Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cowichan Valley - Part 2

Words and Photos by Liam Carrier
Edited by Sheila MacCallum

Twenty-Two Oaks Winery
The second stop of the day was Twenty-two Oaks Winery, the valley’s newest firm. Pinot Noir, Marechal Foch, Cabernet Franc and Tempranillo vines were planted in 2007 but have yet to produce a first vintage. The winery recently opened their tasting room, pouring wines that were produced for them by Summerland’s Adora Estate Winery: a Pinot Gris and two red blends: a Syrah-Merlot-Gamay and a Syrah-Foch.

I didn’t take the time to properly review or score these wines as they are not representative of what the winery will produce in the years to come. Of the current wines for sale, the Syrah-Foch blend is worth a try but at $22 is a bit over-priced. I look forward to tasting their first vintage, which may not be available until Spring 2011 – especially Vancouver Island’s first Tempranillo.

Zanatta Winery and Vineyards

The next stop was to the island’s oldest winery and vinfera plantings; Zanatta Winery and Vineyards who offer a flight of both sparkling and table wines. Named for the now-deceased family patriarch, the winemaking is currently headed by daughter, Loretta Zanatta, who specializes in Champagne-style sparkling wines. Sadly, the tasting was limited to the current still wines on offer which was disappointing. I would have happily paid for a taste of their flagship sparklers. Unfortunately, I was left with tasting a flight of table wines that overall seemed as though they were produced as an afterthought.

At Zanatta we tasted:

2008 Ortega - $15.95Produced yearly from 1989 and commercially available since the winery opened in 1992. A decent dry white with some layers of fruit flavours. 82pts.

2008 Pinot Grigio - $17.95A stainless-steel fermented bland Pinot lacking acidity and complexity. 80pts.

N/V Damasco - $15.95This is a non-vintage blend of four varieties that has an intense floral-perfume nose but falls flat on the palate with muted acidity and tropical fruit flavours. 80pts

2007 Pinot Nero - $21.95This was the best of the bunch and would make a nice accompaniment to roasted duck in a fruit-based sauce. Decent acidity and berry flavours, medium tannins and finish. 84pts

I was left feeling disappointed and annoyed that the winery wouldn’t show off what some of the locals had raved about: their sparkling wines – even for a fee. On a positive note, the restaurant/wine bar attached to the winery looks interesting and inviting. Should I have more time upon my next visit I will give it a try. All wine can be improved by a judicious pairing with food.

In part 3: Godfrey-Brownell Vineyards...

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