WINE NOTES: 2018 a stellar vintage for many B.C. wines, consultant says

Monday wine columnist Robert Moyes offers up the VQA highlights from the Bloom show

Springtime in Victoria is delightful for its pink cherry tree blossoms, warmer weather … and a brand new vintage of B.C. wines starting to show up in stores and on restaurant wine lists.

At the media preview I attended recently, the news was impressive. “It was a stellar year for most B.C. wines,” stated wine educator and consultant Sharon McLean. According to McLean, the grapes avoided excessive heat, and the resulting fruit reached an ideal ripeness, resulting in a 2018 vintage displaying great balance and intense fruit character.

“These wines are taut, elegant and age-worthy,” was her summary, giving fans of B.C. wines lots of reason to be proud of an industry that annually contributes over $2 billion to our economy.

And then it was on to Bloom, the B.C. Wine Institute’s annual debut of several hundred VQA wines from all of the province’s wine regions.

Calliope wines, from the Burrowing Owl family, offer great value for the price.

Herewith, a few highlights.

Calliope, essentially the “second label” of esteemed Burrowing Owl, offers very quaffable wine at a great price. Rather posher is Black Hills, with an impressive portfolio of premium bottlings (their Ipso Facto red blend is delicious). Dirty Laundry is deservedly acclaimed for its aromatic whites (and best-seller Hush, a gorgeous, off-dry rosé). Up in the Similkameen Valley, Clos du Soleil delivers New World fruit with European finesse (try their Celestiale, a red Bordeaux blend).

Wild Goose deservedly keeps winning awards for their lushly seductive aromatic whites (the Gewurztraminer is like liquid Turkish delight). Unsworth Vineyards, located in Cowichan Valley, continues to make interesting, high-quality wines. Cipes never fails to sparkle: their entry-level Brut Rosé is gorgeously coloured and dances on the palate with lightness and charm. (Their high-acid/high-sugar Riesling is also a delight.)

Ricco Bambino Wines, new on the scene, have a “low intervention” approach to winemaking whose results are both different and delicious. And finally, if you want to toast B.C.’s new releases with style, consider either le Grand Vin of Osoyoos Larose, or Painted Rock’s lovely Syrah. Cheers!

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