Words: Henry Yuen
As more and more wineries open up in new and old wine regions of BC, the annual production volume has been going up significantly. Increasing numbers of restaurants carry more BC wines, the public is ready and willing to purchase them for home consumption. These are indications of how well local wines are received. Of course, the various wine awards garnered each year definitely helped. Yet, uncertainty about BC wines still exists. The price point is perhaps the most notable. Consumers do not necessarily understand nor concern that, with high operating costs due to expensive land cost, labour costs, relatively small production etc., it is not easy for local BC wine producers to compete with import wines, for example, from Spain, Chile and Argentina. You may be looking at paying a few dollars more for the privilege of drinking BC wines of the same calibre.
However, not all is lost, there are still rare exceptions. If one does some homework, there are still reasonably priced delicious BC VQA wines in the market. A recent tasting of wines from Evolve Cellars confirms just that. All their whites are between $15 to $17 and the reds just a bit more. At this price range, Evolve's over-delivered but nicely crafted wines can definitely compete with New World wines in terms of value and drinkability.
Of the 10 acres bench land at Evolve Cellars, the 5 acres planted is located in Summerland perched at the edge overlooking the scenic Okanagan Lake. To augment production, grapes are also sourced from partner growers around Okanagan and Oliver areas. According to winemaker Lawrence Buhler, the objective is to produce lively, bright, approachable and unpretentious wines. Nothing is complicated and each sip is enjoyable. There is no big story to tell and every wine is crafted simply focuses on the natural juice with minimal intervention.
Wines from Evolve Cellars have good pedigree. Under the direction of industry veteran and pioneer of the VQA brand, Harry McWatters brings in over 40 years of stellar experience. At these smartly-tagged and wallet-friendly price ranges, it’s easy to understand why drinkers are stocking up Evolve wines for this season's patio and garden parties!
2013 Effervescence is every white wine lover's delight. Easy and pleasant as the summer breeze, this wine is for anytime, anywhere.
The 2014 Rose has a lovely pinkish salmon roe hue with pleasant berries and red apple skin aroma. It is not sweet on the palate and produces red fruits and watermelon juiciness on the finish. A easy-going wine to kick off any summer party and to pair with a good variety of appetizers.
The 2014 Chardonnay is un-oaked thus resulting in a much leaner body that is not too fat or oily on the mouth feel. This partners well with Asian-style seafood dish.
2014 Pinot Blanc is well-crafted with aroma of green apple and grapefruit with a crisp finish on the palate. Choose any lightly-spiced grilled chicken or pork skewers with a touch of herbs.
2014 Gewurztraminer has the floral notes of Asian fruits, most notably Lychee, honeydew and starfruit leading to a citrus and grapefruit palate. A salad with nuts and dried fruits; pan-fried or deep-fried dimsum morsels and Lebanese meat pies.
2014 Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh wine with aroma of orange peel and citrus note leading to palate of peach and juicy melons. This is cheese plan, oyster and sushi-friendly wine.
2014 Riesling has adequate sweetness and dry lemon peel on the nose leading to a floral and fruity finish. Open a bottle when you are having Thai, Indian, Szechuan or Shanghai.
2014 Pinot Noir is the most expensive wine of the lineup at $20. It is jammy and fruit forward with mouthful of cherries and dry plum on the finish. Pair this with barbequed salmon, seafood pasta and wok-fried vegetables.
2014 Cabernet Merlot is a finely balanced red with both ripened and dried red fruit aroma. On the palate, there are lingering berries and prunes with a hint of cocoa and tannins. Fine effort at budget friendly $19! Sip this with any red dish.