Wake up to the excellence of our own BC red wines!

What is it going to take for us to learn to stop and smell the Rosés?

In our rush to embrace the sophisticated world of wines available to us, we often overlook what’s right on our doorstep.

What is it going to take for us to learn to stop and smell the Rosés… or even notice what amazing red wines are being made here in British Columbia?

Over the last 30 years, our own Okanagan Valley wines have gone from good to great.  Over the last 10 years, many of our British Columbian wines have gone well past greatness and climbed into a category that can justifiably be called exceptional.

Amazingly affordable Kindle Merlot (596098) $9.15 is a straight forward treatment of the Okanagan Valley’s most widely grown red wine grape. Dominated by flavours and aromas of blueberry, plum and dark cherry. It finishes with subtle notes of cocoa and vanilla.

The third annual British Columbia Pinot Noir Celebration took place in Kaleden, B.C. on Aug. 22. The celebration brought together passionate Pinot Noir producers in the province and gave guests an insiders kind of experience with winemakers and winery principals and – at the same time – built a lot of knowledge and excitement about B.C. Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir is tough to grow and tough to produce. But the end result when done well is a silky medium-bodied red with strawberry, cherry and raspberry flavours that lyrically and magically linger. Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Series Pinot Noir (90951) $14.75 manages to maintain the magic from first sip to last drop.

Chris Jentsch had been growing grapes for decades when he and a group of friends pondered what they would do differently if they could go back 40 years…and the answers were all the same – take more risks. This stayed with Chris and fuelled the fire to turn his estate grown fruit into good, honest wine.

The eye opening CC Jentsch Cabernet Merlot  (428342) $16.85 is a blend of 43 per cent Cabernet Franc, 37 per cent Merlot, and 20 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon. Dusty prune and peppery blackberry flavours set this sturdy red apart from the average Okanagan wine.

Moraine is a family-owned winery and vineyard overlooking Okanagan Lake, located just minutes from the city of Penticton. From its shelf-like location above striking clay bluffs, Moraine peers over the landscape and water. These iconic glaciated white clay cliffs comprise the breathtaking Naramata Bench and inspire the winery’s land-formed name.

A tantalizingly tasty blend of Malbec and Merlot Moraine Cliffhanger Red (782268) $17.30 features nostril flaring and mouth watering aromas of raspberries, blackberries, and blackcurrant married together with mocha and dark chocolate. Exceptional value in this boutique red blend!

The philosophy at Bench 1775 is to capture the full expression of grapes grown in vibrantly healthy and balanced vineyards. They manage the winemaking to allow for the natural expression of the grapes. They believe that great wines start in the vineyard, so all of their vineyard sites were analyzed in detail before being planted with clones and rootstocks best adapted to the soils and the climate of their sites.

This philosophy shows in the intensity of all of their wines including BENCH 1775 Cabernet Franc Malbec (645580) $23.35. Deep rich red, this wine seduces the senses with aromas of earthy pepper, cassis, and liquorice. On the palate savoury sage, plum, cassis, earth and liquorice combine for an interesting complex interplay of flavours.

Synchromesh Wines is a small, family run operation focused on producing terroir-driven, world class Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. They practice sustainable techniques, using no-chemical farming, natural low cropping, extensive and hands-off employment of indigenous yeasts and they use no additives or high-tech manipulations in winemaking. They have a holistic philosophy, ensuring every aspect of the farm and winery helps to support their business ecosystem and philosophies.

Syncromesh Turtle Rock Farms Tertre Rouge (239103) $36.35 is unfined and unfiltered. A blend of 50 per cent Cabernet Franc and 50 per cent Merlot it is named after the evocative corner of the Le Mans racing circuit in France. This is a single vineyard wine from Turtle Rock Farms. Powerful dark cherry, strawberry, dusky plum and blackberry aromas pave the same circuit for the taste buds with white pepper and sagebrush. There’s an earthy authenticity to this marvellous unapologetically unfiltered red.

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com