The “Best of BC”, from the scenic South Okanagan Valley, Tim Pawsey photo
Heads up for the “Best of BC“!
There was a time not that long ago when BC Liquor Stores received a fair amount of criticism that most of BC’s “icon” wines were not available at the Peoples’ Purveyor. It was a fair comment, in that many of the wines were either not VQA—a pre-requisite for BCLS listing, or just weren’t that easy to track down, period.
However, in the last couple of years, ‘the board’ has been forging new ties with the BC Wine Institute and with several of the more desirable producers to develop effective spring and fall release programs. And it’s safe to say that the current “Best of BC”—which launches province-wide October 12th—is, indeed, the best event yet.
In short, if you’ve ever wondered what all the fuss is about, still have doubts as to whether BC can make “world class” reds, or are just keen to have a sip of what’s driving quality in the Okanagan, here’s your best chance (no more excuses) to try these wines—for free!
Coinciding with the release is a series of free in-store tastings (presented by the BC Wine Institute)—with a slew of them over this long Thanksgiving weekend.
Click on the best of BC box to the right, or go here for the calendar and store details.
We’re impressed by the selections in this release, which includes the following notables just tasted.
• Le Vieux Pin Syrah 2010. Fruit from Black Sage and Golden Mile goes into this nod to Côte Rôtie, which gets a splash of Viognier for added complexity. Decant it well ahead and you’ll be rewarded with hints of that classic meaty, gamy character on top, followed by a medium bodied black-fruited, peppery palate, well integrated tannins and solid finish. Certainly worth putting away for a few years. $44.88 90 pts.
• Laughing Stock Blind Trust Red 2011. From the winery who, in my book, can do no wrong! I have to confess that I enjoy this wine as much for what’s outside the bottle as what’s inside. The idea is that you put your faith entirely in the winemaker, as you won’t know the blend until you remove the capsule. (And maybe, as Kevin Grant says, it doesn’t matter anyway…) Look for cherry notes on top before a medium bodied, plush, damson and cassis toned palate. There’s a lovely fresh sweetness here wrapped in juicy acidity. One of the best BC quality blend deals around. $30 / 91 pts.
• Jackson Triggs Sunrock Shiraz 2010. Aptly named, from a sun-drenched spot, high on the eastern edge of the South Okanagan. Black fruit and leathery notes on top followed by a generous, supple palate of blackberry and black cherry notes wrapped in firm tannins in a definite New World style, hence the ‘Shiraz’ moniker.
Worth putting down for a couple of years. Or, decant well, before drinking now. $34.99 / 90 pts.
• Poplar Grove Cabernet Franc 2010. A sentimental favourite in my books, as this was the very first wine we ever medalled as “Platinum” at the Okanagan Wine Festival. At the time we were astounded that the valley could produce such a quality red—which has since become a flagship for the winery. The pedigree lives on in this vintage, which is a perfect varietal expression of cherry and black current notes and a gently herbal edge, with vibrant acidity in a medium bodied palate. Move quickly if you want some. But then that applies to all of these wines. $34.90 / 92 pts.
• Stoneboat Pinot Noir 2011. From one of the valley’s longest established growers turned winery comes this worthy nod to Burgundy—or maybe more New Zealand’s Martinborough. These grapes are grown on an unusual, stony part of the Black Sage bench. Lighter bodied, with aromas of fresh strawberries before a juicy cherry and strawberry toned palate with a distinctive savoury edge and elegant tannins that cry out for food. We’re thinking lamb. $24.89 / 90 pts.