With spring coming on, it is long past time to discover – or rediscover – some of our own local BC white wine blends.
Sometimes the winemakers tell us what they’ve been up to… other times we get to guess what goes into their blends. Either way, the wines are almost always bright, crisp and very fruity!
Big Bucks Reserve White (561274) $9.99 is in the guessing category. It sings with all the bright gooseberry and kiwi fruit we expect from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc without that herbaceous, almost grassy, undercurrent.
Just outside of Penticton, Upper Bench Winery and Creamery combines growing fine wines with making elegant local cheeses. Gavin Miller leads the winemaking. His wife Shana Miller is head cheesemaker.
It might be tough to find a bottle of Upper Bench 2013 White (429498) $14.05 but it is well worth the trouble. Informed guesses might attribute some of the zesty green apple character to Pinot Blanc, that woodsy ‘dry’ citric undercurrent to bottle aged Chardonnay and the peach and apricot in the finish to a dash of Riesling.
Opened in May 2015, the hatch may be the quirkiest, punning-est, and all around most entertaining player in the Okanagan Valley’s broad sweep of quality wineries. Pour a glass and visit their website at thehatchwines.com and prepare to chuckle away and hour.
From the hatch winery, B.Yanco (772285) $16.90 is a lip-smacking blend of approximately 67 per cent Pinot Blanc grown in West Kelowna with 33 per cent Viognier from the hotter southern hinterlands of Osoyoos. The initial aromas and flavours of lemon and green apple slide into honeysuckle of ripe Viognier.
One of the oldest Vancouver Island wineries, Blue Grouse Estate Winery and Vineyard has been winning awards since Hans Kiltz and his wife Evangeline started making wine in 1992. Paul and Cristina Brunner purchased the winery in 2012 and continue the tradition of excellence.
An off-dry blend of Vancouver Island and Okanagan Valley grown grapes, Blue Grouse Quill White (494880) $17.99 combines 49 per cent Pinot Blanc, 40 per cent Pinot Auxerrois, 5 per cent Siegerrebe, 4 per cent Muller-Thurgau and 2 per cent Pinot Gris. This innovative blending adds some tropical ‘weight’ to the medley of apple, pear, peach and honeyed melon aromas and flavours.
Situated in the Lake Country district, north of Kelowna, Arrowleaf Cellars is a family run business owned and operated by Joe and Margrit Zuppiger and their son, Manuel who immigrated to Canada from Switzerland in 1986. In 1996 they purchased Suncrest Vineyard and Arrowleaf Cellars officially opened its doors in the spring of 2003 with its first vintages of 2001 reds and 2002 whites.
Grown in the Lake Country region of the Central Okanagan, Arrowleaf Snow Tropics (655241) $17.59 is a classic, cool-climate blend of 65 per cent Riesling and 35 per cent Gewürztraminer. Tropical fruit flavours and zingy acidity dominate, with lime, pineapple, mango, granny smith apple aromas and flavours clamoring for attention.
Pushing the envelope for politically correct packaging, Church &State Lost Inhibitions line of wines debuted in 2015.
A mouth filling blend of Viognier, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, Church &State’s Lost Inhibitions Lewd White (772392) $18.99 opens with aromas of apricot, nectarine, rose petal, jasmine and limey citrus zest. Rich honeyed peach, apricot and nectarine flavours follow up the aromatics.
Reputedly assembled from equal parts of Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Blanc, Wild Goose Autumn Gold (414755) $18.99 is one of those off-dry whites that manages to be dry enough to please some tastes and sweet enough for others. Peach and apricot aromas and flavours lead, with baked apple and candied orange rind sliding into ginger and even rose petal fragrance.
Originally planted and opened by Bill Montgomery in 2011, 40 Knots Estate Winery was revitalized when Layne Robert Craig &Brenda Hetman-Craig bought the winery and moved to Comox from Fort St.John in 2014. Shortly afterwards, Matt Dumayne came on as consulting winemaker.
The release of their ever popular and seductively silky 40 Knots Whitecaps (8243) $21.75 is a convincing testament to their commitment. Slow, cool fermentation of this blended white in stainless steel tanks retains sassy aromatics and provides a focused and lengthy mouthfeel that finishes with zingy, spicy, floral, tropical stone fruits.
Pick one to toast the incoming Spring!
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