Back in 1999, Stephanie was commissioned by the BC Wine Institute to put together a wine guide in Chinese and I was called upon to co-author the pamphlet. There were only about 45 wineries in BC then but today, there are over 250. Spreading from Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley to Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands; the number is constantly increasing. Not only the number of wineries and wine regions are growing; international awards swept by BC VQA wines are also on the rise. With more than 1800 global accolades in 2014, they are the strong evident of a proud and remarkable achievement.
As British Columbians, we are indeed bestowed with a huge selection of quality wines in our backyard. Reciprocally, the BC Wine industry is very well-supported by local establishments and wine-lovers.
I had the great opportunity to attend a gathering of BC VQA wines - “Bloom”, the recent spring tasting event to showcase what different BC wine regions have to offer in terms of new releases and aged sips. BLOOM as the theme for this annual tasting event best described the rapid growth of the industry. Like blooming flowers, the ever-expanding industry is nothing short of attractive and prospering.
I tasted a number of wines and found the overall experience delightful. Allow me to share my notes on the 3 wines I personally regard as outstandingly impressive.
Pinot Noir is one of my favorites, a perfect fit for most meals. Its soft and easy texture pairs well with a great number of Asian dish; be it red, white meat or seafood. Okanagan Crush Pad Winery’s Haywire blend never lets me down. Their Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir 2012(Sku#845339) is intense and elegant, offering a sound balance of berry fruits and a note of mushrooms. Subtle, mature and velvety, you will find the satisfaction surpasses the price tag of $35.
Their Pinot Noir 2013(#449132) also stands out at a fair price of $22. It has a ripe character, full of cherries, fresh and round. Great savoury characters!
Osoyoo”s Larose Estate Winery’s Le Grand Vin 2010(#129999) is highly rated. I was impressed by this full-bodied Bordeaux style with layers of flavours and distinguished notes of black and red berries. The finish is bold and lengthy; an award-winning contender indeed. At $42, this wine is worthy of a case lot purchase for your cellar collection.
River Stone’s Pinot Gris 2014(#519876) surprised me with rare notes of passion fruit and nectar. Ted the owner and winemaker revealed that he added into the blend 10% gewürztraminer. What a pleasant formula which brings forth a tantalizing sweetness; a fresh and pleasant mood perfect for sipping on its own while relaxing under the sun in your patio or backyard, ideal to pair with South Asian food such as spicy Thai appetizer, curry or seafood dish, it is a real bargain at $15.