Rosé has a long and sometimes less than illustrious history in BC, which is one reason why, no doubt, messrs. Bartier and Scholefield (aka BS Wines) have elected to put on the proverbial boxing gloves and duke out their stylistic differences.
In the Pink Corner we have “Donkin’ Dave” Scholefield, best known for introducing an era of derring do at the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (as it was once so eloquently known) not seen before or since. Renowned for his impeccable palate and take charge attitude (“We’re not here for a haircut”), Donkin’ Dave is championing the not exactly shy and retiring Bartier Scholefield Gamay Rosé 2010.
In the (other) Pink Corner is “Mugger Mike” Bartier who, in his capacity as Okanagan Crush Pad winemaker, by year’s end may well have made more wines than Scholefield can spit. Bartier (who is rumoured to have a gentle fetish for concrete) is touting the sleek ‘n stylin’ Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé 2010.
Ever the diplomat, he says: “If you have spent your life living in dry work camp in Northern BC, you likely prefer the same wine as Scholefield. If, however, you are a discerning educated palate, and a wordly person, the Haywire in in every way superior.”
We went back and forth over these wines like a yoyo. Chilled down, the bottom line is that they’re both (still) superbly juicy and mouth-wateringly delicious—great examples of what BC rosé—even aged BC rosé—can be. If you taste them slightly warm (though why would you?), the salmon toned Haywire keeps its structure better, while the broader palate, more red berried BS Rosé not so much.
To be honest, I was somewhat primed for this, as I recently got to taste the Haywire at a superb winemaker dinner at Zest Restaurant, where it was paired (quite brilliantly) with (of all things) raspberry tofu—with soymilk soup. At the time, we were surprised at not only how well the rosé had aged but also how it was developing more complexity. Not to mention the creativity of the match … (More on that remarkable dinner as soon as I can get to it …)
For me—with or without tofu—the Haywire is the better food wine as it just seems to show more backbone, and an elegant streak of acidity that makes you want to eat. But, as “Donkin Dave” would say, that BS wine is also “Dang Delicious”. (He also suggests it’s quite Tavel-like, which it is.) And, in a pinch, I really wouldn’t worry about what to eat with either of them, as they’re both entirely food friendly—and in a pinch, you could even drink them straight up… Or maybe lying on a beach somewhere.
Some other thoughts? It’s increasingly apparent that BC winemakers (think also Quails Gate and Joie, for example) wanting to make “serious” rosé turn increasingly to Gamay Noir—either 100 percent or as part of a blend. And these wines both surprise in their ability to age—dispelling the myth that all rosé needs to be drunk in the first year. The better ones don’t.
If you want to decide for yourself you can buy the wines here—plus enter your vote and a chance to win a trip to Okanagan Crush Pad here.
If pushed, I’ll vote for the Haywire.
But they’re both truly excellent breakfast wines. Indeed.