many photographs over the years.

Though most BC wine connoisseurs have, by now, tasted the fantastic red wines of Fairview Cellars, many have yet to visit in person - 'a must' to fully appreciate everything that goes into the bottle. These photos were taken from many different visits to the Golden Mile Bench winery.

Fairview Cellars sign - miss this and you miss the turn

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Get To Know... Jim Faulkner

Photo courtesy Mt. Boucherie Winery
Jim Faulkner
Vintner, Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
West Kelowna, BC

After stints in various positions at CedarCreek, Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Church and State, Jim Faulkner took on the head winemaker duties at West Kelowna's Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery in 2009.

Over the past 6 years, Faulkner has helped to elevate the quality of the wines at the family run Mt. Boucherie and the firm has been collecting medals for their efforts.

Get to know Jim and get to know Mt. Boucherie's wines a bit better...

Key Wines To Try:
Family Reserve Chardonnay: 2011
Family Reserve Gamay Noir: 2012
Sémillon: 2011

1. What do you enjoy most about making wine?
Everyday day is different. Some days it’s in the vineyards, some days it’s squishing grapes, some days it’s physical, some days it’s social, but every day is good.

2. What inspired you to become a winemaker?
Winemaking was something that was not planned. I had just left the nightclub industry and was open to a new career. I took some time off to ponder my future. Took a crush job to fill in some time, and fell in love with the industry. It was really exciting to see and taste how things changed daily. Went to winemaking school and here I am today.

3. What causes you the most stress during harvest?
If I am all planned out, not a lot can stress me. Perhaps the weather, it’s about the only thing I can’t plan for.

4. What is your favourite and/or least favourite wine cliché?
I not a big fan of the term “wine diamonds”. They are tartrates.

5. Away from the cellar and vineyard, what’s your greatest passion in life?
Spending time with my wife and two children. Preferably in a foreign country with wineries and vineyards.

6. After a long day of work in the cellar, what do you turn to for refreshment?
A Beefeater 24 Gin martini with three olives. Gently stirred, not shaken.

7. If you could take credit for one other BC wine on the market today, which would it be and why?
There are wines out there that I like to drink and I wish I had made, but I can’t take credit for somebody else’s efforts.

8. Of the wines in your portfolio, do you have a favourite food pairing to go with one of the wines?
If I could be greedy here, I would have two wines paired with the same dish. The 2012 Family Reserve Chardonnay and the 2010 Family Reserve Pinot Noir both paired with mushroom risotto.

9. What do you think will be the next big trend in BC wine over the next few years?
Sub appellations, or at least people lobbying for them.

10. Screwcap or cork? What’s your preference?
Tough question. They both have their place in the market. I have had some really nice wines in both. Not all lesser quality wines go in screw. Nor do all better quality wines go in cork. If I was forced to give an answer and could not find a corkscrew, I would have to say screwcap.

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015