British Columbia white wines!
As well as making bright, refreshing white wines from ‘noble’ grapes traditionally respected throughout the wine world, local BC winemakers put their own spin and style on creative blends.
Here in British Columbia, our winemakers tend to make fruitier white wines from Sauvignon Blanc – less zip and zingy acidity, with a medley of light and well-balanced fruit flavours. They can be fabulous summer sippers out on the deck or patio.
Tough to beat the affordability of Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery ‘Mount Parker’ Sauvignon Blanc (40305) $9.99. The grapes were grown in the Oliver and Osoyoos areas of the south Okanagan Valley. Peaches and candied lemon-rind slide into melon and mango before finishing with a twist of lime. None of that wild grassy, gooseberry stuff in this civilized white wine!
Growers and winemakers all over the world love Chardonnay. France’s unoaked Chablis can be very lean and almost ‘chalky’ with subtle fruit flavours reminiscent of green apples, pears and lemons.
Malolactic fermentation can moderate the crisp, green apple, malic acid notes inherent in Chardonnay and give the wine a buttery character. Oak aging can add notes of vanilla, butterscotch, caramel and hazelnut.
Chardonnays from warmer growing areas show more peach and apricot notes. Grown in the hottest regions, Chardonnay can taste like tropical fruits – melon, mango, even pineapple!
A luscious white with aromas and flavours of green apples, white peaches, citrus and melon, Open Chardonnay (872648) $11.99 is an exceptionally affordable medium bodied wine with subtle vanilla aromas and flavours from its very light oak treatment.
Before there were wineries, the Okanagan Valley was planted with fruit trees – apples, pears, plums, apricots and peaches. Opened in 2011 in Osoyoos, Alex Nunes and Fred Farinha of Adega on 45th Estate Winery planted 38 acres of vineyards replacing the orchards.
A mysterious blend that might include Viognier, Riesling or Pinot Gris, Adega Felicidade (483347) $16.99 offers up aromas and flavours of green apples, pears and peaches in a lean and subtly citric style that reflects the owners Portugese heritage.
Vancouver Island vineyards grow some of the brightest, sassiest white wine grapes in British Columbia. Cool conditions enhance the natural acidity and focus the bright fruity flavours. With the gradual effects of climate change, Island wines just get riper with every vintage.
Glenterra Vineyards is built around 5 acres of organic dry farmed vineyards in the Cowichan Valley, in Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island. Additional grapes are occasionally purchased, as needed, from vineyards that use similarly organic, sustainable farming methods.
Glenterra’s vineyards were originally planted as an experiment to assess what grape vines would thrive on Vancouver Island. Glenterra Vivace (726091) $20.49 is a blend of many of these grapes - Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Muller Thurgau,
Ortega. Bacchus, Siegerrebe, Schonberger, Auxerrois, Chasselas, Ehrenfelser, Muscat, Wurzer, Huxelrebe, Regent, Gloria, Cantaro and Reichensteiner. It is a naturally complex white with elusive tree fruit notes and a dash of white pepper and sage in the finish.
Just outside of Mill Bay on Vancouver Island, Unsworth Vineyards was purchased by Tim and Colleen Turyk in 2009. Their winemaker Daniel Cosman and his crew currently farm 12 acres of grape varieties at Unsworth Vineyards. Understated elegance is the house style, here.
Intriguing and unusual, Unsworth’s signature white blend Allegro (766055) $23.99 is a blend of 50 per cent Petit Milo and 50 per cent Sauvignette. Bright and sassy, it boasts a medley of apple, peach and guava aromas and flavours.
After 20 years in the wine business Don Triggs and Alan Jackson founded the enormously successful Vincor and began producing Jackson-Triggs wines from vineyards in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia and the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario.
When Constellation Brands bought Vincor in 2006, Triggs founded Culmina Estate Winery with his wife Elaine and daughter Sara. The original 44 acres they purchased was predominantly raw land but 11.6 acres were previously planted. Among these plantings was a block of nearly 20 year-old Chardonnay vines.
The dilemma the Triggs faced was whether to rip out or replace those original, mature Chardonnay vines. Named for exactly that tough decision, Culmina Dilemma (672059) $35.00 is a rich white showing ripe apricot and peach flavours over a bright apple and lemon rind base. Careful oak aging adds notes of vanilla, caramel and hazelnut.
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