Photo caption: Gossip - Backyard 2015 winter release


3033 – 232nd Street, Langley. 604-539-9463 (By Fraser Highway)

An hour away from Vancouver is the greenbelt of Lower Mainland, an important agricultural area along the mighty Fraser River, home to farms, ranches and a number of up and rising wineries. Vineyards here sit in pockets of microclimate which offer ample sunlight but little moisture that encourage grapes to flourish. For those who want to experience a more rustic and country-style winery tour or are pressed for time, look no further than the Fraser Valley that locals refer to as the backyards of Greater Vancouver. Located in one of the major towns in Fraser Valley, Langley, and is literally "in our backyard" to Metro Vancouver districts, Backyard Vineyards is a great example. 

Backyard Vineyards took time to search and rewardingly found the sweet spot to grow grapes that are vital to their wine-making venture. Before too long, they managed to make a name in this newer wine-growing region of BC. The tasting room is a country style farmhouse providing a more casual and hands-on wine tasting atmosphere. The outdoor Gazebo that sits 50, erected at the front yard is for special events. A perfect open venue that welcomes a much bigger outdoor crowd during the warm spring and summer months. This intimate function room has hosted many festivals, celebrations, dinner parties and even intimate weddings. There is also the barrel room to add authenticity and a slightly more intense tasting experience for groups looking to enhance their wine exploration. Though Backyard Vineyards still need to augment their production by sourcing grapes from the Okanagan Valley, their line-up of wines have been well-received.

Backyard Vineyards is led by industry stalwart James Cambridge who grew up in the Okanagan, a graduate of the Oenology/Viticulture program at Niagara College. With a formal education in the field and extensive experience working at both west and east coast wineries, James returned to BC to head up the winemaking program at Backyard Vineyards. Let’s go ahead and taste the wines.

The NV Blanc de Noir Brut crafted in the traditional sparkling wine method is made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes. There is the creaminess with toasty apple skin notes and a touch of lime and grape fruit, a delightful bubble fit for anytime, any occasion.

The 2014 Pinot Gris is a well-made BC Pinot Gris characterized with green apple skin and citrus aroma. On the palate are the lime and grape fruit notes with a hint of grassiness on the finish. An easy drinking white on its own goes well with seafood salad and Asian cold plates.

The 2014 Nosey Neighbour White is a blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer. It is a very appealing wine loaded with peach, apricot and citrus flavour; good acidity and clean finish. Sip this with curry bowls and Szechuan dishes.

The 2014 Gewurztraminer delivers a floral note woven with peach, lychee and pear bouquet and a touch of fruity freshness on the palate. It is clean and refreshing with a long lingering finish. This wine goes well even with Chinese hot pot. 

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For the reds, the Nosey Neighbour Red is a blend of almost equal parts of Syrah, Merlot plus dashes of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to round out the structure. Lots of plum and berries upon entry with subtle oak flavour and a hint of roasted bell pepper and spice on the finish, this Nosey Neighbour goes nicely with meaty pasta.

After Nosey Neighbour came Gossip, Backyard Vineyards newest released red blend: 28% Cab Sauvignon, 25% each of Merlot and Shrah and 22% Cab Franc. The 2012 grapes and the difference in the blending formula render a different bouquet and palate sensation. Toasted cocoa, dried olive and black pepper hints flow nicely amongst layered structure and balanced tannin, a wine that is ideal with stews, roasts and braised ribs.