Wines from BC – #ONtastesBC

The January 19th Vintages release at the LCBO includes some amazing releases from our friends out west. I have been fortunate over the past 12 months to participate in a number of promotions for Ontario wine and I am a strong supporter. But I have been chomping at the bit to try more wines from BC. They keep so much of their quality product to themselves and ship so little out that it’s often tough to get a read on what’s happening in the West. But on Thursday, January 24th we venture out to British Columbia with a live Twitter discussion under the hashtag #ONtastesBC. To prep for this discussion I pre-tasted 6 wines from BC which are being released by Vintages this Saturday.

I don’t want to give away all my thoughts and notes prior to the Twitter event, but these 6 wines will makeup the bulk of the discussion. My tasting notes on each wine are below.

Gray Monk, 2011, Gewurztraminer Pale lemon and a bit watery in appearance with intense floral aromas that jump out of the glass alongside honeydew, stone and some tropical fruits. On the palate it’s a bit more mellow than I would have expected. Extremely easy drinking with fruit so rich it almost comes off with a bit of sweetness. Pair with Asian or Indian food. LCBO: #321588 Price: $19.95 Recommendation: Consider Trying Score: 88

Quails’ Gate, 2011, Chardonnay Very nice aromas and a big bouquet for a chardonnay. The aroma’s of vanilla, toast, oak, and red apple jump out of the glass. There is really a lot going on. On the palate however it lacks as the vanilla takes over and dominates a bit. The apple comes on, but too little too late. Pair with chicken, pasta and seafood. LCBO: #377770 Price: $21.95 Recommendation: Don’t Bother Score: 85 Mission-Hill--Reserve-Chardonnay-2010 Mission Hill Reserve, 2010, Chardonnay Beautiful lemon/gold colour starts off in the glass. The aroma’s are well integrated with oak, vanilla, peach, and apple and then even some tropical fruits coming through as the wine warms up. On the palate the oak is well integrated with flavours of peach, toast, nuts, vanilla, and butter. Pair with your next Thanksgiving turkey dinner and don’t look back. LCBO: #545004 Price: $19.95 Recommendation: Must Try Score: 89 Eau-Vivre-Pinot-Noir-2008 Eau Vivre, 2008, Pinot Noir Almost a hint of brown or tauny mixed in with the beautiful ruby colour. On the nose you get some cooked cherry, earth, and violet notes and overall very strong aromatics. On the palate this wine bursts with flavour and shows it’s true colours. Cherry, earth and cigar smoke are all beautifully integrated with soft tannins, nice acidity, and a great lingering finish. An overall beautiful, soft, pinot noir. Excellent value at $22. LCBO: #308353 Price: $21.95 Recommendation: Must Try Score: 91 Osoyoos-Larose-Grand-Vin-2008 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin, 2008 Truth be told I have wanted to try this wine for years and have almost bought it on multiple occasions. I was not disappointed A robust blend of Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot this wine is huge and full of flavour. You’ll find dark fruit and even espresso on the nose. Plus, if you’ve ever smelled pipe smoke you’ll also notice that in the aromatics. On the palate you get a soft mouthfeel which just coats your mouth with velvety tannins that you almost can’t even notice. This is a perfectly balanced wine with the longest finish I have tasted in awhile and although it’s a big red red wine you could easily find yourself sipping this without hesitation. Pair with red meat and game. LCBO: #626325 Price: $45.95 Recommendation: Must Try Score: 92 Mission-Hill-Quatrain-2008 Mission Hill Quatrain, 2009 A blend of Merlot, Syrah, Cab Sauv, and Cab Franc this one was a surprise to me as I hadn’t heard much about it. It bursts out of the glass with beautiful dark colour then dark fruit, cigar smoke, and the smell of a cellar. On the palate you get a multi layered wine with the fruit jumping out first before the tannins hit your cheeks. Then it closes with the cigar smoke which lingers on your palate for awhile. It is so well integrated I had to taste it about 10 times to make my true assessment. Not that I minded. A perfect pairing with prime rib or really any good red meat. LCBO: #218636 Price: $41.95 Recommendation: Must Try Score: 93

If you want more information or want to give your own thoughts join the discussion next Thursday, January 24th and follow the hashtag #ONtastesBC. Many wine writers and experienced critics from around Ontario will be joining the discussion. Talk to you then.

– Mark
Follow me on Twitter: @towineman