In the middle of May the BC Wine Institute once again held Bloom, its annual spring showcase for the newest crop of VQA (Vintner’s Quality Alliance) wines.
Immediately preceding this was an informative tasting seminar led by nationally celebrated wine expert Sharon McLean. She proved to be an effective cheerleader for an industry that, a mere 30 years ago, was something of a joke but now wins scads of international awards and pours $2 billion into the provincial economy.
“BC is doing great things,” she says. “We are creating our own style and discovering what our terroir can do.”
McLean’s presentation was all about diversity: whether it’s a winery specializing only in sparkling wine, to fermenting with indigenous wild yeasts, growing unusual grape varietals or using egg-shaped fermenting tanks made out of concrete instead of steel or oak, this province’s winemakers have become innovators and not imitators.
Keeping in mind that they were pouring more than 300 wines, here are just a few of many that were really impressive.
The Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah had real depth, an array of dark-fruit flavours, and a floral kick at the end courtesy of the 4% Viognier added to sparkle up the wine (available at many private stores for around $45).
Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc was nicely oaked, with bright fruit redolent of blackberry and cherry that glides suavely over the palate ($26 at the LDB).
Summerhill’s Alive White Organic is a savoury blend of Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Riesling that’s a feast of pear and peach ($21 at the LDB).
And venerable Quails’ Gate has a real winner with their Chasselas-Pinot Blanc-Pinot Gris, which is the best-selling VQA white wine in BC Elegant and aromatic, it offers an array of orchard-fruit flavours and a crisp mouthfeel ($20.50 at the LDB). (All prices include tax.)