Thursday, May 27, 2010

Best of BC: Gewurztraminer

One cannot define, with a single sentence, the Okanagan Valley's climate and selection of diverse terroir except, perhaps, to state that "it is perfect for growing Gewurztraminer". Gerwurztraminer excels in the warm areas of cool climate regions which fits the Okanagan Valley to a tee. The valley's winemakers are also excelling in their own right using cool fermentation methods to preserve the natural aromatic qualities of the varietal producing an array of different Gewurztraminers to choose from. The wines, ranging from bone-dry to ice wine, showcase the uniqueness of each planted area in the valley and reflect the winemaker's vision for the final product.

The following Gewurztraminers, organized by price point, represent the best the province has to offer:

$20 and below:

2010 Oak Bay Estate Winery - $16.50
Classic Alsatian "Goo" flavours of lychee, spice and citrus fruits follow on the well-balanced, full-bodied palate with a touch of residual sugar, good acidity and a long finish with lingering peppery lemon. Where to buy: Direct from winery and VQA stores.
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2009 Nichol Vineyard Estate Winery - $17
A healthy perception of sweetness due to concentrated flavours of lychee, ripe white peach and Bartlet pears is balanced nicely with a medium acidic kick of lemon. Savoury spices linger on the moderate-plus finish. Where to buy: Direct from winery.
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2010 Tinhorn Creek - $17.99
Off-dry and richly aromatic with mountains of spice on the medium intense nose and full palate. Stonefruit, citrus and peach fruit characters aplenty with a well-balanced, long finish. Where to buy: Direct from winery, BCLDB and VQA stores.
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2010 Dirty Laundry Vineyard's Woo Woo Vines - $17.99
Summerland's Dirty Laundry Vineyard makes a stunning three single-vineyard Gewurztraminers - this one, from the winery's oldest plantings of the Germanic varietal, offers an excellent balance of off-dry sweetness and crisp acidity, wrapped nicely in a loving embrace of candied fruit and river rock minerality. Where to buy: Direct from winery and VQA stores.
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2009 Thornhaven Estate Winery - $17.99
Very full and oily in the mouth but appropriate levels of acidity help to add balance resulting in a bold expression of the Alsatian varietal. Seekers of subtle, dry "Goo" need not apply. Where to buy: Direct from winery and VQA stores.
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$20 and above:

Desert Hills Estate Winery - $23
The nose will brighten the day of even the most determined of grouches with lovely rose petal, perfume, tangerine and sweet lychee fruit aromas. The palate is fresh and crisp with some residual sugar, but nothing the tart acidity can't balance effortlessly. Where to buy: Direct from winery.
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