Terry Threlfall’s TNT: Blowing Away Preconceptions of Okanagan Chardonnay

Latest from Okanagan Crush Pad's 'Campus' series...

Latest from Okanagan Crush Pad’s ‘Campus’ series…

Wine is very much about “people and place.” It’s a fact. Much of what makes wine so fascinating is just that: few other products yield so strong a connection to the land as grapes and the people who grow them, make wine out of them—or in some other way put their stamp on them.

This week Okanagan Crush Pad pulled the wraps off their latest “Campus” wine. These are small batch, unique wines that OCP makes in collaboration with Sommeliers of the Year. This time it’s Terry Threlfall’s turn. And we have to say we’re thrilled with his TNT 2012 Chardonnay.

I’ll leave it up to Hawksworth’s former head wine guru to describe it—because (a) he’s a brilliant sommelier and hence (b) is way better at describing wines than I am and (c) it’s his wine … But I do love the acidity, the streak of minerality and the (slightly) funky (yeasty) thing he mentions. This is one of those wines that just exudes power without being heavy…Precisely what the Okanagan needs to do more of.

Oh, and I’m still chuckling that they chose Guy Fawkes Day (as in the Gunpowder Plot) to release a wine called TNT—which just happens to be Terry’s initials.


Terry Threlfall looks pretty happy—as he should!

Terry Threlfall—Having a blast!

Here’s what he had to say about his wine (made with Okanagan Crush Pad’s Michael Bartier)—that’s anything but ‘explosive!’


(and you’ll see he sounds pretty excited…)

or read, if you wish!

“It actually didn’t take me that long to decide to make Chardonnay and to make a very pure and vibrant—I guess Burgundian style—Chardonnay. (It’s) not Cote d’Or but more Chablis like.  I love the wines in Chablis for their freshness, their vibrancy, their minerality and their purity.

“I’ve been a big fan of certain styles of Chardonnay in the Okanagan and I think there’s a real future for this style of wine, which is again more terroir driven, mineral driven, there’s a saltiness to it. And that’s exactly what I wanted: elegance and finesse over power.

“Maybe the name TNT is a bit confusing because it denotes something that’s the total opposite! But this wine has a lovely textural feel and nervous tension to it—all these things that I love in a wine, which make it food friendly. I wanted that salty, mineral vibrancy to the wine—and also little bit of funk. A Little bit of funk is good in wine. I wanted a little bit of an edge to it. I think we’ve achieved that with the wild fermentation, the concrete (egg fermenters) and the very natural process that we put the wine through.


What about the terroir?

“I think terroir is a very interesting concept in the Okanagan—I’m not sure it’s been completely looked at, specifically! It’s something that we’re doing right now… The most  exciting part was to spend time with Michael Bartier, David Scholefield and Alberto Antonini in the vineyards, discussing the terroir—which is the Cerqueira Vineyard, a beautiful site on Black Sage.

“I’m really excited about the future of the Okanagan and seeing where this style of Chardonnay can go. because I think for food, for sommelier and restos, I think this is wonderful: it’s a food wine. Maybe not the oak bomb that some other people have. But I really enjoy it.”

And so do I. – 91 pts.

As mentioned, this a small batch wine (150 cases), so you might want to just hop to it. And make sure you get a bottle to put away, as it should age very nicely. A deal at $22.90 (from the winery), and maybe (a little more) at a few select stores.


All for a good cause …

The proceeds from the sale of Wine Campus projects are donated annually to the BC Hospitality Foundation’s Scholarship Program. To date, three wines have been crafted: Kurtis Kolt (2010), created 2011 Kurtis Semillon; Owen Knowlton (2011) produced 2011 Owen Cabernet Franc; and 2012’s Terry Threlfall produced 2012 TNT Chardonnay.







By | 2018-01-21T15:05:23+00:00 November 7th, 2013|Hired Belly's Best Wines, Wine|0 Comments

About the Author:

Tim has been covering the food and wine revolution for about 20 kilos. Count 15 kg alone thanks to the blossoming cuisine and wine culture of British Columbia, Canada. Tim’s hallmark is seeking out and recommending value wines from BC and around the world that offer quality at every level. He also scopes out noteworthy restaurants that live up to their promises—and often over deliver. Readers depend on the Hired Belly for his “Belly’s Best” and “Belly’s Budget Best” picks to help them find the right wine for the occasion. He writes, tweets and shoots his own images for columns in the Vancouver Courier and North Shore News. He also contributes to WHERE Vancouver magazine, as well as to several other publications. They include Taste magazine, Tidings Magazine, and Montecristo. His columns are frequently picked up by major newspapers across Canada. Tim is a frequent judge for wine competitions, such as Vancouver Magazine International Wine Awards. He is a founding judge of The BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Wine. He is frequently invited to judge at The BC Wine Awards, and others. Tim has traveled to taste in many of the world’s leading wine regions, most recently in Burgundy, Argentina and Chile.

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