5 wines to celebrate Canada 150

Words: Henry Yuen

This year's Canada Day may be over, but the Canada 150 celebration keeps on going everywhere you go. For a young country, 150th Birthday is more than just a tribute to what Canada has gone through in history, but to cherish what we have as a country and to cheer for the mere fact that we are Canadians. As wine lovers, we should toast to the pioneers who laid the foundations to grow the Canadian wine countries. To folks who planted the first vine and dug the first acre to establish vineyards and built wineries with sweats and foresights, hardworks and determinations, we salute you!

In no particular order, here are a few of my favourite wines from proud and eminent wineries in the making of BC wine industry.

Mission Hill Quatrain 2013. $65 – From over 30 years of crafting fine wine came Quatrain, one of Mission Hill Winery’s top tier Legacy Collection of wines paying tribute to their dedication to showcase the true quality of BC wines. A blend of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon (45/21/18/16) sourced from vineyards in Osoyoos and the Black Sage Bench in Oliver, Quatrain 2013 is oak fermented and aged in French oak for 14 months before release. This full-bodied wine is rich, dense and layered with beautiful tannins. Look for dark fruits and plum aroma with a dash of herbs and a slight hint of licorice and minty flavour.

Hester Creek Judge 2012. $45 – Back in 1968, Hester Creek Winery’s original owner built a vineyard just south of Oliver, a sundrenched area  what is now known as the Golden Mile Bench. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc formed the foundation for the Judge. Each varietal was fermented separately and oak-aged for 14 months; then blended and oak-aged again for an additional 12 months,  80% French oak and 20% American oak before release. The Judge is a robust wine with substances and soft tannins with juicy plum and dry prune aroma and a hint of sage and spices on the finish.

Steller’s Jay Sparkling Brut 2010. $26 – First crafted by Sumac Ridge Winery’s original owner Harry McWatters in the eighties, Steller’s Jay is now a separate label on its own due to its popularity and deliciousness. Always a blend of Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with luring aroma and very food-friendly, Steller’s Jay is a dry sparkling wine with subtle citrus and stone fruits notes.  One of the first Brut that claimed worldwide fame, this is a sparkling wine BC can be proud of. 

Grey Monk Estate Winery Odyssey Meritage 2012. $30
 A blend of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from one of the oldest family winery in the Okanagan, this unpretentious wine is crafted with tradition and passion. Aged in premium French oak, the body is smooth and the tannins delicate. Flows of dark plum, cocoa and vanilla with a hint of fine herbs to round the finish.

Colona Vineyards Artist Series Gewurztraminer 2012. $13.

The oldest operating winery in BC, Calona Vineyards created the Artist Series as a tribute to the finer things in life. Gently pressed and cool fermented in stainless steel tank to retain the freshness, this wine is light and breezy with attractive bouquet of lychee and kiwi. The residual sugar is nicely balanced to give this wine the well-deserved sweetness. .