Time. Much like wine, it is something I can’t seem to get enough of. And something I run out of. Hence the absence of my blog for the last few months. Any extra time I had, I spent drinking wine, not writing about it.
So to kick myself into high gear, I took a couple of days off from my new job and headed to BC wine country for some inspiration.
There are anywhere from 120 – 250 wineries here depending who you ask, and whether they’ve been drinking. And they are making some spectacular wines that we never see on the other side of the country.
I picked by grape. I know I love big reds, so I headed south to Oliver and Osoyoos – home of some wondrous Bordeaux blends. I also learned that if you mention you’re going to the Okanagan, inevitably someone sighs like they are remembering a visit to paradise and shows you a picture of that little winery that turned into a big experience.
Three days, seven wineries and here are a few highlights.
Perseus – I sampled a bottle of Perseus wine a year ago and I have been dreaming about it ever since. The winery opened in 2011 in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. It has already picked up a number of awards for Invictus, a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. The winery is named after the constellation which hangs above the Okanagan during harvest time. Had to take one home.
- Poplar Grove – I visited this place for the wine and the company. Cindy, Cathy,
Wendy and Sue have been friends since high school. Today they invited us join them to sample the best this stunning winery had to offer. One more for the suitcase. Imagine waking up to this treasure every morning?
3. Culmina Winery – This was one of the reasons I came back to the Okanagan, Rumour had it the wine was among the best in the Valley – and it did not disappoint. Don Triggs (of Jackson-Triggs fame) and his daughter Sara have blended old-fashioned knowledge with high tech tools to create wines to remember, including wines that shouldn’t really be growing in that climate. The approach is inspirational and will be the subject of a separate story in its own. Stay tuned. OK… we bought a case.
4. Moon Curser – This winery has a one-of-a-kind distinction for me. I actually had to risk arrest and break-in to get a taste. My friend Lisa and I were staying in Osoyoos and decided to clock our 10,000 steps by walking to the winery (how cool is that)?
Google Maps directed us to a walking path along the cherry trees and vines. However, about 100 metres from our destination we were met by a locked gate, not that that was going to stop us. We got down on all fours and slipped under the fence. It was definitely worth the effort. Moon Curser – formerly Twisted Tree – is named after the smugglers who used to work in “them thar hills with veins of gold.” They cursed the light of the moon when trying to sneak across the border.
Moon Curser features some old and new world varietals that are attracting attention. Owner and winemaker Chris Tolley, a former Montrealer, and his wife Beata, honed their craft in New Zealand. Their Tannant , Malbec, Sangiovese, Syrah,
Carmenere, along with the Afraid of the Dark white and red blends, are all worth a taste. Yup, Moon Curser got the last spot in my suitcase.
Go to the Okanagan! Demand more BC wines in your local wine store! These are national treasures that stand up to Old World excellence. Thanks for the inspiration!