Every Monday, discover new wines, regions, and ways to understand this fermenting sea.
Munching Vidal Blanc on Keuka Lake, New York
Hi Internet. Too much time has passed us by. It turns out that toddlers and bloggers mix like oil and water. My apologies.
Time to scratch the itch and wrap up our Vancouver Island drinks tour with one last review. To recap: Canada is not the Mediterranean. Wine grapes struggle to reach ripeness in this cool, marginal climate. Yet Vancouver Island, oddly, shelters enough microclimates to encourage some to try their hand at wine-making. Results range from enamel-etching bubbly (read here), tart Chardonnay (read here), decent but pale Pinot Noir (read here), a fine Gamay (read here), a solid hybrid white (read here), to a mixed-bag winery that distills great gin and vermouth (read here),
Maybe we’re going about this all wrong. Let’s drop the grapes and give cold-hardy apples a chance. We roll from Victoria North into the rolling verdant farm hills of Saanich Peninsula. A gravel road bends up a cliff overlooking gleaming Cordova Channel. Short apple trees for hand picking lead up to the white, decked, cidery and tasting room. The view stops us. Continue reading
Wayward Wine continues to ply the uncharted wines of Vancouver Island. It has been rough, but we found some decent Pinot Noir (read here). This marginal-in-the-best-of-times climate manages to counter its Northern latitude by bottling any warmth it can from the eastern straights with its western mountains. The best example: the Butchart Gardens utopia that traps tourists with its improbably lush gardens… Continue reading
By choice or by fate, I cannot escape Pinot Noir. I was born in Oregon and returned to its wine industry. Our traipse through the extreme wines of Vancouver Island have gone from bad to worse to decent, usually faltering with noble grapes like Chardonnay (here), Gamay (here), but succeeding with weird hybrids like Savignette (read here). Can this warm pocket in the Northernmost fringes of winemaker pull off the queen of grapes: Pinot Noir? Continue reading
Ok! Vancouver Island wines have given us challenging results. Maybe, the standard grapes Chardonnay (review here), Gamay (here), even Sparkling pinot (here) provide little more than acidity, edge, reflecting regional limits. Maybe a more climate-friendly hybrid grape might work.
Sauvignette. Continue reading
OK! Ok! So our venture into wines from Vancouver Island VQA’s has drawn up bracingly tart Chardonnay (read here) and wild Gamay (read here). They have been real, reflective, but not great.
Maybe cool climate Burgundy and Beaujolais are not harsh enough models. Let us look to Champagne, to bubbly, to where fizz makes high acid wine magical. Continue reading