Vancouver Sun wine expert Anthony Gismondi’s news from the wine and food world, recommended B.C. wine of the week, and a wine to add to your cellar.
One of B.C.’s newest designated wine regions is the Thompson Valley, nestled among the natural beauty of the North and South Thompson rivers in and around Kamloops.
The vineyards lie in the rain shadow of the high coastal mountains creating semi-arid conditions allowing winemakers to contemplate making a range of cool climate wines. This month the first official sub-GI labels rolled off the bottling line at Harper’s Trail.
Would you prefer to know it’s a wine from British Columbia or a wine from the Thompson Valley, British Columbia? I’m guessing you might want to know more about the 107 acres of vines and four wineries working with an average of 1,402 growing degree days — slightly warmer than Rio Negro, Argentina, and a little cooler than Germany’s famed Ruwer Valley.
• Thanks to Wine Bible author Karen McNeil for this appropriate Cabernet Sauvignon tidbit two weeks out from the Vancouver International Wine Festival.
“Some of the most riveting Cabernets throughout California have all traced their parentage back to three clones (or genetic subtypes), simply known as clones 07, 08, and 11. The three were imported from Bordeaux (allegedly from Château Margaux) by Irish immigrant James Concannon, founder of Concannon Vineyard in the Livermore Valley, east of San Francisco.
“Concannon’s agent in Bordeaux was the legendary San Francisco lawyer-turned-grapevine-dealer Charles Wetmore. While many clones died out during the Prohibition in the 1920s, the Bordeaux/Concannon clones survived the 13-year ban on wine. All thanks to Concannon’s reinvention of itself as the lead supplier of altar wine to the Archbishop of San Francisco.”
B.C. Wine of the week
Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 32 Vista’s Edge Cabernet Franc 2015, Okanagan Valley
$50 | 92/100
The Franc comes off a small, west facing slope (with a vista) on the most southerly part of eastern side of the valley. The nose and the attack are intense, with sleek black cherry notes and a dusting of cocoa. The palate is equally dense and hedonistic, with ripe blackcurrants, sweet cherry and the finest savoury underbelly that balances the fruit. Complex and layered, this wine will turn heads while making a compelling case for varietal Cabernet Franc. Bordelais in style, but with better fruit. Stock up collectors. Winery direct.
Wine for the cellar
Quails’ Gate Late Harvest Totally Botrytis Affected Optima 2017, Okanagan Valley
$28.99 (375mL) | 90/100
Optima is hardly a household name in B.C., but this Quails’ Gate label never seems to disappoint from its rich ginger, apricot, floral nose to its honey, ginger spicy lime/apricot fruit. The nose is weightier than this juicy dessert wine that dances on the palate with freshness and bright acidity. Impressive, mouth-filling and more complex than most icewines. Now that it’s under screw cap this is a great candidate for the cellar, where it should sleep effortlessly for years.
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