Henry Yuen 阮公子 (For Chinese posting log onto http://taiyangbao.ca/author/henryyuen/?variant=zh-hans)
Perhaps BC is not yet a hot bed for crafting sparkling wine, but we cannot ignore the fact that there are a few local wineries with fairly long tradition and history in producing delicious sparklings. Sumac Ridge Steller Jay, Summerhill Cipes and Blue Mountain Brut easily come to mind.
With longer bottle fermentation and aging process to ensure the wine is precise and complex, crafting sparkling wine is a more labour-intensive task. It requires both remarkable attention to details and relentless patience. Younger and less established wineries may not want to border to even put their hands into it until after they master their skills and techniques on basic reds and whites. Because of the more complicated and longer process, sparkling wines are usually more costly to make. Wineries have to be cautious of the bottom-line impact when deciding whether to add sparkling wines into their portfolio.
Lucky for us bubble lovers, Summerhill Pyramid Estate Winery has quite a different approach. And the result is rewardingly noticeable, both at home and away!
They have been making the very desirable Cipes brand of sparkling wines for so long that they are now in a perfect position to elevate their sparkling wine program. Instead of crafting only young and fresh sparkling wines, they capitalized their foresight to craft a sparkling wine with extended bottle aging. The result is the recent release of their hand-crafted Cipes Ariel 1998. The extended bottle aging for more than ten years allows the wine to fully mature in the bottle. The captured fragrance and aroma jump out to greet you once the cork is popped – that is the ‘wow’ factor that mesmerized the drinker instantly.
Using 100% estate grown grapes from the Summerhill Vineyard in Kelowna with 59% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 1% Pinot Meunier, it is all about crafting with comprehensive attention each step along the way, an epitome of the excellent quality of BC sparkling wines indeed. The nose is met with baked apple-infused fragrant, a hint of fresh lemon zest and frozen raspberry. The mouth feel is smooth on the entry, underlined with a creamy texture. Dry nuts, a mellow dried apricot sweetness and slight peach flavour add to the complexity that lingers along with the silky mouth feel.
A well-crafted BC sparkling wine, Cipes Ariel 1998 speaks volume to the efforts and dedication wineries and masters that focus on making paramount quality sparkling wines regardless of the hefty investment and financial challenges. The popularity of Summerhill’s sparkling is no doubt very deserving.